What Lies Beyond the First Year of Recovery

What Lies Beyond the First Year of Recovery

Hitting one year sober is an achievement worth celebrating. The physical and emotional roller coaster of the first twelve months is behind and probably left quite an impression on the way out. Though literature exists to support the early stages of treatment, many resources don’t focus on the later stages of recovery. Find out what to expect beyond the first year of recovery and how to stay focused on sobriety.


Reaching That Milestone

Reaching the biggest milestone in recovery, one year sober, can be a joyous and daunting occasion. Fear may settle in about what comes next after hitting this celebratory mark. The following are some things which may come up as the first year milestone occurs:


What Now?

The first year seems clear-cut with lots of structure and guidance on where to go and what to expect. Everyone has a unique journey but some fundamentals exist which can make recovery formulaic. Defined steps provide comfort but more may be needed to help get past the first 365 days clean and sober.


Shift Away from Survival

Early sobriety is fraught with fragility and vulnerability. Many people fear an unexpected trigger or curveball will derail weeks or months of progress. The brain is on high alert to stay sober the first 12 months, after which many experience peace and security for the long haul. Challenges will exist but an individual who is proactive in recovery will begin to build self-confidence, self trust and find more opportunities for self development and positive growth.


Kicking Other Habits

Physical health, nutrition and other things fall by the wayside during addiction. Attempting to change too many things at once can be overwhelming. It is best to focus on a few key areas and try those for a time such as adding proper nutrition and vitamins into the diet or exercise.


Give Mindfulness a Try

In early sobriety, mindfulness is encouraged as a new coping mechanism. Mindfulness activities such as journaling, meditation and yoga can be healthy ways to process stress, grief and depression. Explore local meditation or yoga groups to heighten a sense of self-connectedness.


Romanticized Substance Use

Risks of relapse are high even after the first year of sobriety. Some people with addiction may leave behind support systems and networks built up during the first year when the danger of addiction feels less in focus and more in the rearview. Fantasies about having ‘one’ drink or ‘hit’ may pop up in a misguided attempt to glamourize use while overlooking the dangers.


Future Thoughts

One day at a time applies as much now as it did the first year. Focusing on big-picture and long-term sobriety can feel daunting but it is necessary to stay healthy in recovery. Passion and interests will grow and it is helpful to keep the support system strong, attend meetings and focus on recovery day by day.


The Villa offers support, resources and information for the journey of recovery. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, call us to see how we can help you put addiction behind you and move forward.