Getting clean and entering recovery is hard; if it were easy then everyone would be doing it. The first year can feel unbearable if you’re not doing it for the right reasons. However, if you truly want to get clean and sober, each little milestone will make you feel like you are unbeatable and can accomplish anything you set your mind to.
I’m sure you’ve heard the slogans about how it takes honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness. But what does that actually mean? We’ve broken down three achievable goals to help you excel through your first year of sobriety after you leave an addiction treatment program.
1. Find a Safe Place to Live
This may sound simple and obvious, but stability and security are two very important things to have when you’re working on turning your life around. It’s an important goal in early sobriety to have a home that you can see yourself staying at for more than a couple weeks or months. It’s comforting to know you have a place of your own to go home to.
Many people in early recovery choose to stay in a sober-living home, or halfway house until they’ve really laid a solid foundation mentally and emotionally. When choosing a sober-living home, don’t just go with the one that your friends from your treatment center are going to. A good halfway house should have:
- Structure — A good management or owner team should make it easy to communicate with them and they should be clear with the rules that are set in place. Rules should be made very evident, and they should stay consistent.
- Random Drug Testing — If you really want to stay clean and sober, drug testing should always be random. If you know you’re going to have a urinary analysis every Wednesday, you could con your way around it. It’s a good sign if the sober home has strict policies on failed drug tests.
- Safety — You should feel safe where you live. You should feel safe leaving your belongings at home while you’re not there. You can typically catch a vibe on this pretty quickly.
If you choose to live on your own, make sure you’re in a safe area where people from your support system are close by. If you are a part of a 12-step fellowship, try and find a home that isn’t too far away from your homegroup and other meetings that you enjoy. You will be amazed at the sense of pride of fulfillment you’ll experience when you are able to start paying your own bills, keeping your utilities turned on, and gathering matching furniture pieces!
2. Find a Job That Makes You Happy
I understand you’re fresh out of rehab and you have rent to pay! You’ve just been out of work for at least a month (let’s face it — there’s a good chance you were out of work for a bit longer), and you’re expected to pay rent immediately at your new halfway house or sober living home. So, you take the first job you can find at the local supermarket, coffee shop, or call center just to pay your rent, have cigarettes, maybe keep your phone activated — and that’s it.
While this is sometimes a necessary step in your recovery journey and teaches humility, as well as how to really budget, you don’t want to live that way forever. This can be a good time to create a vision board. Where do you see yourself in 5 years, 3 years, or 1 year? Focus on the smaller steps first before you try and work your way up to the bigger picture.
Set a one-year goal for where you see your career in that amount of time. Do you like your current job? Work on bustin’ your butt to get a raise! Do you know a trade that you want to start doing and enjoying again? Do you want a completely fresh start in a new field?
Research what will take to land that job, and then bring it to life on your vision board using pictures, magazine cut-outs, and inspirational quotes. Then, hang it (possibly in a frame because we’re adult-ing now) in a place where you can be reminded of it daily. Take baby steps towards your dream, and trust me, time will fly after that first tough, but a character-building year.
3. Rid Your Life of Toxic People
Do you suddenly find that some of your old friends don’t come around as often now that you don’t drink or use anymore? Are you suddenly realizing that you don’t have as much in common as you thought you did? They are the weakest links, goodbye.
Are you stuck in a toxic relationship? This can get especially tricky if you’re married or there are children involved. It might be time to consider leaving. As you learn to love yourself more and more each day, there’s a high chance you won’t even be interested in sticking around anymore over time.
Then, the trickiest of all — cutting ties with family members that only beat you down instead of building you up. You may not need to completely cut them out of your life forever, but sometimes it’s best, for your recovery and your sanity, to put communication on pause while you focus on reconstructing your own life from the ground up (or the sky down, however you wanna look at it).
If you need assistance with these delicate situations, give us a call and we’ll do our best to accommodate you. We have a family counselor who is very skilled and experienced in this department.
THIS IS YOUR TIME. It is okay to be a little selfish when it’s in everyone’s best interest, even if your loved ones don’t necessarily understand in the beginning. It will pay off tenfold in the end and you can say “I told you so”.
I always remember the old saying, and will probably never forget it — whatever you put before your recovery, you’ll end up losing anyway. And, ya know, the whole “there’s no better time than the present”, so get out there and change your life!
If you are still struggling with substance abuse, call Principles Recovery Center today at 1-866-692-0909 to speak with a caring representative who understands what it’s like to be addicted.