My first year of recovery was one in which I felt every emotion under the sun – fear, anger, confusion, happiness, pride, frustration. You name it, I felt it.
In this first year I never knew what each day would bring, but day by day I eventually made it to one year of sobriety. Through that year, I learned quickly that I needed to do certain things and avoid others if I wanted to stay sober.
Here are 7 mistakes to avoid making in your first year of sobriety.
1. Isolating yourself.
Sure, maybe you don’t want to go to raging parties, and that is understandable. But that doesn’t mean you should never be social or avoid spending time with friends. Being alone can be just as dangerous as being at a huge party with drinking. Isolating yourself can lead to feelings like loneliness and self-pity which can result in deciding to drink to alleviate those feelings.
2. Being overly confident.
If you don’t think you can handle being around someone who is drinking, be honest about it – with yourself and with others. Trust me, you’d rather be safe than sorry. Wait until you feel certain that you can handle being around drinking without partaking. You will thank yourself for it later, and your true friends will understand.
3. Surrounding yourself with the same people and places as when you were drinking.
This seems like a common sense statement, but some people think they can jump right back into the same life they were living when drinking and stay sober. And maybe some people can. But it’s important to really think through the risks involved with returning to your normal life immediately after getting sober. It’s not always the best decision and needs to be thought through.
4. In some cases, dating.
I didn’t really follow this rule, but I do understand why it’s recommended to avoid relationships in your first year of sobriety. First, focusing on yourself is important, and can be hard to do if you are immersed in someone else. And second, if relationships end badly it can be all the more tempting to say “screw it” and start drinking.
5. Caring what others think about your sobriety.
This was my biggest battle in the first year of my sobriety. I wanted to keep it a secret that I was in rehab and had stopped drinking. I was afraid people would make fun of me, or think I was being overly dramatic. Once I stopped caring, it was so freeing. Plus it showed me who really loved and supported me in my life, no matter my choices.
6. Keeping secrets.
I have a friend who likes to say “Secrets keep you sick.” In other words, being honest and upfront makes life a lot healthier and a lot easier. Nothing is as freeing as admitting that you are struggling and need help. It’s hard, yes, but it pays off. Keeping secrets in general is a stressful way of living. This doesn’t mean you have the right to run around telling the cold, hard truth about everything in life, to the point that you are hurtful. It just means that you should be honest and forthcoming in situations that involve yourself.
7. Immersing yourself in sobriety-related activities and neglecting the rest of your life.
Some people get sober and immediately get sucked into their new way of life. While good in a way, this can also be dangerous. Living and breathing sobriety isn’t healthy for anyone. You should have other passions and hobbies, too. Figure out what works for you and your sobriety, but don’t make your entire life revolve around it. Life is about balance, and so is staying sober.
Are you ready to be sober and live a life of freedom? Contact the Orlando Recovery Center today.
Written by: Beth Leipholtz