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Sober Living and the Changes You Might Experience 

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To many people, sober living is a mystery or it’s been so long since they’ve experienced sober life that it feels more like a dream. Substance use disorders cause many life-altering effects on the mind and body. When you start getting sober, a lot will change in your life.

Sober Living

Going to substance abuse treatment will force you to view life from a fresh perspective. You’ll probably practice using new coping methods, learn relapse prevention techniques, reevaluate your values, face your fears, resolve trauma, and rethink your life choices. 

Quitting your drug addiction and getting sober doesn’t mean that the battle with addiction is over. Be aware that specific changes that occur when you first get sober could be highly challenging, but if you commit to long-term sobriety it’ll be worth your effort.  

Here is some insight into what to expect and how to prepare for the changes that might occur after getting sober.

Loss of Friendships

Growing apart from your friends can be one of the more difficult parts of getting sober for some people. Your relationships will be tested, and you may end up losing a couple of friends (probably for good.) Many people addicted to drugs and alcohol seek out others who are also addicted and like to party, also known as “running buddies” or “party friends.”

Deciding to get sober is a way to get rid of relationships that no longer suit your values and are not in line with your new goals and values. However, losing certain friendships can be very difficult and heartbreaking, especially if you have spent a lot of time together over the years.

beautiful woman with curly hair talking and gesturing with her hands

One of the essential parts of staying sober is to surround yourself with people that support your new lifestyle changes. Remember, real friends, lift you and support your personal decisions for sober living. Not everyone you hang out with wants what’s best for you. Beware of bad influences and keep a guard to filter toxic friendships.

Growing apart from people who don’t share the same values as you is part of growing up, and it’s not a bad thing. On the bright side, you’ll gain support groups of new like-minded friends. This community will not only share your goals for living a sober life but also celebrate your change and self-improvement.

Extreme Feelings of Emotion

Many people use drugs and alcohol to numb their feelings when coping with grief, stress, or even joy. People in early recovery start understanding what it means to feel your feelings again truly. 

Sober living does not ensure that you will always be happy and full of life. You might experience feelings of underlying depression or see symptoms of co-occurring mental health disorders occur. It is essential to recognize these emotions and let them pass. Do not seek an escape when grief arises; instead, try to feel it and let it pass.  

Once you get sober, your emotional spectrum may expand. The best way to cope with emotional outbursts is to make sure that you’re surrounded by an encouraging network of friends and family members who want the absolute best for you.

Changes in Physical Appearance

Many people who get sober tend to experience weight gain when they first stop using their drug of choice. There are various reasons that your weight can fluctuate when you’re in the early stages of getting sober. 

The first and foremost reason could be that people tend to replace old addictions with new ones, like sugar, and may turn to food to help cope with the change. 

Secondly, there is a possibility that drug and alcohol abuse diminished their appetite and caused malnutrition or weight loss. When you are getting sober, you desire also to get back to normal, which is a healthy sign. 

woman sitting next to a window looking at the camera

Weight gain or loss doesn’t necessarily happen to everyone who gets sober. But if you do experience any kind of weight fluctuations, remember to be gentle with yourself! Do not hate your body and try to reinforce this understanding that recovery is a continuous process, and it takes time to reach a balanced, healthy state after getting sober.

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) is a form of physical withdrawal. If you were physically dependent on a substance like a drug or alcohol, you might experience mild-to-severe initial withdrawal symptoms. 

Along with this initial physical withdrawal, many people experience prolonged PAWS. According to the Semel Institute of Neuroscience and Human Behavior, people recovering from drugs or alcohol may share some of these symptoms long after their initial withdrawal period:

  • Depressed mood
  • Anxiety/ agitation
  • Mood fluctuations
  • Irregular sleeping patterns
  • Increased sensitivity to stressors and other triggers
  • Cravings for a drug of choice

Since physical dependence causes changes in brain chemicals and neurotransmitter communication patterns, many researchers believe that this condition results from the physiological changes that occur when someone is physically dependent on drugs or alcohol. 

Remember, it is entirely normal to experience distressing symptoms after you get sober. Always remind yourself, this too shall pass! 

A New Path

Pacific Sands Recovery Center provides inpatient treatment for mental illness and addiction recovery. Whether you’re looking for a sober living house or short-term addiction treatment so you can learn how not to drink or use drugs, Pacific Sands Recovery Center can help you achieve sober living. 

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