Ah – St. Patrick’s Day — How Can You Still Enjoy the Festivities While in Recovery?

Ah - St. Patrick's Day -- How Can You Still Enjoy the Festivities While in Recovery Pathfinders Recovery Center - A green background with a wet four leaf clover lying on it to symbolize the celebration of St. Patrick's Day.

Celebrate Differently

When I entered recovery at Pathfinders, my idea of celebration, especially for St. Patrick’s Day, changed drastically.

Each holiday that comes up on the calendar seemed like an occasion to relapse, especially for well-known drinking holidays, like St. Patrick’s Day.

When I was newly sober I looked at each holiday as a battle.

I had to prepare myself accordingly and put in extra effort to keep myself in check.

The alcohol treatment program at Pathfinders gave me a lot of tools, yet I still felt anxiety.

Ah - St. Patrick's Day -- How Can You Still Enjoy the Festivities While in Recovery Pathfinders Recovery Center - A green background with a wet four leaf clover lying on it to symbolize the celebration of St. Patrick's Day.

Thanksgiving and Christmas were especially tough for me during my first year. Even with my family going out of their way to not trigger me, I was still terrified of relapsing.

When I got through those particular holidays unscathed, I thought I could breathe a sigh of relief.

Then I remembered St. Patrick’s Day.

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I feel like St. Patrick’s Day is probably the one holiday all of us in recovery have to be careful of. Preventing a relapse on St. Patrick’s Day is almost like winning the lottery. When you see many people wandering through the streets intoxicated, it can be a massive trigger. I remember when the months switched from February to March, I became increasingly nervous.

All I could think about was my behavior the year before. I made a complete jerk out of myself, and it was one of the driving factors toward me getting sober a few months later. I did what everyone else does that day. I went from bar to bar consuming green beer in between shots of whiskey.

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One thing I should mention is that I tended to be a mean drunk. I was one of those guys that you had to walk on eggshells around. I could be a lot of fun to drink with, but it didn’t take much for me to turn. I remember waking up the next day to text messages from two separate friends who were offended by my behavior.

I had made inappropriate comments about their significant others and had no memory of it. I thought they were being unreasonable. It wasn’t until months later that I started to take what people were telling me seriously. They all came up with the same conclusion. “Dude, you’re a horrible drunk.”

 

Ah - St. Patrick's Day -- How Can You Still Enjoy the Festivities While in Recovery Pathfinders Recovery Center - A group of individuals in recovery meets with an addiction therapist and their support group to offer advice to one another on how to celebrate St. Patrick's Day without risking their sobriety.

Talk it Out

So that next St. Patrick’s Day was scary for me. I stressed so much about what I was capable of doing. All I could think about was what could end up happening. Should I just lock myself in my house that day and not even go out? Should I check myself in somewhere? It was freaking me out. It got so bad that I considered relapsing weeks before St. Patrick’s Day just so I could get it out of the way and start all over.

I forgot all about the wonderful people around me who were there to help. One of the big things about recovery is talking things out. You have to talk about your feelings and let your temptations be known. Getting sober is in a lot of ways very much a group effort. Sometimes you are the one picking others up out of their despair, and sometimes you are the one that needs to be picked up.

The program at Pathfinders taught me that meetings are invaluable. The folks at Pathfinders have always been there to give me a hand. Sometimes I fail to recognize this. Even when you have a great team around you, you can still be pulled back into your previous thinking.

This year, I’ve tried hard to remind myself of what I have around me. I think about the people I would be letting down if I slip back into my old ways. I think about being a beacon for others. I don’t want to be a reason someone else has a relapse. I want to be the person you call. I try very hard to be positive for others, but I also understand I am fighting my own battle. You can be there for others, but you must always be there for yourself first.

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Finding the Right People

Pathfinders have done a wonderful job of setting me up with the right outlets. There are a lot of St. Patrick’s Day events that are specifically targeted at people in recovery, and they are not hard to find. First of all, the hotlines are your friend. A lot of sober hotlines now are 24/7, so you can reach out to someone whenever you feel the need. Not only do these hotlines provide a way for you to talk out your feelings, but they also provide you with resources and sober events local to you. These events are a great way to get out and socialize with like-minded people.

