When you first get sober, it’s normal to have mixed emotions. Some people experience elation and euphoria while others feel angry and resentful. But even for those who do feel elation, this typically wears off in a few days or weeks. In time, most people in recovery feel unsure about their new life.
If you’re currently wondering how you can enjoy life without drugs or alcohol, know that this is normal. Don’t be embarrassed by these feelings. Try to process them in a healthy manner such as by talking to your sponsor, writing in your journal or meditating. As you transition to a more normal routine, here are some ways to embrace sober living.
Look Forward to Meeting New Friends
Recovery organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) help people all over the world with drug and alcohol addiction. They are a great way to connect with peers who are facing similar struggles as you. Members in these groups are all at various stages of the recovery journey so you can learn from them while offering help to others.
What you may not realize about these organizations is that you can develop lifelong friendships. It’s not just about getting treatment. Since these people have gone through addiction, you might find them easier to connect with. This is important because you’ll likely need some new friends now that you’re sober.
Enjoy Your Free Time with New Hobbies
When you adjust to your new life, you’ll find that you have a lot more free time on your hands. The time that you spent obtaining, using and recovering from drugs or alcohol is now available for you to enjoy. So what will you do with it?
Some people use this as a fresh start and get into new things they haven’t done before like dancing, running marathons or playing an instrument. Others pursue the things they once enjoyed but gave up because of their addiction. You can choose whatever feels natural and comfortable to you.
If you don’t have any passions or hobbies, now is the time to find some. You won’t know what you like until you try things out so consider taking an online class, participating in a workshop at your local library or tagging along with friends who enjoy sober activities. With more time, money and mental acuity, the possibilities of things to do are endless!
Treat Yourself Well
We are our own worst critics. We tend to blow past our strengths and focus on our flaws. As you recover from addiction, chances are, you’ll have some days where you’re hard on yourself. You might feel like you’re not as far along in your journey as you should be or you might focus on all of the things you did wrong when you were actively using drugs or alcohol.
Remember that you are working through the 12 steps and making positive changes in your life. This is how you show others that you are sorry for the mistakes made and are taking responsibility. There is also no set timeline you have to follow to recover. Each person’s journey is unique. Try not to compare your journey to others’ and focus on reaching your own goals.
In the meantime, treat yourself well. Read your favorite books. Binge watch your favorite shows. Take yourself out to buy new clothes or shoes. Say positive things about yourself every day. When you love and value yourself, others will too.
Invest in Your Dreams
This goes along the lines of treating yourself well but refers to investing in yourself – and not just your physical needs. It means doing things to help build you into the person you want to be. This could mean taking a professional development class, pursuing a new career like photography or volunteering your time to a cause that’s close to your heart.
You only get one life to live so live it to the fullest! Now that you are sober, you can chase your dreams and build the life you once wanted for yourself. Don’t be afraid to invest time and money into making these dreams come true. Addiction robs us of our dreams, but the addiction is no longer in control of your life. You are.
Spend Time in the Real World
The world can be a scary place when you are newly sober, especially if you suffer from depression or anxiety. And the more you stay indoors, the more likely you are to learn about the world through social media or the news. Unfortunately, this is not healthy and can cause you to have a negative view of certain groups of people.
Each day, spend time in the real world interacting with people. Even if it’s just a simple ‘hello’ to the grocery store clerk or a quick chat with someone while walking your dog, this gets you out and experiencing the world for yourself. This way, it doesn’t have to be intimidating when you do return to work, look for a new job or venture out to meet people.
And, there’s one more place you should spend time in – nature!
Connect with Mother Nature
Don’t forget to spend time out in nature. Walk a trail and soak in the sights and sounds around you. Go fishing at a local pond or ride your bike through the paths in your neighborhood. The fresh air and Vitamin D will boost your mood, and the change of scenery will give you a new perspective on your problems.
Many of our clients tell us that being outdoors in nature reminds them of their greater purpose and helps them deal with their problems more effectively. When you isolate yourself indoors, your problems will feel bigger and you’re more likely to feel sorry for yourself.
Start Your Journey at Acceptance Recovery Center
Acceptance Recovery Center provides all of the tools needed to recover from a drug or alcohol addiction. Contact us today to learn more about our detox, counseling and aftercare programs. We take a whole-person approach to treating substance use disorders, allowing us to slowly transition our clients into society while having plenty of support.