Managing the First 90 Days of Recovery
Tips for the First 90 Days of Recovery
Most in recovery would agree that the first 90 days of recovery is a delicate time. Why? Because that’s when most relapses occur. Working the recovery process is still so new, a different experience, that being clean and sober is not only an adjustment but challenging because you must now cope with daily life without drugs or alcohol usage, which may impair your emotional, physical, and psychological well-being. Although you’re moving towards becoming healthy by getting sober, you’re also vulnerable. It’s important to pay close attention to your physical and emotional health at this time.
In order to help you do that, here are a few tips for the first 90 days of your recovery.
Some Steps for a Successful First 90 Days
- Create and maintain a daily schedule. Creating a daily schedule is an essential tool for clarity of what you need to do and it’s trackable for you and your sponsor to review/talk about. Keeping a schedule of what can be done in a day, including recording times you wake up, eat meals, exercise, work, attend 12-step meetings, go to doctor or therapy appointments, take medication, spend time with family and friends, helps you stay on track and focused. It is also good to have blocks of time for reading, meditation, and hobbies. Having a schedule helps with boredom and thoughts about using.
- Take good care of yourself physically. Make sure you’re getting the right amount of sleep, eating well, and exercising regularly. You’ve probably already noticed that when you sleep well, you feel better. You’re less triggered by the small stuff and some stress doesn’t bother you. But when you haven’t slept, the smallest thing can set you off. And the same is true for all your physical needs. In order to strengthen your ability to resist triggers and cravings, make sure to take good care of your body during the time.
- Make 12-step meetings a priority (the program for alcoholics has a semi-official rule, dubbed the “90-in-90 rule,” which encourages members to attend 90 meetings in 90 days). Whether it’s attending an 12-step meeting or going to your recovery group at your church, make sure you’re making this a priority in your life. Having support makes a big difference in your level of stress. On the whole, when people feel supported, they are more likely to push through the challenges they are facing.
- Find a sponsor, mentor, or therapist that you can trust. In addition to having a community of support around you, it’s important to have one or two people that you can rely upon, especially for the more sensitive subjects. You might need support with managing your anger, coping with triggers, or repairing family relationships. Having someone in your life you can go to about the delicate concerns such as these can also help you feel supported.
- Create stability in your life. It’s common for those who are recovering from drugs and alcohol to lack stability. This might mean that they don’t have housing, lack a regular income, or don’t have any family or friends to rely upon. However, when there is stability, there’s more security, and in turn, there is more confidence in managing the challenges ahead of you. During your first few months, you might need to find a place to live (and that might mean a sober living home or a residential treatment center), get a job (even if it’s part time), or repair relationships to gain the support of others.
- Create a safe environment. Part of healing requires you to feel safe at home. This includes clearing out anything related to your addiction, such as drugs, bottles of alcohol, pills, pornography or other addictive substances. If you’re not sure you have the strength right now to do it yourself, ask your sponsor or a trusted loved one to help you get rid of it so that your environment is secure and free of any temptations.
- Don’t make any major changes in your life. Because this is a vulnerable time in life, it’s important not to make any drastic changes in life. For instance, it’s not a good time to go back to school, get married, or move far from your supportive community. (However, you may want to move away from drug-using friends and family.) The point is that major changes in life often come with stress. And because getting sober is already a stressful time, it’s important to minimize other sources of stress. Remember that this is a vulnerable time.
- Be thankful and have gratitude for each day. Sometimes working the day-to-day routines of a sober life can keep us busy that we forget to give credit for our accomplishments, lessons learned and growth achieved. Having this structured in your daily life, either by prayer and/or ‘the universe,’ meditation or however you choose to name it, helps bring peace within and strength.
If you need support with your recovery, Connections in Recovery New York (CiRNY )—an international addiction and mental health treatment consulting company that offers expertise in interventions, case management, recovery companions, and coaching—can create a “right fit” recovery treatment plan for you or your loved one. Servicing the Tri-State area, CiRNY has two offices located in Manhattan and Long Island. Since our launch in April 2011, Connections in Recovery has devoted itself to helping those in need of addiction and mental health recovery, as well as their family members and loved ones. When we receive a call for help, there is usually only a small window of opportunity. We have a very dedicated staff, which comes together for the families.
Connections in Recovery is very professional, fast, ready whenever called, and extremely effective in getting high risk patients to treatment centers to begin the recovery process. I highly recommend this company as both interventionists and sober companions. They fill that crucial gap in treatment between the outpatient psychiatrist/psychotherapist and the inpatient treatment center”
~ A New York Psychiatrist