Once we are set to discharge from inpatient treatment from drug and alcohol addiction, our journey is really set to begin. It will be the biggest crossroads of your entire life. Recovery is the type of thing where you get in what you put out. I spent years just doing the bare minimum and for years I would go back out to relapse. When I finally put my heart and soul into my recovery my entire life changed.
Early recovery can be extremely overwhelming. Looking ahead in the future can become complicated and the list can pile up on things you want to achieve and what you want to become. Let’s go over some solid keys to early recovery that will build you a foundation you can stand strongly on and begin living the clean and sober life you desire.
Building A Support Network
This is my absolute top suggestion to anyone in early recovery. Before anything else, recovery is about who you surround yourself with. Unfortunately, there are scores of unsavory characters that can be found when you first get sober. Thankfully, there are plenty out there doing the right thing who are looking for willing newcomers.
The last thing I wanted to do in early recovery was to meet new people and talk to them about my terrible life. The hardest part was just saying hi and beginning a conversation, I was amazed at how quickly I connected with people once a conversation got started. No matter how different you may be from someone, having that common denominator of being a recovering addict or alcoholic will connect you with anyone in a very fast manner.
A simple rule of getting and staying sober is doing things a different way, you need new ideas on life. What better way to do that than to build relationships with people who have been where you were and made it out alive? The biggest reason I was finally able to get sober was that I completely stopped making decisions and found someone I trust to make decisions for me. People with years sober made decisions for me and it saved my life.
Action, Action, Action.
There is always something to do while you are in your first few months of getting sober. It’s very easy to want to just sit in your room and avoid the world but it is legitimately the worst thing you can do for yourself. Finding a job, meeting new people, going to meetings, finding and working with a sponsor, going to the gym, socializing, reaching out to your family, saving money, finding a hobby, doing step work, reading.
There is always something to do and the more you stay in action the quicker you will see a life forming around your very eyes. My worst days early on in recovery are the days when I would decide to ‘take it easy’ and not do much. What happens when you do that? Your mind becomes the only thing you listen to that day. I don’t know about you but give my mind a few hours to itself and it is going to start hurling some crazy thoughts at me. Nothing positive either. It’s a terrible place to be.
Make goals, make big ones and small ones. Try to accomplish something new every day no matter how minor it may be. I absolutely loved my first year in recovery because I went to hard at building a new life and once the results started to come I got hooked on that feeling. The hardest thing to do is to get started, getting started without any proof the results feel good is a tough thing for us addicts who just want to feel good.
Be Kind To Yourself
We are our own worst enemies, by far. As I mentioned earlier, my mind was a terrible place when I first got sober. It still wanted me to self-sabotage and chop me down anytime I would try to do something positive. I have to proactively create a positive environment for myself, every morning to this day I start my day out with things like
The morning sets the tone for your entire day, by producing some positivity inside of you, you can carry that with you throughout the day and keep the negativity at bay for the most part.
It’s inevitable that you will hit days that put you in a total funk. There could be no reason to it or you can be facing something very serious, the key is to reach out to others in your support network. You will not fix your problems on your own. I can’t even count the number of times my day completely changed just because I reached out to someone and was completely transparent with them about my problems.
Having someone in your life that is aware at all times at what is going on can work wonders for your mental health and strength in recovery. It’s the secrets and introverted actions that can take us out so fast that we can end up making a life-altering decision by going back out to use at the snap of a finger. Being kind to yourself also means doing what is necessary to heal yourself.
These are just simple principles to live by and focus on early on in your journey to staying sober and living a free life. It’s best to keep things simple early on, at 5 years sober now, I still like to keep my life simple. Just make sure you have a support network you can lean on, always be building towards something and treat yourself good. With those key principles your new sober life can go a long way. Enjoy the journey because its the greatest thing you will ever do with your life.