1 Down a Lifetime to Go: What to Expect in The First Year of Recovery
Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Sullivan
Are you committing to a future of sobriety? It’s not a secret that the first year of recovering from addiction can be difficult. Firstly, it may take a physical toll as you detox from your drug of choice. Secondly, a whole mess of emotions comes to the surface. Feelings and emotions that you’ve done your best to suppress throughout years of drug or alcohol use.
Some have described the first year of sobriety as learning to be human again. When we numb ourselves with drugs and alcohol, it’s only natural to feel that way. In the first year of sobriety, we must learn to deal with those memories, pain, and emotions we spent so long sweeping under the rug.
The first year drug-free is challenging, and you’ll need tons of support. Not only that, you’ll need to know what to expect, and you’ll need advice from someone who has walked in similar shoes.
This educational resource discusses what you can expect in your first year of addiction recovery. Read on for insight!
Do you have questions about addiction treatment? Give us a call today at (385) 327-7418!
Jump To Section
Want to touch on a specific topic? Jump to the answers you need.
Learning How to Deal With Emotions and Feelings in Early Recovery
Emotions are an important part of who we are as humans. We feel things. Some feel more deeply than others. Not only that, but some people are better equipped to deal with emotions than others.
If you’ve always been the type to have trouble processing your emotions, drugs and alcohol may have been your attempt at dealing with them.
Dealing with emotions in the first year of recovery is not always easy. Sometimes, it’s those feelings of sadness, guilt, shame, and regret that make us feel like picking up and using.
In the first year of recovery, it can seem impossible to deal with all of the emotions that you’re feeling. The truth is that if you give yourself time to feel, think, and process emotions, you will build up the emotional intelligence to help you weather any of life’s storms.
If you’re having trouble right now, the best suggestion is to find a drug and alcohol addiction counselor to help you sift through these complex feelings.
Even though it might feel like you can’t get through the feelings, you will. You’re stronger than you know, and if you give yourself a chance, you’ll be amazed at what you can not only handle but overcome.
Remember: Emotional Intelligence is Essential in Recovery
Emotional intelligence (EI) has to do with your ability to detect and process your own emotions and the emotions of others. Emotional intelligence skills are essential to recovery.
Emotional Intelligence Skills are:
- Emotional awareness
- Emotional management
- Emotional application
Emotional intelligence affects all aspects of your life, including school and work performance, physical and mental health, relationships, and social ability.
Learning to be a more conscientious person can drastically improve emotional intelligence. If you’re aware of yourself and others around you, you can gain valuable insight into the sometimes hidden emotional world.
Learning to process your emotions and use them to act healthily and productively is essential to long-term recovery.
Remember, recovery isn’t only about stopping the use of drugs. It’s also about learning how to be successful in life. Those with high emotional intelligence are more successful in their relationships, work, school, and essentially all other areas.
Physical Health in the First Year of Recovery
Sometimes when people stop using drugs and alcohol, they have no idea how to improve their physical health. It’s also common for people to begin to overeat in early recovery, so they gain weight.
Now, this isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes, the body’s metabolism is out of sorts due to prolonged drug or alcohol use. When you start the process of recovery, your body may have a hard time healing at first. You may find that you put weight on quickly.
One of the most important parts of the first year of recovery is learning how to handle your physical health. Here’s a couple of areas to consider.
Nutrition in The First Year of Recovery
Your diet has an enormous impact on your overall well-being. Studies have shown that certain vitamin deficiencies can exacerbate opioid withdrawal.
In the first year of recovery, you must focus on giving your body the sustenance it needs to begin the process of healing.
This aspect of life doesn’t come easy to everyone. However, if you put some effort into researching your needs, you’ll find that there are a plethora of options, from vitamins, supplements, meal plans, and more.
Also, remember, this doesn’t have to do so much with obsessing about physical appearance. It has to do with giving the bodies the proper nutrition so that our insides can function well. However, when treating our body well on the inside, it shows strongly on the outside.
Learning to Exercise in the First Year of Recovery
During active addiction, it’s highly unlikely that you spend your time exercising. Some do spend their time exercising, but many don’t.
In the first year of recovery, you might feel a strong push to learn better habits like exercise. If you went to drug and alcohol rehab, you likely learned about nutrition and exercise.
In the first year of recovery, you must develop a healthy and adequate workout routine that keeps your mind and body strong.
Exercise has been shown to increase endorphins and help our brain relearn how to process important feel-good chemicals properly.