The Gifts of Early Recovery
Our treatment center feels passionately that if someone who is in need of recovery compiles some sober time, they will be amazed at how much they enjoy the “little things” in life – like a great meal or a walk at sunset.
Dopamine is the brain chemical that causes the sensation of pleasure. During active substance abuse, the brain adjusts to the burst of dopamine created by the drug use by reducing the routine amount of dopamine creation. The result is that the person who is mentally and physically dependent on drugs or alcohol may think there is no pleasure to be had outside of their drug use. This can lead the person who is contemplating entering a life of recovery to be discouraged that they will not enjoy life without their drug of choice. But over time they definitely will, as the brain gradually recovers.
The Pink Cloud Phenomenon
If all of the above is true, then why is it that so many in early recovery report that the experience is like “living on a pink cloud?” This saying is ubiquitous in the rooms of recovery, and describes the joyous feeling of early recovery.
For whatever reason, while the brain is restoring itself chemically, people who are in treatment or otherwise in recovery tend to be very happy during the initial phase. We wanted to highlight some of the great things about being in early recovery that contribute to this:
1. You Have Freedom and Choice for the First Time in a Long Time
- Freedom from the substance: No longer do you have to wake up and spend your day planning how to obtain and imbibe your drug of choice. We do recommend planning your day though – around recovery (meetings, healthy activities, plenty of rest).
- Freedom from toxic relationships: In the throes of addiction, you may have put up with negative influences in your life, like destructive friends or relationships. This was because the status quo allowed the drug use to continue. Now that you are in recovery, it’s time to say “bye” to the people who are dragging you down.
2. You Wake Up Healthier and More Clear-Headed Every Day
The men and women who receive treatment from NorthStar are often emphatic about how great it feels to wake up sober and clear headed in the morning. Compiling weeks and months of days like this builds momentum against relapse.
3. You are No Longer Living a Secret Life
The secrecy and shame of active addiction is something that many who enter treatment have been living with for years. There’s an incredible relief that comes from sharing your story with others in counseling and support group meetings.
4. You Can Help Others
As they say in the rooms of any 12-step program: “if you have 2 days sober, then lend a hand to the person with only one.” One of the tenets of 12-step programs is that helping others is part of the process of healing oneself. Building these types of connections with other recovering people can be transformative.
Why Wait Another Day to Get Help?
All the good stuff that is to come when you or your loved one gets sober doesn’t start until the drug use ends. Call NorthStar Transitions if you have questions about getting help for a substance addiction. Our team of intake advisors will provide a complimentary and confidential assessment of your situation , and can also check your insurance benefits to verify what portion of treatment will be covered. Call us today at 303-558-6400.