When people who don't understand much about recovery think about getting sober, they think of it as a one-time thing. They may consider it something that you choose to do one day, and that's the end of it. However, in reality, recovery is much more complex than this. Recovery is a journey, and just like any other journey, it has its high points and low points.
Recovery doesn't happen in one day. Instead, it is something that you must choose and work toward every day for the rest of your life. While it may be difficult at times, it is worth it, and you'll learn a lot about yourself along the way.
What Can I Expect From the Beginning of My Recovery Journey?
It can help to think of your recovery journey as a race. When you start running, you're typically full of energy and excitement. You're not tired yet because you have just started running. You're hopeful, motivated, and excited for what is to come.
This is comparable to how you will feel when you first begin your recovery journey. You've just completed your initial stages of treatment and are ready to return to your life. At this point, you're probably feeling really proud of yourself. You bravely sought help, and you received the guidance you needed to turn over a new leaf. Because you just came out of treatment, all the reasons you chose to get sober are fresh in your mind. These reasons provide you with the motivation that you use as fuel to keep going. At this point, the race might feel pretty easy.
What Can I Expect in the Months and Years Following Treatment?
As we know, with any race, there are easy points and hard points. Sometimes you're running uphill. Other times you may stumble onto roadblocks. You may be getting tired and losing motivation. The same is true for your recovery journey. There will be good days when choosing to stay sober will be easy. However, there may also be hard days when you experience the temptation to give up and turn back to substance use. This could be due to a number of factors, such as daily life stresses, the loss of a loved one, illness, financial hardship, and much more.
You may feel ready to throw in the towel on these more challenging days. It's often impossible to anticipate when these days will come. However, while you can't plan for disasters, you can plan for how you're going to deal with them. You should be sure to be prepared for these days and know ahead of time what steps you are going to take to ensure that you get through them without turning back to substance use. This could include reaching out to a sponsor or trusted friend who can provide a listening ear and help remind you why you decided to get sober in the first place. This could also include checking yourself into a treatment facility so that you can get the help you need and don't make any decisions you will later regret.
How Do I Maintain My Recovery Journey Over Time?
Relapse can occur out of nowhere. It can happen to anyone regardless of how long they've been sober or how committed to their recovery they may be. This is why it is so important to keep up with continued treatment, not just at the beginning of your recovery journey but as time goes on.
When you first go through treatment, a counselor will typically help you devise a plan for your continued recovery. Typically, this will include 12-Step support group meetings and/or regular therapy sessions. But it could also consist of other things, such as special treatment for mental health disorders, stress management classes, grief counseling, family counseling, and more. It is essential to keep up with these things as planned to ensure you're mentally prepared when life challenges arise.
In addition to keeping up with your continued treatment, it's also essential that you take care of your mental health. When you're the best you can be mentally, you'll be more equipped to make good decisions and fight off temptations. A big part of having strong mental health is taking care of yourself physically. This includes making sure you're eating healthy meals, drinking lots of water, making time for exercise, and getting plenty of sleep.
It can also help to practice self-care. Such practices can include doing whatever you need to do to feel good mentally, emotionally, and physically. Some examples could include the following:
- Taking a break from social media
- Reading a chapter from a book
- Listening to calming music
- Doing yoga or meditation
- Spending quality time with a friend
Your recovery is a journey; it is never simply over. You must continue to put in the work and choose to get sober every single day for the rest of your life. Like any journey, there are low points and high points. There are days when choosing to stay sober will be easy, and other days when it will be more challenging. This is why keeping up with continued treatment is very important. Support group meetings or therapy sessions ensure that you're prepared for challenges that may come your way. If you are struggling with a substance use disorder, our team at The Ho Tai Way can help. Call (714) 581-3974 today to learn more.