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Tips for Navigating Early Recovery

Navigating early recovery after seeking treatment for substance use disorder (SUD) can feel like being on a roller coaster. It can be associated with a lot of new emotions, new experiences, and important conversations. While this can be a very exciting time, it can also feel overwhelming. The good news is that this isn’t something that you have to try to navigate on your own. 

It can help to have an idea of what to expect from the first few months of recovery and beyond. You can rest assured that the types of things that you’ll experience during this time are normal. The feelings of fear and anxiety that may be associated with this time are not forever and will soon pass. It won’t be long before you’ll start to enjoy the many benefits of living a newly sober life. 

In the meantime, there are some important things to prioritize, such as staying involved and connected with your 12-Step support group. There are also some things that you’re going to want to avoid, including turning back to some of your old habits. At Sage Recovery, we will walk with you every step of the way as you navigate this journey. 

Some Important “Do’s” of Navigating Early Recovery

There are some important “do’s” to remember while going about early recovery. Consider some of the following:

#1. Do Try to Keep Yourself Busy

Many people turn to substance use when they’re bored or just sitting around. For some people, just spending time relaxing at home without the distraction of drugs or alcohol may sound like a challenge. This could be because they are used to engaging in substance use to keep them from being present in the moment. In the past, they may have used substances to avoid confronting stress, anxiety, depression, or other negative emotions they may have been dealing with.

This is why keeping yourself busy and out of the house as much as possible, especially during the first few weeks and months of recovery, can really help. Withdrawal side effects also tend to be the most noticeable while navigating early recovery. However, if you keep yourself busy doing the things that you love, it will keep your mind focused on the positive. 

#2. Do Be as Honest as Possible

Being honest in recovery is so important. This doesn’t just mean being honest with other people but it also means being honest with yourself as well. Maybe this includes acknowledging that there may be some people or places that you need to avoid to remain focused on your recovery. On the other hand, it may mean being honest with yourself as you identify some changes that you need to make in your life or toxic habits you need to get rid of moving forward. 

#3. Do Stay Connected With Your Support System

Staying connected to your support system is absolutely crucial as you navigate recovery. These are the people who are going to help hold you accountable and encourage you when you need it. Prioritize quality time with the people in your life who want to see you succeed on your journey. This includes the people within your 12-Step support group meetings. 

Some Important “Don’ts” of Navigating Early Recovery

Just as there are some important “dos” associated with early recovery, there are some “don’ts” to keep in mind as well. Some of these include:

#1. Don’t Turn Back to Old Habits

There are likely some places that you used to frequently go to engage in substance misuse in the past. This could be bars, certain restaurants, or certain people’s homes. You may think that you’re strong enough to visit these places now and not break your sobriety. However, it is far better to avoid these people and places entirely, especially in early recovery 

#2. Don’t Forget to Prioritize Self-Care

Making time for regular self-care is so important for your mental, physical, and emotional health. It’s going to help you to be better equipped to handle stress, avoid triggers, and make healthy, positive decisions. Keeping up with self-care can even help you to prevent relapse. Do whatever it takes to make this time for yourself, even if it means making small sacrifices throughout the day. 

#3. Don’t Set Too High of Expectations Early On

When you first start recovery, you may be motivated to accomplish a lot of things and make a lot of changes right away. It’s a good thing to feel this type of encouragement to take charge and really seize your newly sober life. However, it is also important to remember to give yourself grace during this time. You don’t have to try to accomplish all your goals right away. 

The early days of recovery can be a little overwhelming, especially when you don’t know what to expect. Our team at Sage Recovery can help. 

Have you ever turned down an opportunity you actually wanted because you were afraid or just didn’t know what to expect? Maybe it was a new job position that you weren’t sure that you could handle or a chance to try something you had never tried before. In the moment, turning down might have seemed like the safe decision to make. However, there was a good chance you maybe you regretted saying no later, or at least wondered what would have happened if you had said yes. Don’t let your fear of the unknown hold you back from living the life you deserve. Consider taking the first step towards sobriety by calling Sage Recovery today at (512) 306-1394