The first step is always the hardest to take. This is especially true for those in addiction recovery. Your first day sober is one of the most challenging days you’ll have throughout your journey to lifelong sobriety, especially if this step is taken alone. The struggle of powering through withdrawal symptoms while making so many changes to your life all at once can be overwhelming and is why self-detox without professional help suffers from a higher relapse rate. You might be feeling scared, unprepared, or even lonely, and understandably so. But despite all this, you must remember that the first day sober will be the worst of it. As you push forward, staying sober generally becomes easier with each passing day, if you build yourself a proper support system for your recovery. Due to the chemical dependence addiction creates, we strongly urge you to consult a physician about your own detox. A residential facility will always provide more comprehensive, comfortable and safe care than an at home detox. Here are some things to consider when making it through your first day sober, whether at home or at an inpatient facility.
What You Need to Remember
You Made the Right Decision
The first day of being sober isn’t an accurate representation of what the rest of your life will be. In fact, you’re probably going to feel miserable. During the very early stages of addiction recovery, your cravings and withdrawal symptoms will be at their worst. Your body and your mind will constantly be fighting the urge to relapse. This struggle may feel agonizing, but it’s important to remember that it’s all temporary. Once you’ve made it past the worst of the first day, each day after that will start to get progressively easier— there will be obstacles and learning your triggers will be very important to continue your sobriety, but it will all lead to your ultimate goal of becoming healthy again. So, don’t let your discomfort on the first day dissuade you from pushing forward. Getting sober was the right decision.
You Are Allowed to Feel Whatever Feelings May Come
Your first day sober will probably be subject to a rollercoaster of different conflicting feelings. One common trait that all drugs and alcohol share is the distortion— or downright repression— of certain emotions. So, being sober for a full day after years of keeping yourself numb through substance abuse is probably going to bring out feelings that you might not be entirely prepared to face. If this is the case, the best thing you can do is allow yourself to feel so you can continue to heal and move forward. Remember; this, too, shall pass.
You Should Take Things as They Come, One Day at a Time
It’s easy to get swept up in your guilt about the past and your worries about the future when overcoming an addiction. This happens to almost everyone in addiction recovery. This is why one of the most critical aspects of recovery is adopting the “one day at a time” mentality. By focusing on the here and now, you can make it through your first, second, thirtieth or one-hundredth day sober.
You Are Encouraged to Participate in More Recreational Activities
Getting sober leaves you with an abundance of free time you might not have ever realized you had. Your first thought might be, “what do I do now?” It’s vital that you find healthy ways to fill this newfound time on your hands because boredom is one of the most dangerous triggers in addiction recovery. Letting your mind wander too freely could lead to thoughts of past substance abuse, which could easily bring about cravings. This is why taking up new hobbies, or revisiting old ones you know you enjoy, is so necessary for addiction recovery— especially on the first day. Keeping your mind and body busy with activities like arts and crafts, reading, or sports is a healthy distraction from any first-day struggles you may be experiencing.
You Could Volunteer Your Time to Help Others— And Yourself
One of the most effective ways to stay sober, even past the first day, is to volunteer your time to a good cause. Taking the time to help others is an excellent aid in your mental and emotional recovery from addiction. After all, human nature dictates that doing good makes you feel good. Volunteering opportunities that might help you grow as a person and be happier during your recovery include raising awareness about addiction and recovery, volunteering at your local church, participating in the next big food drive or anything else that allows you to actively help others. In any case, doing something good for someone else’s benefit is a great way to shift your focus away from your own struggles— and away from any cravings that you may have.
You Need to Take Better Care of Yourself
Taking care of yourself goes beyond just getting sober. In fact, it’s a significant part of staying sober after the first day. The restoration of your emotional and mental health is dependent on how you treat yourself during the transition from addicted to sober. If you put yourself down to punish yourself for your past mistakes, your mind won’t catch up with your body during the healing process.
So, instead of spending your first day of sobriety berating yourself, do something therapeutic. It could be anything— a hot bath, a trip to the spa, curling up with a good book, or just chatting with a friend over the phone—just as long as it’s calming and safe.
You Are Not Alone
Your first day sober and the journey onward can feel like an isolating experience, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, it may be in your best interest not to spend your first day sober by yourself. Instead, you could spend it with your support group, your sponsor, a therapist or a loyal friend. These are the people that will always support you and your sobriety. You’re not as alone as you think.
You Can Get Sober and Stay Sober with Help from TTC
Making the decision to stop abusing substances is hard, but making it through the first day sober is always going to be harder. Still, don’t be discouraged. There are millions of people every year who receive treatment for addiction and end up healthier than they’ve ever felt before. At The Treatment Center, that’s all we want for you. Our expert staff can help you get sober and prepare for the struggles ahead so you can stay sober. For more information about our personalized programs and services, please call us at (866) 295-6003. All calls are confidential.