7 Tips for Surviving the First Year of Sobriety

Getting treatment for drug or alcohol addiction is one of the first steps toward sobriety. There are many things to look forward to once you leave a detox facility or addiction treatment facility. But the first year of sobriety can be filled with overwhelming ups and downs. It’s not uncommon for individuals to relapse in their first sober year.


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These Early Sobriety Tips Can Help You or a Loved One Get Through Early Sobriety and Avoid Relapse

1. Forget About That First Year

Although it’s helpful to have goals for your sobriety, looking toward the future can prevent you from taking care of yourself properly in the moment. Taking one day at a time allows you to move through difficult periods, stay mindful of your current reality and remember that this, too, shall pass.

People in recovery use the phrase “one day at a time” to reflect the importance of being present. Regardless of where you were yesterday or where you think you’ll be tomorrow, navigate each day with a fresh perspective, and respond to the situations that are in front of you.

You can also use “one day at a time” as encouragement when you’re having cravings. Try to get through 24 hours without giving in to those cravings. Utilize as many coping mechanisms as you need. Tomorrow is a new day, and you may not have the same urge to use. If you can get through one day, maybe you can get through two.

Your time frame for reaching your goals doesn’t have to be tied to the clock or calendar. Don’t compare yourself with others in recovery. Take your early sobriety journey at your own pace to remain balanced and aligned. You’ll feel like celebrating when you’re sober for a full year, but don’t let it be your only marker of success and hope.

2. Rebuild Your Life

Your life isn’t going to feel the same as before you were sober. That’s ok.

There were likely some behaviors and activities that you engaged in before that don’t serve you now. Some of the things that you did for fun, people you hung out with and communication patterns with people you love will change. Early sobriety is your chance to rebuild your lifestyle in a healthy way.

This may involve honest reflections about your lifestyle habits. You may have to avoid certain activities to stay away from temptations. You may have to respond to intense emotions or triggers differently than you did before, which can change your daily routine.

Make a note of the things that you want to do differently. Ask for accountability for making healthy changes. Keep your values and goals in check as you recreate a life that is more fulfilling and meaningful.

3. Do More Planning

In early sobriety, while you’re taking each day at a time, staying busy is important. However, filling your days with spontaneous activities can feel unpredictable. Early sobriety is a great time to create a schedule for yourself.

Plan out your days, keeping in mind the values that you’re focusing on to rebuild your life and the fact that you should take things one day at a time. You may keep a simple to-do list that helps you stay motivated and responsible for your obligations. You might need to plan for somebody to drive you to a meeting or create an alternative plan when your friends are meeting up at a bar.

Creating a schedule for yourself gives you something predictable to look forward to. Don’t over-schedule yourself with energy-draining activities, though. Plan time for self-care, meetings, social activities and leisure.

4. Clean Your Living Space

Even if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t care about clutter, your mental health can suffer when you live in a messy, disorganized space. Free up your mental space and keep your nervous system in check by maintaining a clean, organized environment.

It’s important to have a safe haven in which you can relax, meditate and rejuvenate yourself. Clutter and mess trigger your stress hormones and can prevent you from feeling fully at ease.

You don’t have to keep your home sparkling. However, you could make note of some simple activities, such as cleaning the countertops, dusting the shelves or vacuuming the rugs, to incorporate into your daily routine. These activities will also keep you moving and provide distraction when you need it.

5. Work Actively with a Sponsor, Group and Therapist

Having a sponsor doesn’t do much to help if you’re not communicating with them and working on yourself at the same time. Continue to attend support groups, and work with your sponsor regularly. Being around people who know what early sobriety is like can make a huge difference when it comes to your recovery.

You should also maintain a consistent relationship with a mental health professional. You don’t have to be down in the dumps to benefit from a therapist. You can celebrate your wins, explore new emotions and continue to plan for your future in recovery.

6. Know What to Do If You Relapse

When you’re ready to transition from addiction treatment to life outside the facility, you should create a recovery plan with your mental health professional. This plan can help you avoid relapse. However, it should also involve an emergency protocol for reaching out to people who can support you if you relapse during the first year of sobriety.

Relapse during early sobriety can be particularly dangerous, and it’s important to seek treatment. Using again after several days, weeks or months of sobriety can also be frustrating. Remember that relapse is part of the recovery journey. If it happens, responding to it appropriately can help you learn and grow from the experience.

7. Reach Out for Help

Getting sober isn’t a linear process. You can use these early sobriety tips and have a completely different experience than the next person. Some people take more time than others to reach the goals and milestones that they have set for themselves. At Burning Tree West, we understand that every client has unique needs. That’s why we structure our programs to cater to the individual. We aim to help people who need a bit of extra time in treatment to return to early sobriety with the resources, motivation and commitment to succeed.


Get Help Now

Call our admissions specialists who can help you find the best treatment center for your needs. If you need help with drug abuse or addiction recovery, we can help you.

(888) 530-9424