New to Recovery? The Best Tips and Advice when First Starting Out

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Are you new to recovery? If so, we want to congratulate you on making the brave decision to get sober. Stopping the use of drugs or alcohol is not easy, but it is worth it. To get you going in the right direction, we want to offer you some tips and helpful advice to get you through the first few months of recovery. Knowing what to expect will make the journey much easier and following the suggestions we offer is key to relapse prevention.

1. During the first few weeks of sobriety, you might experience withdrawal symptoms. This is called the acute withdrawal phase. These symptoms vary depending on what kind of drug you have been using, so be sure to work with a medical professional. Do some research to find out what withdrawal symptoms apply to your individual situation.

2. After acute withdrawal ends, you will experience post-acute withdrawal. During this period, withdrawal symptoms lessen, but they are still present. Post-acute withdrawal lasts for several months after you stop using or drinking. Mood swings, depression, and anxiety are common symptoms of post-acute withdrawal.

3. Stay the course and don’t give in to cravings. Keep in mind that withdrawal symptoms will pass. They are only temporary. Many people return to drugs or alcohol to alleviate withdrawal symptoms. This is a mistake. When you use drugs in any form, you release your addiction all over again. Then, you will have to get sober again and start the withdrawal process from square one.

4. Get as much rest as you can, but know that you will have difficulty sleeping the first few months. You might have a hard time falling asleep and when you do, you may have nightmares. Many people have what are called “using dreams” where they dream about doing drugs or drinking alcohol during the early days of recovery.

5. You will feel weird. There is no other way to explain this. After using drugs or alcohol for an extended period of time, your brain and your body became accustomed to processing chemicals. When you take those chemicals way, there is an adjustment period. Just like withdrawal, the weirdness will pass.

6. The first three months of sobriety are the most difficult. This is why many people relapse. It gets easier after the first three months so just hold on!

7. Get someone else to help you manage your money. Money is an incredible trigger for those who are in early recovery. It might be a good idea to give your ATM card to your sponsor or someone you trust so you don’t have the option of buying drugs or alcohol on a whim.

8. Attend ninety 12-Step meetings in ninety days and get a sponsor. You may not want to, but do it anyway. At meetings, you will meet new people and get the support you need to help you navigate the difficult early days of recovery. A sponsor is someone who will work you through the steps.

9. Make the commitment that you are not going to use drugs or drink alcohol no matter what. If you make this commitment to yourself now, it will be easier to remain steadfast in your recovery and remain sober when cravings hit.

When you’re new to recovery, it may feel like you’re not making any progress at first. Adjusting to life without drugs and alcohol will feel strange, unfamiliar, and downright uncomfortable at times. However; if you take the advice we have given you and stay clean one day at a time, you will begin to feel better. Remember that every day you abstain from drugs and alcohol is a victory. Be kind to yourself and give yourself time to heal.

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