Surviving Early Sobriety
Transitioning from active addiction into recovery can be a daunting process. Whether someone has suffered for a short term or from years of substance abuse; breaking the habit of drug addiction or alcoholism can be overwhelming if major changes are not made. There are a number of sayings and adages throughout the recovery community that address suggested direction for those new to sobriety:
“Old ways won’t open new doors”
“If you hang around the barbershop long enough, you'll get a haircut”
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”, etc.
In the early stages of an addict’s or alcoholic's recovery, these sayings may seem trite, but the intent is to welcome and recognize the changes necessary to achieve sobriety.
Changing the people the recovering alcoholic or addict associates with is vital. Be it before or during the active disease of the addict or alcoholic, relationships should either be severed or mended. People who have entered the lives of the alcoholic or addict during their disease are often fellow sufferers themselves. Drinking and using “buddies”, drug connections, and other contacts are of zero value to those in early sobriety - detaching from the bad influences of the aforementioned can be as simple as deleting them from one’s cell phone, removing them from social media, and altogether avoiding them.
People who knew the alcoholic or addict before (and during) their disease have suffered greatly the consequences of their alcoholism and drug addiction. This mostly applies to family, close friends, and other close relations; whether they enabled the sufferer or not, the nature of their relationship will have to change. Boundaries are of the utmost importance in the early stages of the recovery process. Whether the boundaries set are based in: time, distance, financial, or otherwise - both parties will need that set space to process what in many cases has been years in the making. Boundaries will set and reestablish the semblance of a new and healthy relationship.
Changing the surroundings and areas an active alcoholic or addict used to frequent is also a must. Steering clear of bars, nightclubs, parties, concerts, and festivals - or any other locale where drugs and alcohol are being openly consumed, is highly recommended for those in early sobriety.
There is a flipside to the coin regarding changing the places in the lives of recovering addicts and alcoholics. The commonly regarded “geographic” change has resulted in success and disaster; if the move is toward an area where there is active recovery (an increase of treatment facilities, treatment services, and proven 12-step programs) then where the recovering alcoholic or addict currently resides, then the move is good. If those early in recovery move just to be away from where they were, thinking that the move itself (by itself) will achieve their recovery, then the move is bad.
The things those early in recovery must change to achieve recovery can be endless. The item of paramount importance is the change to the alcoholic and addicts’ routine. Ending extended alcohol and drug abuse can create a void in the lives of alcoholics and addicts. Adopting a more healthy daily life: sleeping at night, eating regular meals, being social (increase in being in the marketplace/public), taking in more physical exercise, can all be a huge step into wellness as well as provide the necessary structure for those in their early recovery.
Coastal Addiction Center
527 S Archer St
Anaheim, CA 92804