Many people start the year with a new mindset and a commitment to quitting drugs, alcohol, or other bad habits. Unfortunately, many of them relapse before the end of the first month.
The first month is crucial to the recovery process when you quit drugs. The odds of you staying sober for a month are the same as staying sober for a year. So, what can you do to increase your chances of success during your drug recovery?
Recovery Is a Journey, Not a Destination
When you have finally decided to quit your drug or alcohol addiction, you have taken the first step in your early recovery journey. This is a time when you are excited about the new life you want to enjoy, free of drug addiction. But it would be best if you were also prepared for the challenges that await you.
Statistics show that the first month of recovery is the most difficult one, as this is when your body is detoxifying and your chemical balance is out of control. If you are not careful, you might fall prey to temptations and end up relapsing. However, you must also know that recovery is a process and not a destination.
To stay on your feet and achieve success in your daily life, you must learn how to cope with the challenges that you will face during and after the first thirty days following however long you have been active in addiction.
Physical and Psychological Withdrawal
When you decide to quit drugs, you will experience many discomforts. Medically assisted detox at residential treatment facilities is the most preferred, evidence-based way to start treatment for substance use disorders. You might also experience physical pain. The physical discomfort you will face will depend on the type of drug you are addicted to.
For instance, people with heroin use disorder may experience muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, and vomiting after quitting. A person addicted to cocaine may experience more mental health symptoms like depression and anxiety. In the case of recovering from alcohol abuse, the withdrawal symptoms will be similar to those associated with anxiety.
The time frame of the physical withdrawal will also depend on the type of drug you are addicted to. For example, if you have been addicted to heroin, your physical withdrawal symptoms may last for a week. However, some people have symptoms that persist for several months.
On the other hand, a person with alcoholism who stops drinking may suffer withdrawals for up to 72 hours. In rare instances, people with alcohol use disorders have had severe symptoms that last for more than thirty days of sobriety.
While you may initially experience physical and cognitive symptoms during early sobriety, such as nausea, sweating, shaking, dizziness, and fatigue, these symptoms will soon pass, and you will begin to feel well.
These feelings might be amplified by the possibility of feeling stuck, which makes you want to go back to using After a history of substance use or heavy drinking, it is common to have alcohol cravings or urges to use again.
There might also be psychological symptoms such as feeling caught or worrying that you won't be able to avoid using again. Psychological addiction plays a huge role in addiction and recovery. This is much harder to deal with than the physical part of the addiction to some people.
The psychological part of addiction is sometimes more robust and challenging than the physical part for many people, especially in the early stages of recovery. Nevertheless, it is a necessary part of healing, and getting past the first thirty days or 365 is crucial to your continued long-term sobriety.
Causes of Relapse and Coping
Relapse is a term that is used to describe returning to an addictive behavior after a period of being sober or clean. It is a prevalent issue that a sober person faces, no matter how long or brief their abstinence from substances has been.
Undoubtedly, it can be discouraging, but it is considered a part of the process. The issue is that relapsing can lead a person back into the clutches of full-fledged addiction. Therefore, it is vital to know the relapse signs and prevent them.
The key to avoiding relapse is to be aware that it occurs over time. It begins weeks, if not months before a person takes a sip of alcohol or hits a drug.
Thru behavioral therapies, individuals are taught to recognize early warning signs of a relapse and develop coping skills to avoid it. The three stages of relapse have been identified as emotional, mental, and physical.
Emotional relapse is frequently accompanied by a lack of attention to one's own needs. Self-destructive behavior can lead to emotional and mental relapses, but it is not arbitrary. HALT stands for hungry, angry, lonely, and tired.
HALT is a simple reminder to keep in mind. Make sure that your clients take time out of their schedules to relax, take good care of themselves, and let themselves enjoy themselves.
As a person's mental relapse progresses, their cognitive resistance to relapse weakens, and they become more desperate to find an escape route. Mental relapse symptoms include:
- Cravings for drugs or alcohol
- Thinking about people and places associated with past use
- I am thinking of schemes to better control using
- looking for relapse opportunities.
Some people have difficulty recognizing or even accepting that they are in high-risk situations.
Some researchers refer to the initial use of alcohol or drugs as a "lapse," while others consider a "relapse" a return to uncontrolled use. An individual is said to be in physical relapse if they begin using again. For relapse prevention in recovery treatment, it is essential to practice these scenarios and devise healthy ways.
Beyond 30 days of sobriety
The good news is that you can prevent relapse by attending a support group like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or participating in a relapse prevention program like SMART Recovery or Adapt.
These programs and other professional help like group therapy from a rehab center providing substance abuse treatment can teach you how to identify your cravings, deal with urges, and manage stress. Support programs tend to be free and are supported by the group members, so you're never alone in your recovery!
You can enjoy a sober life by having sober friends, residential treatment, continued therapy sessions, and other additional support. All it takes is a stressful situation and the experience of physical changes from withdrawal to disrupt recovery.
Despite all the common symptoms of withdrawal, the better sleep, new attitude, and new things that await you during your sober life are beautiful things you can be proud of for many more days of sobriety—even months and years to come.
Following effective treatment at a rehab facility for drug abuse or alcohol dependence, you’ll begin to live a more fulfilling life. If you haven't started your recovery journey yet, contact one of the best addiction treatment centers like Wish Recovery for more information.