Going through rehab, and taking steps to recovery with any addiction is a day-to-day process. Relapse is always a possibility for any addicts, which is why it is important to understand what you may feel and think while recovering from alcohol addiction.

1. Everyone Is Different

Things-to-Expect-as-a-Recovering-Alcoholic-2Everyone recovering from alcoholism has a different story. They have all hit rock bottom for different reasons, which makes their recovery process different from everyone else’s. Their living situations, support groups, emotional stability, and physical condition will vary, and these are all factors that will determine their recovery processes. Never try to compare yourself when recovering from an addiction, the only person you should be trying to be better than is yourself. Although everyone recovers differently, there are similar phases you will go through together and it can be helpful for you to talk to someone that has been through the same experience you are dealing with.

2. Depression/Anxiety

Experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety are very common while recovering from alcoholism. Especially during the first few weeks of recovery. It’s best to just continue going to AA meetings and sticking to your new schedule. If the symptoms continue to last or you have thoughts of suicide contact your therapist or doctor immediately. Once you become more active in your recovery the anxiety and sadness should fade, as you will be more focused on your actions that positively impact you than your thoughts of being sad or depressed.

3. Avoid Being Overconfident

Once you’ve been sober for several months you will become more confident with your healthy habits, as you should, but know that temptation is your worst enemy. After six months or so you may think you can go back out with your old drinking buddies and only get a soda or water, but this is unlikely. It is better to continue not going out and avoid any temptation even if you have been able to stay sober for several months. All your hard work can vanish in one night – and it is not worth it. Focus on the present and what actions you can take to keep yourself sober.

4. Reduce Stress/Have Ways to Cope With Stress

Things-to-Expect-as-a-Recovering-Alcoholic-3Recovering from being an alcoholic is stressful, so it is important to limit other stress factors in your life. As you are more susceptible to stress, and in turn, to relapse -limiting other sources of stress is crucial! Some common sources of stress can include work, relationships, school, bills, and health problems. It is important to always surround yourself with people that understand what you are going through and support you. Friends or family that bring alcohol around, or put pressure on you to go out to the bar are individuals that you cannot afford to be around during recovery.

It is hard to cut out outside sources of stress completely as you still have to go on with your day-to-day schedule. When stress arises it is important to deal with it, some ways to do this could be through exercising, journaling, meditating, or concentrating on your breathing. Dealing with your stress head on will help eliminate it as well as keeping you from relapsing.

5. Signs of Relapse

If you feel you are at risk of relapsing you should take the necessary steps to put yourself in the safest environment, to avoid losing all the progress you have made. Warning signals of relapse can include romanticizing past alcohol use, connecting with old friends that you drank with, losing interest in hobbies, and changes in your attitude or behavior.  

It is important to be aware of how you may feel and what you may think while recovering from alcoholism. Knowing your cravings and signs of weakness will help you stay aware of what you need to avoid and how you should cope with your feelings in times that you desire alcohol. Recovery is a moment-to-moment process, which is why every new day sober is an accomplishment.