Malibu Wellness Ranch

Follow us

What to Expect During the First Year of Recovery

Congratulations on making the courageous choice to sustain recovery for substance use disorder (SUD). Your first year can be both challenging and rewarding as you rebuild your life from the damage of addiction. There will be plenty of ups and downs along the journey ahead of you. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what to expect during this exciting first phase, offering tips to make this journey as smooth as possible for you.

Early Days of Recovery

As you adjust to a life without drugs or alcohol, the initial days and weeks can be particularly trying. Withdrawal symptoms often manifest themselves during this phase. These symptoms may include nausea, sweating, tremors, and insomnia, though these symptoms should all subside with time. 

Alongside physical symptoms, you may also experience intense emotions like anxiety, depression, and irritability. Though these feelings can be challenging at times, remember they’re natural parts of the healing process. Keep this in mind, and remember they’re just part of the detoxification process and won’t last forever.

Your Support System

One of the key components of successful recovery in its initial year is creating a support network. This may consist of family, friends, sponsors, or fellow members of support groups who offer encouragement and motivation to stay sober. Having a support system can also help people understand what it is like to go through recovery. 

As well as creating a support network, it is also vitally important to set healthy boundaries with those who may hinder your recovery process. This might involve avoiding certain social situations or distancing from those who continue using drugs and alcohol. When you begin your treatment journey, you likely will not have a strong support system developed or firm boundaries in place. Your first year of recovery will likely consist of figuring this out.

Maintaining Control

Within your first year of recovery, you will likely encounter triggers that could present cravings or thoughts of using drugs or alcohol again. Triggers could include people, places, or things associated with substance use as well as stress or boredom. It is critical to identify them early and create a plan for dealing with them. This is another aspect that will be of high focus during the first year of your recovery. 

Strategies to cope with triggers may include avoiding high-risk situations, practicing relaxation techniques, and engaging in healthy activities. Creating healthy coping mechanisms like meditation or journaling may help alleviate cravings and prevent relapse. Allow yourself to discover which of these practices helps you to level out your cravings and maintain control of your sobriety at Malibu Wellness Ranch.

A New Lifestyle

Recovery from SUD requires more than simply abstaining from drugs or alcohol. It involves designing an entirely new lifestyle to promote sobriety and overall wellness. This may involve engaging in healthy activities such as physical fitness training, meditation, or creative pursuits, as well as setting regular sleep habits and eating healthily.

Additionally, any issues which have contributed to your addiction must be resolved. Therapy or counseling services may help address trauma-induced mental health disorders or any other factor which has led to substance use. During your first year of recovery at Malibu Wellness Ranch, you will be adjusting to a new lifestyle that supports your overall improvement and sobriety. 

Staying Motivated Through Your First Year

Finding motivation during the first year of recovery may be difficult, so you must keep in mind the reasons you decided to start your recovery journey in the first place. If you are in treatment involuntarily, think about the various benefits that could be involved with being in recovery. These may include improving your physical and mental health, strengthening relationships, and creating an improved life for you and your loved ones.

Having attainable goals can also help to increase motivation. Your goals should include short-term and long-term desires. Short-term goals can include daily or weekly goals such as attending support group meetings or engaging in healthy activities. Long-term goals can encompass long-term aspirations such as furthering education or building strong, healthy relationships. Use these structured goals to help remind you of your why in recovery and keep your motivation strong.

Finding Meaning and Purpose

Within the first year of recovery, finding purpose can be an immense source of motivation. Volunteering or helping others can bring great pleasure and a sense of accountability. Pursuing hobbies or interests that bring you joy can also provide a sense of direction to push your sobriety successfully forward.

Recovery can be both daunting and exhilarating during your first year. By building up support networks, managing triggers and cravings effectively, creating new lifestyle patterns, staying motivated, and finding purpose, you can work through any difficulties of this initial period to eventually attain long-term sobriety. Take this journey step by step. The first year is often the hardest to overcome.


If you or someone you know is in the first year of recovery from substance use disorder (SUD), remember that it’s important to stay connected and seek support. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a therapist, support group, or loved one for help. Remember that recovery is possible, and the first year is just the beginning. Keep pushing forward and continue to prioritize your sobriety and well-being. Take a view at what the first year of recovery will entail and how to move forward from these obstacles. To learn more about what to expect during your first year of recovery, reach out to Malibu Wellness Ranch today at (800) 862-5428.