Whether you entered a rehab treatment facility or you are working your sobriety through 12-step meetings, the first 90 days is difficult. This time is a crucial time in anyone’s sobriety. For most, “coming to” in sobriety is an emotionally intensive and frightening process. Finally facing the fears and guilt that has kept you using for so long can be overwhelming. This is why it is important to know what you will experience and how to navigate your first 90 days of sobriety.
The Big Awakening
So you have decided to quit your drug of choice. Next will inevitably come many feelings, both emotional and physical. Deciding to make a change in life is difficult, and addiction amps it up by a thousand. Life has been hard. You have most likely had the biggest part in making it so. But now, you are going to do something about it. Here is what to expect.
There is a period of time for everyone who gets sober in which they go through withdrawal. Withdrawal is when your body tries to reset itself from a foreign substance. Whether you are going through a medically safe detox or doing it on your own, you will most likely suffer some sort of withdrawal. Different drugs cause different withdrawal effects. Even if you do not experience the physical symptoms of withdrawal that could include shaking, sweating, nausea, or migraine, the psychological effects can be pretty rough. Although most people associate severe withdrawal with abstinence, there is a varying degree of withdrawal that everyone endures when grieving the loss of drugs and alcohol that can come through in both mental and physical symptoms.
You have probably noticed that most of your relationships have been damaged due to your drinking and/or substance abuse. Even though you might not have meant to hurt them, the fact remains that damage has been done. People who seem disappointed in your actions and your words could cause feelings of shame and guilt when you are around them. Additionally, there may be feelings of hurt when people appear skeptical of your sobriety because of your past conduct. These, and many others, could cause you to relapse if you feel like you are the black sheep or not supported by your loved ones even though you have stopped drinking or using. The main thing to consider in your first 90 days is that even though you are doing your very best to rectify your behavior, healing takes time. Working the 12 steps, participating in individual and/or group therapy, and participating in a community can help to transform you into the person that you were meant to be. Although you may be getting sober to improve your relationships, you must do it for yourself first and foremost and everything else will follow.
Most likely your self-worth and confidence took a huge hit when you were in your addiction. Drugs and alcohol lower inhibitions and have probably caused you to do some demoralizing things that you would never attempt sober. When your addiction took ahold of you and you could not stop what you were doing due to the obsession of the mind that told you that you are not drunk or high enough. This causes people to do and say things that are completely against their normal character. The point is to remember that these were mistakes of the past. Your main focus now is the new life you are attempting. Remembering what you did while you were drinking and using can cause you to continuously beat yourself up in sobriety. The good news is that a good recovery program and community can help you resolve the feeling you have towards your degrading behaviors. Everyday that you stay sober, and begin to give back to the world, is a day that builds more self-worth. A key component in helping me see that I wasn’t the worst person in the world was going to meetings to relate to others who also feel the way I felt. Hearing other’s stories that I could relate to showed me that I wasn’t alone. This feeling of belonging, or lack thereof, is what leads many to addiction in the first place. What a beautiful find when you find it.
The first 90 days in sobriety is important to build a solid foundation in your recovery. If you relapse now you will end up right where you left off in your addiction. When you first got sober, you were desperate to be where you are right now at this very moment. Keep going and you will reap the benefits one day at a time.