Early sobriety is arguably the most difficult time in an addict’s life, even more so than active addiction. While yes, you are sober and actively working on improving the state of your life, it doesn’t exempt you from the emotional roller coaster ride that is early recovery. With feelings coming flooding back, legal ramifications, and basically starting life from scratch, it can be overwhelming at the very least.
Getting Your Bearings
In the very first few days of sobriety, addicts and alcoholics are often subjected to the grueling withdrawal process. The emotional roller coaster ride starts off coupled with severe physical turmoil as well. The withdrawal process is never pretty, and recovery often comes at a severe physical price that addicts need to pay.
PAWS, or Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome, is almost guaranteed no matter what substance you were abusing. PAWS are a constellation of symptoms experienced by individuals addicted to alcohol or certain drugs after a prolonged period of withdrawal. These symptoms include, but are not limited to: tremors, seizures, sweating, nausea, rapid heart rate, cravings, diarrhea, constipation, insomnia, anxiety, and depression. These symptoms can persist up to two months after the cessation of drug use.
If you are lucky enough to be detoxed at a medical facility as opposed to a home detox, you may be provided medications to help alleviate some of the more troublesome symptoms. However, there is no medication that can help with the emotional roller coaster you’re experiencing as a result of your detox. Forced to sit with the persistent negative thoughts and facing your new reality without the numbing effect of drugs or alcohol can be enough to make anyone go crazy. However, there are a few things you can do to help negate some of the difficulties that come with the emotional roller coaster of early recovery.
Join a 12-Step Fellowship
Perhaps one of the most common suggestions presented to addicts and alcoholics around the world, joining a 12-step fellowship can actually significantly increase your likelihood to maintain sobriety as well as circumvent the emotional roller coaster of early sobriety. A 12-Step fellowship would be Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, or anyone of the other branches. The 12-steps are a methodical approach to treating addiction and its underlying causes by implementing steps 1-12 of the program. These steps are designed to get to the root of the problem when it comes to addiction and provide a spiritual solution to your physical problem.
12-step fellowships are great for early sobriety as they provide a supportive community of fellow addicts/alcoholics who have been exactly where you are now. They can provide first-hand guidance and advice when it comes to dealing with the challenges a newly recovering person will face. The 12-steps act as a literal step-by-step guide to relief from the emotional roller coaster ride of sobriety. Through diligent work, attendance of 12-step meetings, as well as active participation in the 12-step community, many people in early sobriety find that these programs are very effective for them!
Journaling is Key
A very underrated way to cope with the emotional roller coaster of early recovery is simply by putting pen to paper. Writing is not only a very therapeutic technique when dealing with a multitude of issues, it is particularly effective in early sobriety. Putting your thoughts on paper can not only help you physically visualize your plethora of emotions, but it can help put them into better perspective for you.
Journaling is recommended by therapists around the world. Journaling is proven to actually lower anxiety, stress, and promote better sleeping patterns. Journaling also helps with your emotional intelligence, which is vital for newly recovering addicts and alcoholics. It’s a commonly known an accepted fact that using drugs and alcohol stunts emotional growth to whatever age you started regularly using. With most addicts, this time frame exists around adolescence and the teenage years. Since active addiction can sometimes persist for decades, that’s a lot of making up to do.
Journaling is a great outlet for processing emotions. By journaling regularly, it increases a familiarity with self, causing a deeper understanding of your own thoughts and feelings. From this familiarity comes a connection with your emotions. You will become far more intuitive and more sympathetic towards others, a hallmark of emotional maturity.
Despite the negative connotation therapy may have with many people, it holds a multitude of benefits for the attendee. There are many different forms of therapy apart from typical talk-therapy, although it remains one of the most effective forms.
Under the guidance of a certified therapist, an addict in early recovery may reap a number of benefits. The emotional roller coaster of recovery can prove to be too much for some people, as feelings they may not have experienced for years surface or bad memories from the past come to the forefront of the mind. A trained professional will be able to teach you positive coping mechanisms to deal with these troubling experiences that are far more effective and healthy than using substances.
Working through past traumas under the guidance of a mental health professional is also the safest route to take. Oftentimes, the root of someone’s addiction stems from PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD is the emotional response to a traumatic event. These particular situations can produce volatile responses if not handled correctly, such as relapse. By working closely to formulate a treatment plan with a therapist, you can finally find relief from the emotional struggles of the past.
Give Me Relief
No matter what walk of life you hail from, early sobriety and the emotional roller coaster ride it incites is not easy to deal with. But as millions of recovering people have demonstrated throughout the years, it can be done and finding relief is possible. Between waiting for your body to physically recuperate from active addiction and level itself out and seeking outside methods to alleviate the emotional upheaval, your chances for relapse are substantially reduced. Early recovery can be a challenge, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Explore your plethora of options available to help you deal with the emotional roller coaster before just simply giving up. Call us today at 858-293-1363. Our teams of specialists are waiting by to help figure out what options are best for sending your life is a comfortable direction that you can proudly stand behind.