The more people I meet in recovery, the less alone I feel in the process. It almost always helps me to meet a new person going through this process. It reinforces to me that I’m a part of something bigger than myself. I plan on attending a couple of different sober parties on St. Patrick’s Day, and I have the same amount of enthusiasm for them as I used to have for the bars. I understand now that the sober version of me is so much more likable and approachable than the drunk version of me. It makes me feel a tremendous amount of confidence to be the best version of myself when I meet people. I also know that when I go to these sober events, I am meeting the new and improved versions of a lot of my peers.

It’s never a bad idea to be of service to other people. If you are comfortable being a designated driver for your friends who do drink, it can be a great help. Not only are you doing them a solid favor, but you are also preventing someone from getting behind the wheel drunk. You could be drastically altering the course of a lot of people’s evenings. I usually offer to be the DD whenever I know my friends may need it.

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Sometimes I don’t feel like doing it, but I always feel better about myself after the fact.

Whatever you decide to do on this holiday, keep in mind that being a help to others is an invaluable practice.

Being considerate goes a long way on the road to recovery.

How Can You Get Sober From Drugs?

How to Sober Up From Drugs

If you are addicted to illegal or prescription substances, you must know how to sober up from drugs.

That is the only way to get your life back on track and avoid severe or even fatal problems.

Even if you are not addicted, you may need help getter sober.

Why? Non-addicted drug abuse can also have a serious, negative effect on your life.

Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to sober up from drugs.

Professionals ranging from your personal doctor to addiction specialists have the knowledge needed to help.

With their guidance, you can regain your sobriety no matter how badly addiction affects you.

How Can You Get Sober From Drugs in a Safe Way? - Pathfinders - A man is shooting up heroin while he thinks about how you can get sober from drugs in a safe environment.

Drug Use and Drug Problems

Tens of millions of Americans use potentially addictive prescription medications. Most of these people follow their prescriptions and avoid problems. However, more than 16 million Americans misuse their medications. You can misuse a medication by taking it too often or in excessive amounts. You also take part in prescription drug misuse if you do things such as:

  • Use someone else’s medication
  • Crush you medication or do other things to speed up its effects

You are at risk for serious problems if you take any amount of an addictive street drug. Marijuana is the most common of these substances, even though this drug is now often legal to use. Other widely used street drugs include cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin.

If you are addicted to a prescription drug or street drug, you have a substance use disorder, or SUD. There are subtypes of SUD for each major drug category. For example, people addicted to amphetamines, methamphetamine or cocaine have a stimulant use disorder.

You can also be diagnosed with an SUD if you are not addicted. How is this possible? Even non-addicted drug abuse can seriously interfere with your ability to function. For this reason, such life-altering abuse is included in the substance use disorder definition

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Can You Tell If You Need Help

Is it possible to tell when you need to start thinking about how to sober up from drugs? Very often, the answer to this question is yes. You should certainly think about your drug use if you misuse an addictive prescription medication. You should also be concerned if you are involved in the use of addictive street drugs.

When doctors diagnose an SUD, they look for signs of addiction such as:

  • Loss of control over how often you use drugs, or how much you take
  • Reduced sensitivity to the effects of any given amount of drugs
  • Withdrawal symptoms that start if you cut back on drugs or stop taking them
  • A lifestyle built around drug use or related activities
  • Not being able to quit taking drugs after multiple attempts to break free

Signs of serious drug abuse include:

  • Going through social or relationship problems as a result of your drug use
  • Using drugs multiple times while doing something dangerous like driving
  • Taking enough drugs to be unable to keep up with your major obligations

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How to Sober Up From Drugs: First Steps

If you are wondering how to sober up from drugs, a common first step is talking to your personal physician. Today, many of these primary doctors have been trained to give drug screenings. Screenings serve several main purposes, including:

  • Assessing your level and pattern of drug use
  • Helping to determine whether you have an SUD
  • Determining how bad your symptoms are if an SUD is present
  • Helping your doctor guide you to the right resources for treatment

If you do not already have an SUD, you doctor may give you a brief intervention. That is the term for a short educational session about the dangers of your drug misuse. This session is designed to help you change and avoid developing diagnosable problems.

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How to Sober Up From Drugs: Drug Detox

If you have an SUD, you may need to enroll in drug detox, or detoxification, in order to get sober. Why? Detox provides a secure environment for people affected by addiction to stop using drugs. It also provides the medical expertise needed to safely make it through drug withdrawal.

