Sobriety is challenging and you will continue to face challenges for years to come; knowing that it does get easier with time though, helps. These first 30 days of sobriety will be some of the toughest you’ve faced. That’s why we’ve outlined the most useful pieces of advice for starting your sobriety journey.
YOU’VE MADE THE RIGHT DECISION
First things first, stop questioning if you’re doing the right thing. Some people go back and forth for years before taking this step. It is, understandably, a difficult decision, but know this: we’ve never heard anyone say they regret getting sober. It can be hard, but learning to trust yourself again is necessary.
PREPARE FOR WITHDRAWAL
It’s very rare when someone enters sobriety without feeling any withdrawal symptoms. It’s even possible for withdrawal to be life threatening, depending on the substances you were using. At least one person in your life should be aware of the signs of withdrawal and check in with you daily for the first two weeks.
PREPARE FOR YOUR FEELINGS
You’re about to face a rush of emotions, this can be one of the toughest parts of starting your sobriety journey. For some, it’s been years, even decades of numbing themselves with drugs and/or alcohol. Not only will you be dealing with new emotions, but old ones will creep up on you too, often out of nowhere. Having someone to talk to such as a sponsor, loved one, or therapist is extremely helpful. Letting yourself cry when you need to, even if it’s for a full hour can also help a lot.
THINK OF THE GREAT THINGS YOU’LL ACCOMPLISH
During the really tough moments, it can be helpful to think about your sober-future-self. Something that encourages many people during recovery is to know that you are clearing the path for a new exciting life.
MAKE A DOCTORS APPOINTMENT
Your doctor should be aware of your path to sobriety. Not only can he/she help prepare you for withdrawal, but they may find medical concerns from years of neglecting your health. Get a physical, and remember to be completely honest with your doctor about your history and sobriety concerns.
HYDRATION AND NUTRITION
For many, eating healthy and eating regularly isn’t a priority when they’re using substances. Proper nutrition is always important for your body, but especially during the first 30 days of sobriety. Your brain needs nutrition to help the healing process, this includes lots of water. Hydration is necessary to keep your organs functioning well, it’s also a critical part of the process our systems take to rid our body of waste and toxins.
GET SERIOUS ABOUT BEDTIME
Many substances have a significant effect on our sleep cycle. Additionally, you’ll want to stay away from sleep aids, since they are habit-forming. Dreams and nightmares can also be very vivid. The best way to make it through this is to establish a sleep schedule, with adequate time (9-10 hours) to allow for your body to settle down at the end of the day and to fall back asleep if you wake up from your dreams. You’ll also want to avoid caffeine products within six hours of your bedtime, and if possible avoid computer or tv screens within 30 minutes of sleep.
Your body will feel immense stress during the first 30 days of sobriety. You’re healing and adjusting to not having a regular substance in your system. Relationships, work, and other life stressors become very real at the beginning too. Learn how stress affects your body and ways to cope such as breathing exercises or physical activities.