Your Ultimate Guide to Beginning Your Recovery Journey

Your Ultimate Guide to Beginning Your Recovery Journey

Every great success story has to start somewhere, and if you’re at the beginning of your recovery journey, it’s normal to feel a bit apprehensive about what lies ahead. Sometimes it’s the endeavors that we’re most scared of that end up being the most worthwhile – but to ease some of your worries, it may help to have an idea of what you can expect during your first few days, months, and even throughout your first full year in recovery. There’s no doubt that the beginning of recovery can involve some ups and downs, as it’s a major change – but it’s absolutely worth it in the long run. Demi Lovato emphasized this lesson recently by stating, “Recovery is something that you have to work on every single day and it’s something that doesn’t get a day off.”

Common Symptoms and Causes

In 2019, The Fix, a website that publishes information related to sobriety, highlighted several common issues that people face in early recovery. Here is a quick breakdown of what you may experience, along with some potential causes:

Symptom: Fatigue/exhaustion

Causes: Your mind, body and spirit are recovering from substance abuse – so you’re going to feel very tired as your body rejuvenates.

Symptom: Insomnia

Causes: For many people with active addiction, substance abuse occurs late at night; this disrupts the body’s sleep system, which make take some time to recover from in early recovery

Symptom: Feeling sad

Causes: Substances cause an influx of dopamine (the feel-good chemical in the brain), and without substances to continue this overproduction, dopamine levels will drop – which, for a while, may cause feelings of sadness. Don’t worry – this won’t last forever.

Symptom: Physical Illness

Causes: As your body recovers, you may experience ill feelings because toxins are being released from your body. There may be a period of uncomfortability, but this sick feeling will fade over time as your body becomes rejuvenated.

Symptom: Disconnecting yourself from others

Causes: If you’ve been in active addiction for quite a long time, it may feel very abnormal to you to be sober. Alongside this may come feelings of wanting to isolate – and despite how you feel, you should really try to push through it and connect with others.

While these symptoms may stir up feelings of uncertainty about recovery, it’s very important for you to remember that they’re only temporary. Not only that, but medications are now available to help alleviate some of the pain and discomfort associated with these symptoms and others.

Pushing Through the Beginning

Everyone goes through at least one discomforting symptom during recovery, but thankfully, having a supportive network around you can make a world of difference. A 2017 study published in the journal Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly emphasized that it is through positive networks and building community assets that helps those in recovery eventually become involved in recreational activities, training and employment, volunteering and more. In fact, having supportive people by your side will ensure that you stay true to your original goal of entering rehabilitation: to heal and rejuvenate from the painful effects of addiction.

In 2014, an individual shared their story of recovering from addiction. He explained that it was during his first few weeks in rehab that he believed he was “cured” from addiction, and it was then that he learned just how strong his disease was. He talked about the flood of emotions that he felt during his first 28 days in recovery – the anxiety, lack of energy, irritability, and difficulty sleeping that plagued him in the beginning; he explained that once he was sober, it was as though all of the emotional pain he held in or suppressed with alcohol or other substances seemed to come out.

For this person in particular, pushing through the rough beginning of recovery was worth it. He stated via Medical Daily, “By taking a step back and seeing my addiction from a different point of view, I learned that drugs and alcohol were never my problem but my solution. It was time to find a different solution and one that would last longer than the initial rush I got from heroin or any other drug.”

Many people in recovery find that over time, the hardships they faced in healing and restoration were worth a heightened sense of clarity about who they are, what they stand for, and what they’re more capable of doing with their lives. Deeper connections are able to be build, passions are more readily pursued, and healing from painful events from the past is able to take place.

Stay Strong

If you’re able to continue reminding yourself of the bigger picture associated with recovery, you’ll be much more equipped to stick through the ups and downs that come with the beginning period of healing. Rely on your healthcare team to get through some of the symptoms that are hard to work through and use all of the resources that are available to you. Last but not least, stay patient. Recovery doesn’t happen overnight – it’s something that you’ll have to work for every day, but it’s a journey that can completely transform your life in ways you never would’ve imagined.

The mission of The Beach House is to provide success in the recovery process and elevate the standard of comprehensive addiction treatment. Located right on the coast of Malibu, California, expert clinical care and a holistic view of the recovery process is provided to ensure Best-in-Class treatment tailored to the needs of each client. If you’re ready to start your recovery journey today, call us at 310-924-0780.

Saving Lives; Healing Families.


Kimberly James

I am the founder and owner of The Beach House Treatment Center, The White House, Indigo Ranch, Sweetwater Mesa and Beach House Center for Wellness, all in Malibu, California.