What happens during detox? That depends on the drug or medication you are addicted to. There are specific detoxification options for substances such as:

  • A stimulant such as methamphetamine or cocaine
  • An opioid medication or street drug
  • An addictive tranquilizer or sedative

Everyone enrolled in a detox program receives care designed to keep them as healthy as possible. Some people also receive medication while going through the detox process.

How Can You Get Sober From Drugs in a Safe Way? - Pathfinders - An addiction therapist is comforting a patient who is looking for how you can get sober from drugs in a medical detox.

How to Sober Up From Drugs: Active Treatment

Completion of detox will leave you drug-free. However, this initial sobriety is not enough. To have a realistic chance at lasting sobriety, you must continue on to active drug rehab. Rehab helps you stay sober while you are still enrolled in treatment. It also teaches you techniques to remain sober once treatment comes to an end. Medication may be used as part of your rehab plan. Even if you do not receive medication, you will get crucial help from therapy or counseling.

What kinds of therapy will help you learn how to get sober from drugs and stay sober? Many options are available, including:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Family Behavior Therapy
  • Community Reinforcement
  • Contingency Management
  • 12-Step Facilitation

Your treatment team will match your therapy to your particular form of SUD.

 

Joining a Mutual Self-Help Group

It is common to join a mutual self-help group while still enrolled in rehab. In fact, the purpose of 12-step facilitation is to prepare you to join this kind of group. Self-help groups are beneficial because they allow you to establish peer relationships with others in recovery. These relationships provide extensive support for your long-term commitment to sobriety.

 

How To Sober Up From Drugs: Continuing Care or Aftercare

In detox and active treatment, you learn how to sober up from drugs. But this is not the end of your battle. You must also take appropriate steps to remain sober. A mutual self-help group will be a big plus. However, experts also recommend some form of continuing care or aftercare. This is the name for a follow-up program that gives you continued access to professional treatment. Continuing care will help you cope with the ups and downs of everyday life without returning to drug use.

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Learn More About How To Sober Up From Drugs

Learning how to get sober from drugs can be a major turning point in your life. In contrast, if you do not learn how to do this, you may find yourself trapped in addiction’s powerful grip. If you suspect that your drug use has gotten out of hand, today is the day to get help. Together, your primary doctor and addiction specialists will help you recover from even severe drug-related problems.

Have questions about how to sober up from drugs? Just turn to the professionals at Pathfinders. Our experienced staff will help you sort out exactly what you need to do to get started. And if you need to enroll in a drug treatment program, Pathfinders is standing by. No matter what kind of substance you are addicted to, you will find what you need in our full range of treatment services.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States – Results From the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health; Pages 15 and 20

https://www.campusdrugprevention.gov/sites/default/files/2019%20NSDUH.pdf

U.S. National Library of Medicine – MedlinePlus: Prescription Drug Misuse

https://medlineplus.gov/prescriptiondrugmisuse.html

American Psychiatric Association: What Is a Substance Use Disorder?

https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/addiction/what-is-addiction

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: A Guide to Substance Abuse Services for Primary Care Clinicians – Chapter 2: Screening for Substance Use Disorders

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64820/

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: A Guide to Substance Abuse Services for Primary Care Clinicians – Chapter 3: Brief Intervention

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64821/

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment – Physical Detoxification Services for Withdrawal From Specific Substances

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64116/#A85631

National Institute on Drug Abuse: Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment – A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition); Pages 39 -65

https://www.drugabuse.gov/sites/default/files/podat_1.pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64116/#A85631

Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment: Continuing Care – What We’ve Learned and Where We’re Going

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2670779/

How Can You Get Sober From Alcohol?

How to Become Sober

If you think that you have been drinking too much alcohol, you may wonder how to become sober.

This is a crucial question to ask since many heavy drinkers are either addicted or in danger of becoming addicted.

Even without being addicted to alcohol, your drinking may cause you serious harm.

In fact, over 14 million Americans have diagnosable alcohol abuse problems.

If you fit into this category, you are far from alone.

If your drinking is out of control, you may feel down about the chances of ever getting sober.

But, with expert advice and help, you can achieve this crucial goal.

Just keep reading to learn more about how to become sober if you have drinking problems.

How Can You Get Sober from Alcohol? - Pathfinders Recovery Center - A woman is questioning, "How can you get sober from alcohol?" as she sits at her counter with another glass of wine.

