Being new to sobriety is often one of the scariest experiences of one’s life. I know first hand. Once numbed by a drug of choice, life can seem very overwhelming. Day to day tasks and stress that seem normal to some become hardships for those in recovery from an addiction. Emotions, anxiety, and fear can drive someone to panic or even relapse. When I first got sober, I didn’t think it would be possible for it to last. I had tried several times before and always failed. Luckily, this last time around I got involved with a great group of people that could give me useful suggestions for newcomers.
Now that I am in long-term recovery, I find joy in helping others. Helping others is what keeps me clean today and gives me purpose in life. I like to share the same suggestions for newcomers that my friends shared with me. Seeing people gain confidence and hope for their future is one of the most rewarding things in recovery. If it weren’t for the people who helped me at my lowest point, I would not be the man I am today. That is why I like to share what I have gained so that is can be passed along to others. These are some suggestions for newcomers I give today:
Get A Homegroup
A homegroup is a meeting and fellowship that you go to regularly and make it a routine. Usually, a homegroup refers to a 12-step fellowship like AA or NA. Homegroups offer accountability and support. In addition to this, homegroups offer a new group of friends who can support you in recovery and give you advice. Homegroups will know if you don’t show up and will often know if you aren’t acting yourself. This can be overwhelming for someone who is used to “fair weather friends” or “using buddies.” For me, a homegroup was an eye opening experience to real friendship. It gave me an avenue to find people who legitimately care about my wellbeing. It also gave me an avenue to learn about all of the suggestions for newcomers I can give today.
Get A Sponsor
A sponsor is usually someone who takes you through the 12 steps of a 12-step fellowship. Some people refer to it as a spiritual advisor. Sponsors often offer selfless 24-hour support and can give priceless advice about recovery. Sponsors typically have vast knowledge about recovery and sobriety and can support you along the way. Sponsors usually know exactly what you are feeling and what you are going through. They can offer past experience and can relate on a deeper level than a non-addict or alcoholic.
I’m going to be honest; I thought meditation was completely bogus when I first got sober. I thought it was for monks or yoga-folk who are also vegan. I did not think meditation had anything to do with sobriety. But came to find out it surely does.
Meditation is one of the most significant pillars of my recovery today. Meditation is actually scientifically proven to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression (all triggers for relapse). Also, meditation is far easier than I thought. My first suggestion for mediation in recovery was to take 10 conscious breaths in the morning. This meant just closing my eyes and counting deep breaths when I woke up in the morning. Surprisingly, as I did it over time, I noticed how this set me in motion for my day. Waking up and simply relaxing my mind put the course of my day in positive motion.
As a heroin addict, I was used to a daily routine. This routine was waking up and immediately cooking up a shot. Meditation gave me an avenue to replace my normal routine with something positive. It cleared my mind of racing thoughts and gave me strength to approach the day with confidence.
It may seem hard, but calling other sober people can have a significant impact on one’s mind set. If feeling anxious, angry, or depressed, a simple call to someone else in recovery can completely change your train of thought. People in recovery share the same struggles. This is why a quick phone call at work, at home, or at a party, can help mold your perception and learn new ways of looking at situations. Calling people will often new suggestion for newcomers that you may not have heard before.
Finding hobbies is crucial in recovery. Now that you are sober, there is no time to sit around at home. Sitting around and being bored can lead to racing thoughts, boredom, and cravings. Finding fun activities and hobbies will not only make you happy but will give you more purpose in life. Finding purpose is one of the most important things in recovery. Having real fun was one of the best suggestions for newcomers I could have gotten, even though it may seem so obvious.
Exercise relieves stress, anxiety, and depression, which can all lead to relapse. Exercise helps clear the mind and enhances cognitive function as well as supports pleasure chemicals in the brain. When using drugs or alcohol, pleasure chemicals in the brain are depleted. This is why early recovery can be so depressing. Exercise will encourage sleep and motivation in day-to-day life.
Helping others is by far the most important suggestions for newcomers. I did not understand this at first. As new to recovery, I felt as though people should be helping me. Come to find out, helping other people relieves the mind of self-worry and doubt. Helping others takes pressure off one’s self and focuses it on those around you. When this happens, cravings seem to go away. When trying to be a good person, my own problems seem to vanish. The longer I remained sober, the more I realized what I could offer to other people just like me.
Seeking Treatment for Alcoholism and Addiction
If you or a loved one has a problem with alcoholism or addiction and want to experience recovery in a thriving community with lots of people just like you, then call the professionals at Stout Street today at 866-722-7040. Our trained staff is standing by to take your call and help you in any way we can. We know how difficult of a decision this can be and we know what it takes to ensure you find your own person path in recovery. You no longer have to do it alone, so give us a call today and find the happy and sober life you’ve always dreamed of.