When reading about the journey to sobriety, there’s no doubt that the benefits are clearly laid out. More self-confidence. A better attitude. Happiness from within. Leading a sober life is the ultimate goal for recovering addicts, but that doesn’t mean that getting there is easy. Being honest about what recovery entails is not meant to scare addicts away from taking this path but to inform them that recovery isn’t always easy, or black-and-white for that matter. There will be ups and downs, good days and bad days. But, by working toward the end result of being sober, you will eventually get there and find true happiness and contentment.
Here, four things that people don’t tell you about getting sober.
1. You have to deal with problems head-on.
How have you dealt with bad days? Family drama? Work issues? By drinking. You have a bad day at work or a fight with your girlfriend, and you come home, drink 10 beers and pass out. When you stop drinking, however, you must learn to cope with these problems in other ways, and this is very difficult. It takes time to learn how to handle life’s sorrows, especially when something big happens like illness or death.
This is where holistic therapies make a difference, and why The River Source is conducive to holistic healing. Instead of just stopping the alcohol use, you learn healthy coping mechanisms to deal with everyday stressors. Meditation, journaling, yoga and nature walks are great ways to connect with yourself and work through a bad day. Over time, this will get easier, but in the beginning, it’s hard work.
2. It’s difficult to sleep.
Falling asleep becomes very difficult when you quit drinking. Chances are, you drank heavily many nights and ended up passing out, which for alcoholics, is the same as falling asleep. But now, you must fall asleep on your own, even when your brain is still active. And once you do fall asleep, it’s very common to have nightmares. Your brain is so used to having alcohol, it goes into a panic-like mode. Even when the brain and body have been detoxed and sleep patterns become more normal, it’s common for recovering addicts to have recurring nightmares of falling off the wagon.
Again, using natural therapies like meditation and journaling before bed can be effective at clearing the mind. During the 12 Steps, you will also learn about letting go, and living life one day at a time. Knowing that you don’t have control over tomorrow or the next day will also help you sleep better over time.
3. You become moody and irritable.
When you’re body is detoxing, it’s going through many changes. First, you don’t have the security blanket of booze anymore, and that’s scary. How will you handle a bad day? How will you have fun? How will you unwind after work? Second, you’re mentally and physically exhausted. You’re not sleeping well, and this leads to a lack of focus and mood changes. Don’t be surprised if you’re extremely agitated and irritable.
Having a strong support network is helpful when dealing with your unpredictable moods. They understand what you’re going through and will do their best not to push your buttons. Being in a treatment center is conducive to this type of support, and all residents and staff will get what you’re going through. Thankfully, The River Source makes withdrawal comfortable by giving our residents Nutritional IV Therapy and Dry Sauna Detox to pump up the body with healthy nutrients.
Once the body has been detoxed and you get real food into the body, you will start to feel great. This feeling is so wonderful, you’ll know right there and then that you don’t want to go back to alcohol – ever. Unfortunately, this initial reaction won’t last for long, even though you may want it to stay this way. The realities of life will trickle back in, and you will feel tempted to use again.
Drinking doesn’t make you an alcoholic; there is a part in the brain that is responsible for your addictive nature. This part of the brain doesn’t go away, which means alcoholism as a disease never goes away either. Alcohol, then, becomes a symptom and a way of self-medicating the disease.
It’s difficult to come to terms with the fact that a stay in a treatment center is not going to cure addiction, and that instead, this is something you have to live with. But, being honest is the best way to achieve sobriety and continue on this path. If you know that you always have to work hard to stay sober, you will be more effective in keeping yourself out of harmful environments and tempting situations. And, you can also be proud of each sober day that YOU have made possible.