Alcohol Use and Alcohol Problems

In the typical month, slightly more than half of all Americans over the age of 12 drink alcohol. You have the highest chances of being a drinker if you are between the ages of 18 and 25. However, alcohol use is widespread across age groups.

Most people do not drink in ways that endanger their health. Still, millions of Americans either:

  • Binge on alcohol and end up drunk in a maximum of two hours’ time
  • Engage in a dangerous pattern of heavy drinking

Young adults are the most likely to binge drink. Adults over the age of 25 are the most likely to drink heavily. Both binging and heavy drinking boost your chances of developing alcohol use disorder, or AUD. This is the official name for an illness that includes both alcoholism and damaging, non-addicted alcohol abuse. Other things that can increase your risks for this disorder include:

  • Starting to drink when you are 14 or younger
  • The presence of mental illness
  • Having a history of any kind of serious trauma
  • Belonging to a family with a history of alcoholism or alcohol abuse

You can avoid developing AUD by reducing your alcohol use or quitting altogether. You can also recover from this illness if you are already affected.

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Determining If You Need Help

Can you tell on your own if the question of how to become sober applies to you? In many cases, yes. For example, it is relatively easy to tell if you are a binge drinker. If you have a pattern of getting drunk in no more than two hours, you fit this definition. It usually takes men five alcohol servings, or drinks, to reach this threshold. For the average woman, it takes just four drinks.

You can also tell if you have a pattern of drinking heavily. Men do this whenever they consume at least four alcohol servings, or drinks, in a single day. Women do this whenever they consume at least three alcohol servings in a single day.

If you are already affected by alcoholism, you may have symptoms that include:

  • An inability to control when and how much you drink
  • The need to drink in increasing amounts before you feel alcohol’s effects
  • Creating a routine that puts a priority on drinking or drinking-related activities
  • Having a history of unsuccessful attempts to quit using alcohol
  • Going through alcohol withdrawal if you stop drinking

If you are already affected by non-addicted abuse, you may be affected by things such as:

  • Work, home, or school problems related to your drinking
  • A level of drinking that damages your ability to maintain relationships
  • A habit of driving while drinking or doing similarly risky things

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How to Become Sober: First Steps

When thinking about how to become sober, one important question is where to begin. Experts recommend starting by speaking with your primary care physician. While not addiction specialists, these doctors are excellent initial resources. Specific things your primary doctor can do include:

  • Assessing your general health
  • Seeing if your current drinking behaviors place you at risk for alcohol problems
  • Giving you a brief intervention that helps you change your risky drinking
  • Checking to see if you already have diagnosable AUD symptoms
  • Helping you understand your options if you do have AUD
  • Directing you toward suitable treatment resources if you need help

How to Become Sober: Alcohol Detox

If you are addicted to alcohol, you will need to go through detox when your recovery begins. During this time, you stop drinking and withdraw from the alcohol still in your system. Alcohol withdrawal is potentially risky and has side effects ranging from minor to severe or life-threatening. For this reason, you should always go through detox under the guidance of medical professionals.

Many people in alcohol detox receive some kind of medication to make the process easier. All people in detox receive supportive care. That’s the name for comfort- and safety-enhancing actions such as:

  • Making sure your vital signs are stable
  • Helping you stay hydrated
  • Feeding you a nutritionally sound diet
  • Using supplements to offset any major nutritional deficiencies
  • Helping to ensure that you rest and sleep

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How to Become Sober: Active Treatment

The quest for stable sobriety goes far beyond detox. Once alcohol is out of your system, you must enter an active treatment program. People in high-quality alcohol rehab receive two main forms of help while in treatment. First, they receive medication designed to:

  • Make it easier to avoid a relapse back into drinking
  • Diminish the appeal of taking a drink
  • Undo some the damage that alcohol has done to your system

Modern alcohol rehab also includes some form of behavioral counseling or therapy. Several different therapy approaches are known to help during alcohol recovery, including:

  • CBT, or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Family counseling
  • Marriage counseling
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy

How Can You Get Sober from Alcohol? - Pathfinders Recovery Center - A group of individuals in residential rehab for alcoholism is discussing topics, such as: "How can you get sober from alcohol?"

