What is the Hardest Part About Staying Clean?

When you choose to detox in a professional rehab facility, getting sober can actually be quite easy. Far different from facing the overwhelming symptoms of withdrawal alone at home, inpatient detox is often fairly trouble-free. Many treatment centers customize their detox support from start to finish. Patients receive medications and other forms of needs-specific intervention from the moment they arrive. With this help, they’re able to enjoy deep and restful sleep, restored feelings of motivation and happiness, and renewed appetites for both food and life.

What may be surprising is that remaining sober can be a lot more challenging than getting that way. If you’re starting the path to recovery, you may want to know what the hardest part of staying clean is. The challenges that people face in their efforts to maintain sobriety are often incredibly personal. For many recovering addicts, finding engaging, healthy, and fulfilling ways to fill their time is important. Absent of drugs and alcohol, and absent of the people who they once regularly indulged with you, life can initially seem boring.

The good news is that feelings of malaise, hopelessness, boredom, and general fatigue are actually a normal part of the recovery process. These are common, psychological withdrawal symptoms that usually appear after all of a person’s physical symptoms have abated. They are a sign that the brain is working to heal itself from the ravages of substance abuse. Best of all, they won’t last forever.

Common Challenges to Staying Clean

If you surveyed a room full of recovering alcoholics or drug users and asked what the hardest part of staying sober is, you’d probably get a variety of drastically different answers. The challenges of addiction recovery can be just as unique as the individual. Much like boredom and malaise, they can also be part of withdrawing and healing from substance use, and only capable of lasting for a limited amount of time. There are, however, a few difficulties that most people will face early-on in the recovery process. Addiction is a long-term illness that must be managed. It is not a curable condition and thus, it’s one that you’ll have to mitigate for the rest of your life.

Part of your mitigation efforts will include permanently removing yourself from toxic or high-risk environments and relationships. If you have close friends who use drugs or who drink heavily, and who have no intention of stopping, you may need to maintain your distance from them. Constantly exposing yourself to temptation in order to preserve these relationships could have devastating consequences. Once you exit your addiction treatment, you may not be able to return to your favorite bar, or any other places that you used to frequent while using. Putting yourself in close quarters with active drug users or with easy access to drugs is definitely not a good idea.

Having to make a number of drastic changes in your social circle and your normal social habits can be hard. The best way to deal with these changes is by replacing lost social connections with brand new ones. Making new friends, forming new interests, and discovering new and healthier places to spend your time are all great ways to avoid relapse while making the most of your newfound sobriety.

Admitting to an Ongoing Need for Addiction Support

Over-confidence is an incredibly common stumbling block for those in addiction recovery. Successfully completing several months in addiction treatment can make people feel as though they’re ready to conquer the world. Unfortunately, the more confident in their ability to abstain that recovering addicts become; the more likely they are to stop taking advantage of ongoing support services. With too much confidence, or when feeling like their addictions have been “cured”, people may stop:

  • Attending sober meetings
  • Participating in support groups
  • Practicing diligent management of co-occurring disorders
  • Staying in touch with accountability partners or sober sponsors
  • Attending therapy

Despite feeling good about themselves, these individuals have actually entered the very first stage of relapse. Recognizing over-confidence as being a problem and resuming the use of outside support services is essential for turning the tide.

Learning New Ways to Cope

For many people, drug and alcohol use is a means for coping with sadness, grief, trauma, stress, and other negative emotions and experiences. Although you might not crave drugs or alcohol for quite some time after getting clean, you may be tempted to use after a major argument, after having a problem on the job, or after facing a significant financial setback. This is why addiction treatment frequently includes stress management activities and workshops, and long-term life-planning services.

With life-planning support, recovering addicts can avoid common barriers to recovery such as housing instability and joblessness. Learning stress management techniques makes people more adept at fielding the challenges of life without being tempted to use. Addiction treatment programs also devote significant amounts of time to teaching people new and healthier ways for coping with physical and emotional discomfort. If you’re ready to start addiction treatment and want to find the best and most needs-specific program for you, we’re here to help. Call us now at 772-934-6580.