Early sobriety is a time of new beginnings. No matter your age when you decide to get sober, it is a time where you finally begin to get to know yourself. Through work with your counselors, your support group, and your sponsor, you will begin to grow and change. You will take on new adventures and experience things you never thought possible.
While early sobriety can bring about new opportunities and excitement, there may be times you find yourself feeling very lonely. And, why wouldn’t you? You had to break away from old friends and associates, maybe even family. You had to say goodbye to your best friend of all, your drug of choice. It makes sense to feel alone in the beginning. You walk out of treatment and are left with a void that your chemical once filled. Unfortunately, there will come a time when the silence becomes overwhelming and for some newcomers, they tend to lean in a direction that isn’t always conducive for recovery.
Many times, those in early sobriety are tempted to jump into relationships, often with another “newcomer”. This can prove to be foolish and dangerous for both parties. Firstly, distractions are the last thing you need at this moment. In early sobriety, the main focus should be centered on laying a solid foundation for continued sobriety. Without that, you leave yourself vulnerable to relapse.
Many times when a “newcomer” enters into a relationship, they wind up devoting all of their time and attention to that other person. Codependency is a huge issue for many of us. Our feelings, actions and everyday life is centered on and around that person. If they are happy, so are we. If they are upset, we are too. Like the drugs and alcohol, now they dictate our lives. Additionally, if and when that relationship comes to an end, the newcomer is left feeling alone once more. Only this time, it hurts a little more, because there are no chemicals to numb the pain. More often than not, because the fundamental work was not done in the beginning and their coping skills are lacking, if at all apparent, this individual will turn back to the one thing that will make them feel better; their drug of choice.
“Old timers” in the program, as well as addiction counselors and other professionals, recommend that you do not make any major changes for at least the first year of sobriety. That also includes individuals who are in relationships or married before they enter recovery. Unless you’re in a toxic or abusive relationship or your significant other also abuses drugs and/or alcohol, the same rule applies. No major changes!
The first year is significant, because once again it is where you really learn who you are. The morals and values you once devalued will begin to be rebuilt. You’ll begin to learn healthy coping techniques to deal with stressful situations and learn to create healthy boundaries. Often times, we do not even realize that changes need to be made or work needs to be done on ourselves, until after the fact. Hindsight is always 20/20.
As you grow from a shell of a person, into the person you were always meant to be, you’ll realize the things that were once important to you, no longer matter. You will evolve into a new person, with new values and different opinions. You’ll begin to love yourself again, and when that happens, your ideals for a partner will change.
We come into early sobriety with a ton of baggage. Most of us are filled with shame, fear, insecurities, resentments and bad behaviors. There are so many things we need to take care and fix. The wreckage of your past will catch up with you, and you’ll need the time and energy to clean that up. Whether it be legal obligations, employment issues, rebuilding family relationships, maybe even regaining custody of a child, you’ll want to focus your attention on your early sobriety and those things. Often times, the only people we attract in that stage are people in the same boat. Usually, we attract what we are. As the saying goes, “Water seeks its own level.” When we enter into a relationship with another newcomer, we welcome more stress and possibly more toxicity into our lives. Do not bite off more than you can chew.
Eventually, you will be ready to share your life with another person, but for now, give yourself a break. Give yourself time. Time to heal, to live, and to really understand who you are and what you want from life.
Contact Clearbrook Today
For more than 40 years, Clearbrook has been treating those afflicted with alcoholism and drug addiction. We believe strongly in the abstinent-based approach to recovery, and through utilizing the 12 steps of A.A., we have watched many recover from the disease of addiction.
If you or someone you love is struggling, do not hesitate to contact us. Our Admissions Specialists are available 24 hours a day.