Mutual Self-Help Groups

During and after treatment, enrollment in a mutual self-help group will also help you stay sober. The most famous drinking-related group is Alcoholics Anonymous. However, other options also exist. All self-help groups use a peer system to provide support and reinforce your commitment to sobriety.

How to Become Sober: Aftercare

When you complete treatment, you may no longer be asking how to get sober from alcohol. Instead, the pressing question becomes: How you can remain sober? For most people, a major factor in avoiding drinking is aftercare or continuing care. Aftercare programs keep you in touch with knowledgeable addiction specialists. In fact, help is often provided in a lower level of formal alcohol treatment. You can also support your efforts remotely with the help of smartphones, or computer sobriety apps.

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Learn More About How To Get Sober From Alcohol

If you suspect you have a drinking problem, you very well may be right. Or maybe someone else notices that you may have a problem. In either case, the best thing you can possibly do is seek help as soon as you can. Unless you take this critical step, you may be setting yourself up for major, damaging changes in your everyday life. No one should go through this kind of turmoil when professional help available.

A visit to your primary doctor will help determine if you are using alcohol in dangerous ways. It will also help determine if you currently have a diagnosable case of alcohol use disorder. If you do not have AUD, your doctor will help you avoid future problems. If you do have AUD, your doctor will help you get your recovery underway. Your path to sobriety will likely include detox, active treatment, and aftercare.

Have questions about how to become sober? The experts at Pathfinders will help you find the answers. Every day, we direct concerned drinkers toward resources that promote healthy change.

Pathfinders is also a top provider of treatment services for people with alcohol use disorder. Regardless of the seriousness of your AUD symptoms, our in-house programs will support your recovery. From detox to aftercare, we feature evidence-backed options for any situation.

Dating While Not Sober

Dating While Not Sober Pathfinders Recovery Center - A couple is recovery is no longer sober together as they binge drink beer at a restaurant, while the man has his head on the table.

Let’s talk about dating while not sober first.

I have plenty of experience.

I only had two relationships when I was sober.

One was my first boyfriend in high school.

The second is my current relationship.

The span in between was relationship after relationship founded on alcohol or other drugs.

As you probably know, you do not make the same decisions under the influence that you do while sober.

For me, that meant dating many people that I had nothing in common with except for alcohol.

I dated people that irritated me when I was sober.

Part of that irritation was due to a hangover.

But not all of it. I was often sober during the week.

I was the kind of drunk you would label as a “weekend warrior.”

A large part of it was that I did not like the person I had a relationship with.

Most importantly, you need to like yourself, and I did not for a long time.

It is essential to realize the mistakes you have made and learn from them.

People teach us lessons about ourselves.

Dating While Not Sober Pathfinders Recovery Center - A couple that relapsed and are now dating while not sober are arguing after they have indugled in quite a large amount of alcohol.

The Cheater

I still need to forgive myself for some of the harmful, hurtful people I let into my life.

One of the worst was a guy who ended up living with me for about six months. I met him through mutual drinking friends. He knew I had feelings for him, and he completely took advantage of that. He was sleeping with me the entire time while sleeping with at least two other women.

I was suspicious, but I was not one to snoop. I believed that if you trust someone, you should not snoop. When I did become suspicious, I felt bad kicking him out because he had a kid.

For him to have custody, he needed a place for his kid to come to safely. He was broke, so he could not afford an apartment.

I was getting more and more to the point where I wanted him out. I needed proof other than my gut feeling that something was off. He often used one of my old laptops. I got it out and logged onto Facebook. I did not have a Facebook account at that time, so his profile popped up right away. I decided to check his messages. The first thing I saw was all these messages to his new girlfriend, Katya.

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Starting to Wake Up

I was going to kick him to the curb.

But first, I was going to tell his new girlfriend who I was and what was going on. I reactivated my Facebook account, logged in, and emailed her immediately. She responded by chat. She said, “I can’t believe he would do this after saying he is in love with me and blah blah blah.” He said these same things to me at one point. Then, the conversation took a surprising turn. Katya informed me that another woman had reached out to her a week earlier, accusing him of cheating as well.

Katya also enlightened me that he said he hated my dog. If you knew my dog, you would think he was the biggest jerk to have ever walked this Earth. Trust me on this. Who could not love a pudgy, chill, and blue and white chihuahua? He is a rock star. So, to think this three-timing, no good, son of a… was taking advantage of me.

