Tips for Your First 30 Days in Sobriety
The hardest time in recovery is that first 30 days. This is when the addiction will be the strongest and before you’ve had the necessary experience to build sober living skills. It’s normal to feel nervous, and maybe even a little afraid, of starting addiction recovery. Here are 5 tips for your first days of sobriety.
Write It Down
Journaling is a great way to keep your thoughts organized as your body adjusts to being sober. Journaling has several different uses for recovery.
- Write about your experience. Take notes about your feelings throughout the day. Remember not to focus on just the bad, but also the good. Take stock of the times when you are feeling anxious, but also those moments are clarity that are going to get more and more common. This will give you a track record of sobriety that can inspire you to keep going when things are getting tough and remind you that you’ve already overcome some pretty hard times.
- Learn yourself. Not to get too philosophical, but “know thyself” is an important part of early addiction recovery. Journal about the things that trigger your urge to abuse again. If you have a “drinking hour”—that time of day where you used to abuse—journal about those moments and the things that make the cravings lesser or worse. This will give you a roadmap through recovery. Many people find that learning about what triggers their cravings helps them to avoid and control those urges as they continue to recover.
- Get creative. Addiction has a way of deadening our lives. We become less creative. Try some creative journaling like writing letters to your future or past self about recovery or try converting your experience into a short poem or story.
Odds are you’ll be feeling physically exhausted in early addiction recovery. That’s your body doing the hard work of clearing out all those chemicals and adjusting to being sober. However, this doesn’t mean you should lay around. Start off easy by building your way toward a healthy, active lifestyle. Consider going on regular walks or starting with a low-impact exercise routine like yoga. This will keep your body and mind active and give you, and your body, something to engage with beyond recovery.
Meditate and Clear Your Mind
Just like exercising helps keep your body healthy, meditation does the same thing for you mind. In your first month of sobriety, odds are your mind will be a little clouded. As your body detoxes and as you begin to adjust to sober living, you’ll need to start building some tools to help you through. Meditation is a great way to clear your head and stay one step ahead of the cravings. There are tons of different meditative practices out there, but a good one for beginners is to sit down with your back straight, breathe deeply, and focus on your breath. Learning to slow down like this will help you keep a level head in your first month.
Remember You’re Not Alone Anymore
Now that you are in a program, you have a peer group to rely on. The other people in your recovery program are right there with you. Some will even be through that first month already. They know what it’s like to go through this. Addiction isolates us from the people in our lives. Part of your first weeks of sobriety will be to reconnect with the outside world. A residential program will provide you with a peer group to reach out to. When the cravings get bad or if you just need a chat, the people in this group are there for each other—which includes you!
This will be the biggest battle in your first 30 days. The temptation to rationalize and say to yourself “Well, it’s just one drink to get me through” is setting yourself up to fail. Remember that addiction has changed your mind physically. That impulse is the addiction trying to con its way into another drink or dose. The important thing to remember here is that with time, this will pass. When those rationalizing thoughts start creeping in, rely on the other tips in this list to get you through. Try writing it out, maybe do a quick workout or meditate. If things are dire, reach out to your support group for help to make it through.