What to Expect in the First Year of Sobriety

Making it to your first year sober can seem like a long way off. Especially, if you just entered rehab or completed your initial treatment program and are transitioning to aftercare. It is understandable the journey to reach this milestone can seem scary because of the unknown. To help you achieve this goal and better prepare for the challenges ahead, continue reading to find out what to expect in the first year of sobriety. 

What to Expect During Your First Year in Sobriety

For starters, it is crucial to remember that each person’s expectations to reach one year of sobriety will be different. This is based on various factors, such as age, length of addiction, and types of substances misused. Even differences between the sexes, so what men experience and what women experience, can be entirely different. 

Keeping this in mind, in general, during your first year sober, you should expect to continue to:

  • Identify potential triggers
  • Identify high-risk environment and situations
  • Develop better coping mechanisms
  • Implement current coping skills
  • Focus on relapse prevention strategies
  • Have a plan in place for lapse and relapse

Another thing you should expect is there will be good days, and there will be bad days. Many people will go through emotional swings where they may feel confident in their sobriety one day and question it another. This is perfectly normal and should not deter you from reaching your goal. 

However, it is important to learn how to manage your emotions productively to reduce the risks of relapse. You also need to address any negative emotions and feelings you are experiencing. 

How to Increase Your Chances to Reach One Year of Sobriety

There are several effective tools and methods you can use to face the challenges of sobriety during your first year.

#1. Your body needs time to heal from addiction.

Even after detox and completing rehab treatment, your body is not fully recovered. Many people experience PAWS (Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome). This type of withdrawal can trigger cravings for the substances you abused because chemically, your brain and body have not had sufficient time to recover.

Fortunately, PAWS does eventually subside. Yet, you need to focus on developing effective coping mechanisms to deal with PAWS. 

#2. Maintain structured routines and schedules.

Structure is essential to recovery because it helps you focus on one thing at a time. Therefore, your daily schedule should include things to keep you busy and occupied so you do not become bored, overly stressed, or overwhelmed. For example, setting aside a half-hour for meditation and reflection or spending an hour working out are great ways to help you manage your sobriety. 

#3. Continue to build sober relationships with your peers.

Most people had unhealthy relationships while misusing substances. It is vital to avoid those relationships while building new sober ones with your peers and others that support your sobriety. Developing these relationships during your first year of sobriety can help lay a solid foundation for achieving long-term sobriety beyond a year. 

#4. Continue your aftercare program.

After completing rehab, you still need to continue working on your recovery. The best way to do this is to follow your aftercare program, including individual counseling, group meetings, and outpatient rehab. 

#5. Recognize when you need help.

Recovery is a life-long journey that becomes easier the longer you can maintain your sobriety. By understanding the risks of lapses and relapse, when cravings or triggers become too strong, you should be able to recognize you need help from a peer support specialist, a support group, or your sponsor. Do not be afraid to utilize these resources whenever you feel overwhelmed and are worried about using again.  

#6. Move into a gender-specific, age-specific sober living home.

Many people discover transitioning to a sober living home after rehab can better prepare them to achieve one year of sobriety. Sober living homes provide a structured, secure, and safe environment where you can maintain your sobriety. You also have access to support groups, peer support, individual counseling, alumni support, sober events and activities, and other beneficial programs that allow you to continue learning the best approach and methods to maintain your sobriety. Furthermore, they help prepare you for what to expect when living independently in your newfound sobriety.

Sober Living Home Success Rates

Research into the success rates of sober living homes has demonstrated that residents have a higher chance of maintaining their sobriety after completing their initial rehab treatment. One such study was conducted over a 5 year period from 2005 to 2010 in California. This particular study followed 300 individuals residing in sober living homes. One group lived in houses in Berkeley, California, that provided a direct connection to outpatient treatment programs. The second group came from individual houses in Sacramento County that provided a highly structured environment during the first 90 days, with a set curfew and mandatory 12-step meetings. After that, if residents stayed longer, they were given more freedom. 

The study’s findings demonstrated that residents in the Berkely homes achieved a 68% sobriety rate at 6 months and 1 year. The Sacramento County homes had a success rate of 40% at 6 months and 45% at 1 year. The study also concluded that the longer residents remained in the sober living homes, the higher their individual sobriety successes were. Since the study, sobriety success rates have continued to increase, with between 75% and 80% of residents reaching their one year of sobriety milestone without any lapses or relapses. 

Sober Living Homes in Los Angeles for Young Men

Stop letting your concerns about what to expect in the first year of sobriety hold you back. Reach out to New Life House today. You can greatly benefit from becoming a resident at one of our sober living homes for young men located in Los Angeles and Redondo Beach. These homes offer a structured environment. This includes access to ongoing outpatient rehab programs, individual counseling, group counseling, addiction education, and other options to help young men achieve long-term sobriety. For further information about our sober living homes or to become a resident, please feel free to give us a call or visit our admissions page.

Last Updated on May 24, 2022


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