When You're In Early Recovery, Cravings Can Be Difficult To Overcome
When cravings come up out of nowhere it can be very difficult to shake them. You went to detox, so why do you still want to use? Didn't you get better? Why do you feel this way? Take comfort in knowing that this can be a normal experience for many in early recovery.
A Longer Rehab Brings Better Results
Thirty days, unfortunately, is often not long enough to ensure long-lasting sobriety. It is highly recommended that you extend treatment duration up to 90 days or beyond. This does not need to happen in an inpatient residential program; it can also be on an outpatient basis. During this period, relapse is more likely to occur due to the needed coping skills and tools which have yet to be established properly. The first 90 days are deemed critical in the recovery process as they will affect your success going forward.
For those new to recovery, the first 90 days are of particular importance as they strive to learn how to live sober. Such a process can be emotionally challenging due to unavoidable feelings that cannot be held back like drugs or alcohol used to. This period can be difficult due to cravings and a roller coaster of emotions, yet it is not over after this initial phase. It may take months for an addict in recovery to feel secure in their sobriety.
Have you ever heard the expression, "Idle hands are the devil's plaything?" The same is true in recovery. Cravings in early recovery are fleeting and temporary feelings. A substance abuser's thoughts, however, will run rampant when they have nothing to do. Creating a schedule and sticking to it will help. This is why a stable and structured environment is so important.
Creating a schedule and following it can be helpful. Start with setting your alarm clock for the same time each morning. By balancing the days tasks throughout the week, you will be less overwhelmed by too much in one day. It's important to balance work, exercise, meals, meetings, step-work, counseling, time with family and friends, and sleep.
The Counseling Process
Continuing counseling sessions on an outpatient basis is also recommended, as mentioned earlier. In early recovery, it is important to express your thoughts. Often, people new to sobriety won't admit they are struggling or they will let it build up until they are overwhelmed and consumed by emotion. It is crucial that you share your feelings and emotions with a clinician so they can assist you in dealing with them. They are here to work through them with you! But they only can help if you keep them informed when issues arise. Counselors continue the support you built during your first thirty days in rehab, so now is not the time to stop working with them.
During the first few months after you became sober, it is helpful to make a list of goals for yourself. Keep in mind that setting short-term and achievable goals is of key importance. You may have a larger goal, such as "staying sober." But lets break that down a bit... for instance, How do you stay sober? Create some smaller goals with benchmarks that will enable you to achieve your bigger goal, like:
- Exercise five times a week
- For 90 days, attend a 12-step meeting every day
- Get a sponsor within a month
- Start working on the steps with a sponsor within two weeks
- Meditate each day for 10 minutes
In early recovery, you should also work on setting healthy boundaries and limits. Boundaries can relate to finances, work, emotions, family, and friends. Boundaries are set by you for various relationships in your life. Depending on what you are comfortable with, you set limits for yourself.
In your first year of recovery, you may be invited to family functions and events where liquor will likely be served. Setting a boundary to not put yourself in compromising positions is an example of this. You need to determine whether this will cause you any discomfort, unneeded stress, or induce unwanted cravings.
A way to get ahead of this is to establish boundaries for these types of events. You could arrange your own transportation so you have the option of exiting early if it gets too overwhelming. You can also limit your time at the function; for instance, plan on staying for only two or three hours. During your first year of sobriety, it is perfectly fine to avoid situations where alcohol or stressors could be present. Setting boundaries and limits is always acceptable and those close to you should show respect for these limits.
For more information about a safe recovery, please contact Redemption Addiction Treatment Center. Call now to learn more (302) 485-7278