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What to Expect in Your First Month of Sobriety

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first month of sobriety

The first month of sobriety is usually the most challenging. You’ve made a huge change. Your body and mind need time to adjust to that change. This change comes with both physical and emotional struggles…but they are struggles you can overcome.

Knowing what to expect can empower you in your first 30 days of sobriety from alcohol.

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Your First Three Days

first month of sobrietyThese first few days will probably be the hardest physically. The first 72 hours is when withdrawal symptoms hit and are at their peak. Symptoms vary depending on the severity of the addiction and other personal health factors, but it’s common to experience:

  • Sweating
  • Increased heartrate
  • Tremors
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Agitation and anxiety

Severe symptoms include hallucinations (i.e., seeing, feeling, or hearing sensations that don’t match reality) and seizure activity, including delirium tremens (DT).

As these symptoms hit, it might be tempting to start drinking or using other substances to relieve the symptoms.

In detox treatment, your provider may prescribe medication to reduce the severity of your symptoms and reduce the risk of medically significant complications.

Your First Week

During the first week of sobriety, the concentration of alcohol in your body is rapidly decreasing. In addition to physical withdrawal symptoms, you will experience mental and emotional withdrawal.

You may feel relieved and refreshed one minute and anxious or depressed the next. An emotional roller coaster ride is normal.

In this first week, the main goal is to handle your symptoms in productive ways. Learn new coping strategies. Create new day-to-day routines. Urges to return to old habits can hit hard in these early days of sobriety, so you need a plan in place to deal with them.

If you enter formal detox, you will stay in treatment for a minimum of one week, but you may stay there for the full first month of sobriety.

Your Second Week

In week two of sobriety, the physical effects of withdrawal typically fade. The challenge this week is more mental and emotional. To resist urges, it’s important to remember why you started this journey two weeks ago. Make mini goals to start working toward. Give yourself something to accomplish each day to keep moving forward on a healthy path.

You may still struggle with sleep issues at this point, so you’ll need to do things that will help you get better rest, such as:

  • Good sleep hygiene—Develop a routine and follow recommendations such as not using electronics right before bed
  • Low-impact physical activity—Mild physical activity, such as short walks, can improve sleep
  • Relaxation techniques—Anything that helps you relax from a bath to a structured relaxation technique like meditation may help you sleep more easily

You should also get help. If you are not already in an addiction treatment program, you still have options. Join a peer support group, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or SMART Recovery. See a therapist. Reach out to friends and family. Don’t try to do this alone.

Your Third Week

In week three, the mental challenges start hitting hard. Your body has made the adjustment to sobriety, but your mind still needs to catch up. You may start to think this isn’t worth it. You may experience intense moods and mood swings. Anger and agitation are common.

Take note of your emotions. Research indicates that bottling up your emotions, isolating yourself, and ignoring your own needs can be part of emotional relapse.

Your Fourth Week

first month of sobrietyAt week four, you need to be prepared for a bit of “sensory overload.” Drugs and alcohol damage your ability to process sensations and information. This “dulling” effect is one of the reasons many people get addicted—an attempt to escape reality.

At the end of your first week of sobriety, the toxins of alcohol are gone, and information starts to flood into your mind and body. Everything you were trying to block and didn’t know was being blocked floods in. It can be overwhelming.

It’s normal to experience noise sensitivity, migraines, increased restlessness, and depression at this point.

If you start to get overwhelmed with the surge of sensations, keep in mind that this is temporary. Your body and brain are once again adjusting to sobriety, and you’ll start to feel more balanced over time.

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The Bottom Line

The first month of sobriety is tough. But the challenges are worth the rewards. The choices you make in these first 30 days can transform your life and set you firmly on a new path.

Alcohol addiction treatment can be a critical part of making it through your first month of sobriety and empowering yourself to continue making recovery-focused choices.

Call 800-948-8417 Question iconCalls are forwarded to these paid advertisers now to learn more about the alcohol addiction treatment options available in your area.

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