The Sober Life: What to Expect in the First 30 Days

man looking into sunset

Getting sober could be the biggest and best decision you ever make. Generally speaking, we have to be in a great enough amount of pain in order to finally take those steps toward change.

Once we take the first step into our new sober lives, we often feel terrified, unsure, and reluctant. For many of us, we avoid trying sobriety because we fear the unknown.

Chaos has been our reality for so long, we’re not sure how a normal, sober life will go. That’s why it’s best for you to know exactly what to expect in the first 30 days of your new sober life.

Balance of emotions

It might not be surprising that when you first get sober your emotions will be all over the place. Alcohol and drugs numb our emotions and it’s possible you haven’t actually felt them in years. That’s why it can seem overwhelming when we no longer use substances to numb our pain and emotions.

It will take some time for your emotions to balance out and with that, you’ll be feeling a lot of different things. Expect to cry, get mad, mourn your relationship with drugs and alcohol, and at the same time feel relieved and happy.

If you can stick it out through those first 30 days of emotions, it will get easier.

A change in physical state

You won’t just feel differently emotionally, you’ll also begin to see a change in your physical appearance and well-being. After detoxification is complete, your body should start learning how to function at its most efficient capacity without drugs and alcohol.

After 30 days of sobriety, the fog starts to clear from your brain and you finally feel like yourself again.

This means you’ll feel more energetic, sleep better, and you won’t be fighting hangovers and other physical symptoms of drinking and drugs.

Drunk dreams

I know this term doesn’t sound pleasant, and it’s not. It’s not uncommon for people in early sobriety to experience a phenomenon called drunk dreams, or relapse dreams. This means that you’ll wake up after feeling like you drank or used in a dream.

These dreams can sometimes feel extremely real, or other times might just be a fleeting thought of your former life. When I first got sober I used to have drunk dreams almost every night.

It took over 30 days for my brain to adjust to the cadence of my new sober life.

Drunk dreams can be scary because it feels like our mind is playing tricks on us. It is a sobering reminder that our disease is powerful and always present.

Remember, in the end, they are just dreams and don’t affect your current reality. The frequency of drunk dreams seems to fade as you acquire more sober time.

Information and sensory overload

Much like our emotions, the first 30 days of sobriety come with a ton of information and sensory overload. Drugs and alcohol not only numb our emotions, but they damage our brains and senses too.

During my first months of sobriety, I was overwhelmed with the ripe scents of everyday environments, the beautiful sights of nature, and the loudness of music and social scenes. Places and things that I had seen or heard before became more intense for me.

While drinking and using, it’s hard for the brain to process and save vital information.

In your first 30 days of sobriety, expect to be flooded with knowledge and experiences that will flood your senses.

The good news is, this is manageable and becomes balanced with more time.

It may seem overwhelming at first, but in sobriety, you’ll learn new tools to become better at handling your emotions and experiences. You’ll be able to tackle life on life’s terms.

Your first 30 days of sobriety may be extremely difficult, but one thing is for sure, it’s worth it. The discomfort you initially feel at the beginning of your new sober life is the gateway to a life beyond your wildest dreams. Have patience and confidence in the fact that you’ve made the best decision for you and your future.

Sobriety will change your life in every way imaginable.


Written by: Kelly Fitzgerald