Imagine yourself one year sober. What would that look like?
How about five years? 20? What comes to mind?
Your sober lifestyle might be less difficult to maintain. Especially if you are currently in the early stages of recovery, healing from substance dependency is a hard process. But we all know that practice makes perfect; a year from now you’ll have had a lot more practice at avoiding alcohol. Going to social events and staying sober won’t feel as difficult as it might right now. You will be even better at fighting the urge to drink.
So, all in all, it gets better with time. But how does this betterment actually play out?
After the detox phase (at least 30 days sober)
The detox phase is a rollercoaster. Your body is fighting to get rid of the substances inside it and you might feel sick and tired because of this. Some patients feel bloating and nauseous. Most feel exhausted for days or weeks until their bodies and brains begin to adjust to a new normal. Our team of physicians and psychiatrists will ensure you are safe and cared for throughout this process.
After this phase, you might expect to slowly come out of the fog that alcohol creates. You might find that you are sleeping better for longer and feeling well-rested when you wake up. You may start to get your appetite back again. You may even have more energy to move your body and spend time doing physical activities.
90 Days Sober
At this stage, the pain and exhaustion from detox will be long gone. It’s likely that you feel more secure in your sobriety than you did at the start although this doesn’t mean there won’t be ups and downs. You may feel guilt, depression, and shame; this is normal. At our Aftercare meetings, you may have also started learning how to cope with these feelings and fight the urge to drink. Being sober might start to feel more normal for you, as you seek out new activities or hobbies that don’t include alcohol.
Six Months Sober
At six months, the sober lifestyle might start to feel comfortable. However, this is also when the “pink cloud” might set in. Pink cloud syndrome can set in when a person feels very gratified and confident that they will be able to abstain from substances in the future. If they have too much confidence too early in the recovery process, then this might be harmful to their success in the long run. Some people have described this temporary euphoria as “feeling high on life”. People who are on the pink cloud may stop participating in recovery programs and let their guard down when it comes to staying sober. Of course, setbacks happen on the journey to sobriety; most people don’t make it through a treatment program without making some mistakes along the way.
To combat the “pink cloud”, it is important to make a setback prevention plan. As you make this plan, you can develop techniques to deal with cravings. You should always lean on your support system when you need to, as they might be able to encourage you to follow your plan.
Clouds aside, you might also start to enjoy being sober at the six-month mark, instead of just being used to the routine of being sober.
1 Year Sober
Every day you spend sober is a cause to celebrate. 365 days in a row calls for lots of celebration. You should be very proud of yourself for accomplishing this huge milestone. Many people feel accomplished and happy once they hit the one-year mark. You may have gotten a clear sense of who you are without alcohol; these feelings of clarity and self-awareness are also worth celebrating. Your support system will likely want to celebrate this milestone with you; they would have seen all the ups and downs and appreciate all the hard work it took to get to this point. So enjoy it!
10 Years Sober
Many people in recovery mention that alcohol can muffle your real feelings and numb your emotions. When you start your journey of sobriety, your true feelings and the way you experience the world will feel more powerful. Some people describe feeling “high on sensation” and being able to perceive the world more intensely than before. And this sensation high only keeps getting better.
Even after 10 years, you will experience ups and downs. This is perfectly normal. Just make sure to lean on your sober community and other support systems in these moments.