As I was chatting with her via messaging, I moved all of his stuff into the back hallway. I texted him to let him know his stuff was outback. His text back was something weird like, “Let’s have this out in person.” I had zero need to see him in person. There is nothing to discuss in this case. Trust me. I did see him one last time getting the stuff out of the back hallway. I had changed the locks after he left.

But, I still needed to get Katya’s keys from him to give her. I opened the back door and what I saw was the saddest, tall man with tears streaming down his eyes. He was like a kid caught with his hand in the candy jar. I almost felt sorry for him. But I could not. I told him he was pathetic and got Katya’s keys and slammed the door shut. Some people say that closure does not exist. I would say the moment where I shut the door in his face was the best closure I have ever experienced.

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Dating While Sober

I started to become aware of something after an experience with a cheater. I was grasping again at love. Grasping meant going through the same harmful patterns again and again. I was beginning to feel exhausted. I would never find someone real until I started to find myself.

Things did not change for me overnight. It took time and practice. The last two people I dated before I met my current partner were steppingstones. One was a realization that I did not want to date people who did drugs anymore. This person did, and I broke up with him. It felt good. It was the first time I thought about myself rather than the other person. Then, I met another person.
We drank the first few times we hung out and started dating. We also lived in different countries. We did a long-distance relationship, and then I moved to his country for a while. I was always irritated with him, even right before I left to go live with him.

I had barely seen him and almost broken up with him. The romantic version of myself that wanted to live in another country won over. It was a disaster. I was only there five months and left, for good.

 

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Dating While Not Sober Pathfinders Recovery Center - A couple is meeting with an addiction counselor to determine how to get back on the road to recovery after relapsing and now dating while not sober.

Sober Dating

After returning to the United States, I decided I needed more change to avoid making bad decisions. I decided to get sober. I was not drinking much, only once a week. But clearly, that was too much for me to get my life in order.

Around that time, I also lost my job. The rain came pouring down.
But my mentor Father Michael Pfleger says, “Storms run out of rain.” I walked through the storm of life on my own for a while. I was applying to jobs, deciding where to live, and taking care of myself. Every day, I would go on a walk. Life was simple. For the first time, I enjoyed the lack of excitement.

Constant moving and feeling like I had to prove something to someone were exhausting. I did not feel like moving at a fast pace anymore. I wanted to take the time to think things through.

I decided to work for a relative’s company while I was applying for jobs. The job was in New England. A small rural town. It sounded exactly like what I needed. The city had always triggered me to continue these negative patterns I was trying to quit. I did break loose.

I started to live a sober life. While sober, I had the control to say no to people I did not desire. Dating while sober meant taking care of myself and not going with an idea that did not serve my higher self. It did not mean that rejection did not hurt. I was able to handle it better and know that the feeling would pass.

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Love Yourself First

I started to put time into hobbies.

I put time into taking care of my body by exercising.

I read all the time.

I learned guitar.

I went on hikes and felt nature healing me.

I decided to stay.

It was only six months until I met my current partner.

We met through an event.

We began a sober relationship.

We hung out and got to know one another.

We had a lot in common.

I learned after months of dating that I enjoyed being around this person.

It did not happen overnight.

But because I was sober, I enjoyed the process at my own pace and moved forward as I felt.

We are still together; it will be two years in March 2021.

Dating sober is more about finding yourself than anything.

No matter who comes into your life, you will attract the person you deserve if you avoid dating while not sober.

A person who will honor you — rather than who you pretend to be while chugging your Miller High Life.

It is not that you will not have bad dates.

You will understand that they are a part of life, a passing moment like every other moment.

It will all be worth it to know yourself, to love yourself.

There is no love more important than the love you have for yourself.

No partner can fulfill that.

Dealing With Emotions In Early Sobriety

Early Recovery Can Be Hard

early-recovery-addiction
Early recovery is the beginning stages of the recovery process. Typically lasting at least through the first 90 days, early recovery is an emotional challenge as addicts navigate life without drugs or alcohol. Although everyone’s early recovery experience is unique, for most this readjustment period allows people to restart their lives, building a better, healthier and sober way of living.

