Deciding to get sober is a big first step, but making it through the first month in recovery is a different story. Early recovery from alcoholism is a challenging time. Not only will you undergo several physical and mental changes, but it can seem like your entire world is turned upside down.
Challenges in the First Month of Recovery from Alcohol
Besides the difficulties that come with the first month of getting sober, many people struggle with not knowing what to expect. This uncertainty can lead to anxiety and may even cause people to avoid getting help. Instead of letting the fear of the unknown keep you from getting sober, here’s what you should expect your first month in recovery.
The worst part about the first month sober is the battle with withdrawal. An alcohol detox program is an imperative first step of recovery, and with it comes a mix of unavoidable physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms. Generally, these symptoms will become less severe as the month goes on, but they may include shaking, sweating, nausea, vomiting, anxiety, disorientation, and more. Because these symptoms can be severe for some people, medical supervision like at our drug detox center in Illinois is recommended.
Early recovery is often a roller coaster ride of different emotions. You should expect to experience agitation, irritability, depression, anxiety, happiness, and more during your first month of sobriety, as you navigate the ups and downs of this difficult time and your body adjusts. The more time that passes, the more your emotions will even out, and you will feel back in control.
Along with changes in emotions and your mental state, after one month sober, many people report physical changes as well. During this time, you may experience weight changes, decreased blood pressure, a boost in your immune system, and an increase in your metabolism. Your risk of certain cancers and other health problems also goes down, and you may even be able to reverse some of the damage that alcohol caused.1 Overall, many people report feeling healthier after their first month of sobriety.
Changes in Sleep
Although many alcoholics struggle with sleep disturbances before they get treatment, the first month of sobriety may be even worse. Researchers estimate that anywhere from 25 to 72% of patients in alcohol abuse treatment will report dealing with sleep problems in recovery that may include insomnia, sleep apnea, and nightmares.2 In many cases, recovering alcoholics will also report dreaming about drinking. Unfortunately, it may take several months for these sleep disturbances to go away.
Cravings & Triggers
Being sober for a month is a huge accomplishment because the first month is usually filled with strong cravings for alcohol, and it may feel like triggers are everywhere. You should expect to experience regular cravings that can be overwhelming at first. Because many people will give in to theses cravings, residential treatment can help eliminate temptation and prevent relapse.
Withdrawal may include confusion and disorientation, but after one week sober, these symptoms should start to decrease in severity. Over time, many people report that this confusion is replaced by more mental clarity as the brain starts to recover from the damage that alcohol has caused.3
Although the first month of sobriety tends to be the most challenging, it gets easier as time goes on, and getting sober is well worth it. Drinking is getting in the way of your life, and once you get over a lot of the initial ups and downs of recovery, you will find that your overall well-being and life improve.
At Banyan Heartland, we are here to help you with not only your first month sober, but well beyond. Call us now at 888-280-4763 to get started.
- NIH- Alcohol's Effects on the Body
- SAMHSA - Treating Sleep Problems of People in Recovery From Substance Use Disorders
- WebMD- Fog of Alcoholism Clears With Sobriety
How to Combat Negative Thinking in Addiction Recovery