Early sobriety is a time for many changes and opportunities; It is the starting point where we make a conscious decision to seek out a new way of living in order to shed our addictive and destructive skins. While early sobriety is the breeding ground for the implementation of new ideas, new behaviors, and new perspectives, it is also a time riddled with shame, regret, guilt, sadness, and anxiety. If we want to take full advantage of the formerly mentioned opportunities, we must be able to block out the cacophony of noises that can bombard us within the latter-mentioned distractions.
The difficulty in blocking out the noises that distract us from the goals we are striving towards is that they typically will remain loud if we don’t face them directly and work to understand what in fact is driving these negative emotions. Take anxiety for example; anxiety is the body’s way of signaling to us that our brain has detected a potential danger that it unsure as to whether or not it has a strategy to overcome this perceived danger. Rather than avoiding the message of anxiety, we need to work to understand what is causing it so that we can turn our attention to fixing the issues. Another common barrier to progress in early sobriety is depression; assuming the depression isn’t biochemical in nature, in which case, medication may be indicated, we can combat depression by simply acting! Feelings of depression are indicators that there is some type of work that needs to be done, and because it isn’t, we are left with minimal “rewards” from our brain that would reinforce whatever positive actions we are taking. If we feel depressed, we can first start with the basics of getting adequate sleep, engaging in physical exercise, and making attempts to socialize and connect with others. This is more easily said than done which anyone who has suffered depression can tell you, but we can’t expect anything to change if we don’t change anything. If guilt, shame, and regret are hovering over us, reminding us that we “screwed up”, we can begin to make amends to those we have hurt in order to relieve ourselves of the burden of these negative states.
Once we have begun to dispense with these negative emotional states by dealing with them head-on, we can really begin to thrive in recovery and start to embody the person we were meant to be.
Tree House Recovery of Portland, Oregon is a men’s addiction treatment center that teaches our clients how to roll with life’s punches and use the tools they’ve learned throughout the treatment process to stay on top of anything life throws at them. Call (503) 850-2474 to see how we can help you today.