Early recovery can feel like an emotional rollercoaster with all the ups and downs that can arise. This is not surprising for people that have felt numb for so long and can be extremely difficult on a day to day basis. That’s why emotional sobriety is also a key factor in early recovery. What is the definition of emotional sobriety? Emotional sobriety is the ability to cope with the many emotions that come with physical sobriety. It means being able to handle your feelings head on in a positive and productive way. Many addicts have a difficult time acknowledging and understanding how they feel, turning to alcohol and drugs instead. Emotional sobriety helps people stay in recovery no matter the circumstance.

If you or a loved one are experiencing anything like this, don’t worry, it is normal and there is hope. Here are some of the causes and some tips that help us get through these times. We hope you find this as beneficial as we do.


Early Recovery Can Be Hard

Some examples of emotions in early recovery that may come up are:

  • shame and guilt over past actions
  • anger over the past, or fear over the future
  • remorse or self-hatred, resentment towards yourself or others

Usually these come up as a result of having to face our past, while being present for our current emotional state after a history of numbing emotion. Physical detox also plays a major role in these emotions early in recovery.

Can quitting alcohol or drugs lead to depression? The withdrawal symptoms that are associated with detox can lead to some depression and anxiety-like symptoms. However, these are temporary and ease as the detox and recovery process continues.

On the flip side, some emotions that can emerge might be over excitement, over confidence, feeling “high on life” and sobriety.


Being Led By Emotions

This (being led by emotions) is dangerous for recovery for multiple reasons. If you feel poorly all the time and don’t take any action to better your mental and spiritual state, temptation may arise and you may not have a defense against the first dose or drink. On the other hand, over confidence and positive feelings can be a way to avoid reality or facing your past. It can also cause you to be much less motivated to take the actions to maintain your recovery. For instance, it’s extremely easy to avoid meditation, going to meetings, calling a sponsor, prayer, working with a therapist and making a daily honest self-appraisal when everything feels fine and dandy. Relapse can creep up on you. A lot of times people don’t see it coming and relapse during a time when they “feel like everything is going really well”.

The truth is being an addict is hard and it’s difficult to get sober. Many sober men and women I have interviewed say the same thing in regard to this…” getting sober is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, and not a day goes by that I regret getting sober” seems to be the general consensus.


Some Tips To Help You Get There:

Find a therapist : This is a big help in continuing to grow and learn how to deal with your emotions.  There are some other great tips about developing a network and a happy lifestyle here in another article we wrote.  This can help in discovering specific emotional difficulties and developing coping mechanisms to deal with situations that can and most likely will arise.

Be gentle with yourself: This is so hard for us as addicts, but utterly important.  To this day, I constantly remind myself that I am a work in progress and a human that has flaws and will make mistakes.  My mantra is “Rome was not built in a day” and “I had to crawl before I could walk, and I had to walk before I could run”.  Affirmations can help.  I have found the most comfort in being open with my support network about the things that are going on with me.  They can offer much needed connection and feedback that is unbiased if I have a healthy A-Team.

Practice mindfulness: Another thing that myself and most of the addicted people I have worked with suffer with is honest self-appraisal.  It’s very easy to fall into negative thinking patterns and not even realize it is happening until it is too late.  Taking a daily time to reflect on how things are going will change your life.  Once you identify issues you can begin to work on them and get better.

Be Playful: This suggestion may seem silly, and well…that is because it is.  Go do something fun with people.  Go shoot pool, go bowling, go for a hike, go camping, go swimming, go to an amusement park.  This might seem like a strange thing to be reading in this article and that’s not far from the truth…just try it and you can thank us later.


What are the Stages of Recovery from Addiction?

There are many stages of recovery from addiction and every individual works through them at their own pace. Because everyone’s recovery journey is unique, there is no telling how long it may take a person to work through the many phases. Early recovery involves many of the beginning stages and is the most difficult part of the process for many. Typically the stages include pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance and termination. People tend to believe that they do not need to change their lifestyle, then begin to realize a change is necessary, and finally set an intent to find information and resources about recovery. Next, the individual begins to put his or her plans in action and finally maintain this new lifestyle while closing the chapter of addiction in their life.


Contact Us

Pathfinders Recovery Center
Scottsdale, AZ
pathfindersaz.com
info@pathfindersrec.wpengine.com
(855) 728-4363

*This blog post was authored by Lawrence Briggs, Director of Operations at Pathfinders Recovery Center. Ph: 480.320.0752

Please call anytime and speak with one of our founders directly. We answer the phone ourselves any day and anytime. Thank you for reading and until next time, show yourself some love. You deserve it.