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I’ve Been Sober for Months, Why Do I Still Feel Awful?

When you decided to get sober, you probably had a good reason. Most people have some experience that tells them they can’t keep going on the same way, that something has to change. At that point, you can only imagine that sobriety will be better. However, a lot of people soon discover sobriety has its own problems. They finally get clean, and maybe feel a little better, but it’s not all sunshine and happiness. What’s going on here?

It could be any number of things. You may have expected too much too soon. That’s not necessarily a bad thing if it got you into treatment, but you may have to adjust your expectations. Here are some reasons your recovery may not be what you hoped for.

PAWS.

This stands for post-acute-withdrawal syndrome. Everyone knows detox is rough, and you probably expected that. What you might not have expected is the post acute phase dragging on for so long. It can last for months or years, depending on the drug and the length of use. It just takes a little while for your brain chemistry to get back to a normal balance. In the meantime, you may feel like you’re on an emotional rollercoaster, or you may feel totally numb. This will eventually go away on its own. You just have to hang on until then and keep doing the things that keep you sober, even if you really don’t feel like it.

You’re white-knuckling.

Quitting your addiction is great, but it’s usually not your only problem, or even your biggest problem. Your biggest problem is what pushed you to use in the first place. This may be traumatic memories, anxiety, depression, or any number of mental health issues. If you are only abstinent without addressing the other problems, you will probably feel pretty miserable. Your addiction probably helped you to cope with your negative feelings, and without it, you are experiencing those feelings plus the frustration of abstaining. If you feel angry or resentful about sobriety, you need to take action to address the underlying cause. That means seeing a therapist, or working the steps, if you’re going the 12 Step route.

Your surroundings haven’t changed.

When you were in active addiction, you built a life around that addiction. You can’t expect to go back to that same life sober and expect everything to be fine. You will have to make some changes. That may mean changing jobs, cutting loose old friends, or possibly even moving to another city. Identify points of friction, chronic stress, and interpersonal conflict and change whatever you can to make your situation more conducive to healthy living.

Life will eventually get better. Dissatisfaction is often a sign that something needs to change. Just be sure you’re moving forward instead of backward. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, Gardens Wellness Center can help you detox safely and decide on a treatment strategy. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at info@tgwcdetox.com to learn more.