What is Sober Recovery?
Sober recovery has been described by those undergoing it as the most difficult part of an addiction rehabilitation program. The client has to put everything together and walk out the doors without assistance or a safety net. Sober recovery is difficult because the client is now expected to make decisions for themselves about their substance-free life, without outside therapy or medication. What makes it more difficult is that it occurs in the real world, where the addictive substance is as accessible as it was before the treatment program began. The client is re-entering their normal life where they encountered the substance of their choice. Finally, sober recovery is a continuous process that will last for the rest of the client’s life as struggles to reject falling back into addiction.
Sober Recovery Varies From Person to Person
The experience of post-treatment recovery is different for everyone. Some get through the day with plenty of support and love from their family and friends. Others have to make it by themselves as their addiction have ripped through their marriage and turned their kids into strangers. If you ask people in your support group what you can expect in your sober recovery the answer may vary from each person.
Some former addicts may only have a slight run-in with addiction and will suffer only little, if at all. Others have been long-time serious cases with a traumatic background that caused them to seek comfort in vice. Still others may have recovered completely but have not address the psychological issues behind the addiction and are as unstable as ever. Some have only undergone a treatment program once while others a recurring clients for years.
Depression as an Effect of Sober Recovery
Many addict face depression during the initial stages of sober recovery. They are walking into a whole new world. If they did not seek out a dual diagnosis facility there may be psychological issues which still need to be addressed. Some are caused by the absence of the addictive substances in the system and are lingering, long-term withdrawal symptoms. Others are realizing the pain they have cause others and the destruction they caused themselves and are reeling from the shame, knowing the years they spent achieving their lifestyle disappeared within weeks during a substance high.
Still others are symptoms of a deeper psychological issue that was the original cause of the addiction. Finally, depression can be caused by the loss or reduction of mental, physical or sensory component in the body that was caused by repeated exposure of the addictive chemicals in the brain and other organs. Whether slight or severe, depression can interfere with the recovery process and need to be addressed. Therapy has to continue even outside of the addiction center.
Poor Concentration as an Effect of Sober Recovery
Another common malady is early post-recovery treatment is poor concentration. This is especially noticeable during attendance of group therapy, when individuals aren’t fully cooperating with the activities or responding to queries from others.
How to Make a Successful Sober Recovery
A good way to counteract the effects of depression and poor concentration is making an active effort in participating during group sessions.
[content_box_light_blue width="75%"]By distracting the brain from negative thoughts through active participation, the mind not only exercises the components involved in concentration but there is less build-up on negative energies in the system. By also accepting these feelings as a normal part of recovery, former addicts can put their thoughts into making progress of their condition.[/content_box_light_blue]
Another aspect of sober recovery is getting used to schedules.
[content_box_light_blue width="75%"]First of all, there are the 12-step meetings that occur daily, which takes getting used to after months of structured living and months of therapy. The good news is that 12-step meetings are commonplace and occur regularly in many cities. Those who cannot physically attend meetings can go online and search for Web sessions.
Scheduling all these different aspects of recovery can be made more difficult when the client has to re-insert himself to their old life and duties, which include family time and work. It is important to talk with the spouse about fitting in the schedules. Spend a few weeks modifying and polishing the schedule and how the meetings, sponsor and therapy fit in home life, work, recreation and other duties. Remember to ease into a full schedule slowly to avoid the stress and succumb into frustration.[/content_box_light_blue]
There is also the need to search for a sponsor, a person who can assist during the transition to recovery and beyond.
[content_box_light_blue width="75%"]Part guide, part monitor and part information desk, a sponsor is a former addict who has successfully conquer their personal demons and is now willing to help others in their difficult journey. However close a client feels for their sponsor, they must remember that the latter is not their therapist, a certified expert in addiction recovery. Seeing a therapist is now also part of the regular schedule.
There will be some moments that are worse than most, when the cravings are particularly acute, or when bad events happen and the urge to succumb is strong. When personal discipline fails during these moments, it is up to the sponsor and the group to provide strength to overcome these bad moments in life.[/content_box_light_blue]
Recovery also means changing a previous lifestyle to avoid the temptations of falling back into addiction.
[content_box_light_blue width="75%"]That means that unsavory friends, places and habits must be abandoned in place of cleaner elements. Switch from bars and clubs to cafes and gyms for distractions. This will make it easier if the craving hits and there is no access to substances to assuage it. It will also make it harder to miss the old lifestyle and the happiness associated with it.[/content_box_light_blue]
There is also the danger of overconfidence, in which the ease of transition will lead to complacency.
[content_box_light_blue width="75%"]Skipping schedules, revisiting old habits and even a momentary lapse to substance abuse can all quickly descend to addiction once more. Recovery is all about never letting down the guard against relapse and weakness. Continue attending meetings, as the support they bring is crucial when facing crises.[/content_box_light_blue]
Staying Sober During Holidays – In The News
Atlanta News Weather Traffic and Sports of MyFox Atlanta reports that if you’re new to recovery this time of year is a bit of a minefield. You have a lot of parties sometimes with a lot of people you used to drink with. Only now you can’t. One expert says you don’t have to give up celebrating the holidays you just.…
It Is Your Sober Recovery
While therapy, sponsors, support groups and loved ones can make a great deal of difference throughout sober recovery, it is the person himself who has to make the decision to follow through with attending meetings, seeking counseling and avoiding temptation. Every day is a struggle and while relapsing and re-entering treatment is possible, the difficulty of repeating the process still exists. Remember to celebrate milestones of recovery, such as the first-year anniversary of clean living, with friends and family to reinforce the positive results of long periods of struggle and sacrifice. This will help by having to look forward to something after another year of recovery.
If you would like more information about sober recovery please call Hawaii Island Recovery at 866-906-6911.