I am an alcoholic who has been blessed to be in recovery for over 6 years and life is wonderful…not always easy but so much better than when I was drinking. In my early days of sobriety everything felt difficult…even just waking up, knowing that I was “different” and not knowing how I’d cope was often overwhelming.
When someone decides to face their dependency on alcohol it’s often a devastating time…where the person is like a fish out of water. The world seems far too big and frightening. I can remember taking each hour at a time, incapable of thinking too far ahead. My brain was occupied trying not to focus on my deep hunger for alcohol and the coping tools I’d used for so long in the past.
Tips for Success in Early Sobriety
Today I’m sharing some tips for people who are new in recovery at the request of Seasons in Malibu, a rehab facility that serves people from all over North America and the rest of the world. We were in conversations recently and realized that we share the desire to improve the state of addiction treatment resources for everyone who may be seeking.
These tips are simply my own; each person has their own journey and their own tools for success that work for them in recovery. These are based upon my own experience and people I have supported during their recovery from alcoholism.
- Talk to a professional, a trusted family member, or friends. Together, make a plan that makes sense for you. For many of us this includes going to a rehab facility like Seasons in Malibu in order to fully understand ourselves and have ongoing, daily support. Having someone nearby who is “in-the-know” with what you’re facing can help you be accountable and provide the support you will need.
- Create and keep a daily schedule. When I was newly sober, having a schedule took away the unknown. I made a schedule of my work tasks, eating times, 12 Step meeting times and activities in order to keep my days structured. This meant I had less likelihood of going astray. Ensure that you’re eating and sleeping well so that you’re in the best shape to cope.
- Make sobriety a priority – In order to set new behaviours and patterns my recovery had to become my priority. My 12 Step meetings were top of my list of daily “must-do” events. Doing 90 meetings in 90 days set the foundation for my success. I began saying, “No,” to many invitations that conflicted with the meetings, and this taught me how to set healthy boundaries.
- Create a safe environment – Each of us is different in our tolerance, but for me this meant ridding the house of alcohol in my early sobriety. I was able to attend events that had alcohol, for short periods, but didn’t linger long. Set yourself up for success by creating a home space where you feel safe.
- Learn your triggers and coping skills that work – Relapse is a reality of recovery and in the early days you’ll need to pay close attention to what is affecting you in order to learn your triggers. You’ll begin finding ways to cope – by distraction, by calling friends in recovery…by taking each moment at a time. Your thought process can be your most powerful tool, pay attention and be willing to remove people, places and things from your life that are triggers.
- Avoid major life changes – It was said to me that I “couldn’t trust my mind for the 1st year”. This threw me for a loop but it was true. My first year was all about learning who I actually am and making any major life decisions wouldn’t have been of benefit. Take this time to recover and realize that these major decisions can usually be put off until you’re in a stronger state of mind.
These are just some of the tips I’d suggest to anyone in early sobriety. Again, there are many others which may work for you.
Thank you to Seasons in Malibu for sponsoring this post, all opinions are my own.