In the early days of your sobriety, you’re going to find there are a number of challenges to overcome if you want to see continued success. Understanding the likely sources of those challenges can give you time to prepare strategies for dealing with each in a careful manner. Here are five to beware of and plan for:
1. Non-sober friends and associates
It can be hard to stay sober if most of your friends are still addicts. Meeting new friends in addiction recovery programs or joining hobby groups where alcohol or drugs won’t be a factor can give you a major edge if this is the case for you.
2. Struggling with mood
In the early days of sobriety, while your brain chemistry is still in the recovery stage, it’s common to struggle with unpredictable emotions and mood swings. This can lead to spiraling frustrations, preoccupation with problems big and small, and relapse. Exercise, therapy, and general healthy living can help soften the transition back to a healthy mental state.
3. Substances at home
If you’re still living with people who use your drug or drink of choice, the continued presence of substances in your home can be a major challenge to overcome. If at all possible, you’ll want your housemates to discontinue use until you have a firmer grasp of your sobriety. If that’s not in the cards, leaving to stay at a sober home for a while might be a very smart move.
4. Boredom and loneliness
Simple boredom has undone many a recovering addict’s endeavors for sobriety, as they find that many of their old friends and activities are now unavailable to fill their time. Remember what you did before your addiction, and explore new opportunities.
Holidays, birthdays, business meetings, and dates – each can present a challenge to sobriety if you don’t approach it steadfast and ready to avoid drinking or using. Decide how you want to handle the subject of your abstinence in advance, figure out how you’re going to have fun without substances, and don’t be afraid to leave early if the temptation to use rears its head.