If you’ve decided to start on your journey of sobriety, then you should be proud of yourself. This is a huge step! Most substance users continue being in denial about their addiction, and admitting you have an issue is the first step to turning your life around. However, understanding what you’re about to go through is just as important as deciding to get sober. After all, most substance users relapse in a matter of days, weeks, or even months because they fail to set their expectations right. The journey ahead of you is anything but easy, but if you manage to survive the first month, you’ll be almost sure to make it through.
Here are 6 things you can expect to face during the first month of sobriety.
Depending on the substance you’ve been abusing, you may struggle with various forms of withdrawal symptoms. Hard drugs are known to produce the most severe withdrawal symptoms of all, some of which can be fatal if not treated with medical care. For other substances, withdrawal symptoms may be limited to emotional and psychological issues or encompass physical symptoms as well. Before deciding to quit, it’s important to get a medical professional’s opinion to know if it’s safe to go through withdrawal at home or if you’ll need to join a rehab facility.
Giving up on something you’ve become accustomed to is always a struggle, even with things as simple as changing your eating habits. So imagine how difficult it’s going to be to give up on something that now plays an integral part in how your brain and body function. You should expect to have intense cravings for the substance you’ve been using, and those cravings can get so strong that you won’t be able to think of anything else but using the substance again. Even if you get your cravings under control, you may be tempted to use the substance again whenever you’re subjected to a trigger. These triggers can be in the form of hanging around with friends who abuse substances, walking by a place you used to go when using drugs, or being subjected to painful situations or reminders that make you want to use the substance to escape.
One of the biggest reasons substance users become addicts is to experience the euphoria that comes with getting high. This euphoria is strong enough to dull the normal flow of senses, which helps them ease into oblivion and escape reality. This means that during the first month of not drinking or using substances, your senses will slowly and steadily start getting back to normal. You’ll start experiencing all the stimuli you’ve been numb to. It may get too strong that it drives you into sensory overload and leaves you overwhelmed. Fortunately, if you stick to your sobriety plan for a few days, you’ll soon develop a reassuring sense of self-awareness and get used to experiencing these stimuli without getting affected as much.
There are so many things that change once you start living in reality once again. For starters, you’ll remember everything you’ve been running from. Only, this time, you won’t have a substance to help you escape, and that can make you feel like you’re losing your mind. You can expect to feel angry, anxious, restless, paranoid, depressed, and a whole spectrum of mixed emotions. These emotions result from the psychological withdrawal symptoms as well as being forced to face what you’ve been running from.
Physical and Physiological Changes
Alongside the psychological struggles, you can experience a range of physical and physiological changes. Your sleep may get affected, your eating habits can change, your brain will most likely struggle to perform tasks, your blood pressure may decline, your immune response can change, you will feel exhausted all the time, and your body won’t feel like it isn’t your own anymore.
Mental Health Issues
On the list of things, you should watch out for are other mental health issues. You may expect an emotional rollercoaster and a decline in mental health, but abusing substances often interferes with the brain chemicals to a great extent. It’s clinically known that substance users are at a higher risk of developing mental disorders, like food disorders or personality disorders, when compared to other people.
Whether you’ve decided to take the step to get sober or you were forced into it, this is a great chance to turn your life around for the better. However, rushing into quitting your addiction may be counterproductive if you’re not well-prepared. To reduce the chances of relapse and bypass all of its added struggles, it’s crucial to understand what you should expect in your first month of sobriety. Hopefully, you’re now better-armed to face sobriety and survive it like a warrior.