Early Sobriety: How Chaos Can Slowly Ease into Calm

Early Sobriety: How Chaos Can Slowly Ease into Calm

There will be times where you will face cravings to use drugs again

When you first get sober, it is a very difficult time. Your life was completely out of control with substance abuse, and now you are finding clarity, feeling better part of the time and yet also feeling worse some of the time because of withdrawal symptoms. You may even feel like you have two different brains where one tells you to do healthy things and the other tells you to use drugs again. The US National Library of Medicine reports that approximately 9% of the public is known to abuse opiates such as heroin, oxycontin, morphine or codeine. Before you overreact to anything, it is essential to know what some common withdrawal symptoms are.

Once you know this information, then you can prepare yourself and know what to expect. With a drug such as heroin, some common side effects of withdrawal include the following:

  • Slowed breathing or possibly having a breathing disease
  • Clouded mental functioning, drowsiness and in some cases slurred speech
  • Itching of varying severity
  • Coma, nodding off, randomly falling asleep and excessive yawning
  • Cold sweats, anxiety and agitation levels higher than normal
  • Loss of memory and forgetting what happened over extended periods of time
  • Depression, increased introversion and not wanting to spend time with others
  • Muscle aches, cramping, moving slowly and pain
  • Increased tearing and runny nose
  • Insomnia and not sleeping well even when the individual does sleep
  • Diarrhea, constipation and abdominal cramping are pretty common
  • Dilated pupils and eyes that appear very tired
  • Goose bumps and possibility of infection from dirty needles
  • Vomiting, nausea and not eating much food are very common

If you are experiencing these withdrawal symptoms, call your doctor. If you are experiencing a feeling or physical condition that you are not sure whether it is a withdrawal symptom or not, call your doctor just to be sure. It is much better to be safe than it is to make general assumptions and risk your health and sobriety. Just make the call to your doctor. If your doctor is not available, it is a good idea to get in touch with someone in your support network like a sponsor, family member or loved one. When you are not feeling well, your decision-making skills are not as clear as when you feel well. Getting some outside assistance can make all the difference between staying sober or having a relapse.

In some cases, different medicines, such as methadone, are used in substance abuse treatment. The shares that Methadone (also called Dolophine or Methadose) is a slow-acting opioid agonist. An agonist is a chemical that binds to a receptor and activates the receptor to produce a biological response.

Methadone is a medication that is taken by the mouth so it gets to the brain slowly, which reduces the high that occurs with other substance deliveries such as snorting or being taken intravenously while also preventing withdrawal symptoms. Methadone has been used for over fifty years to help treat heroin addiction and is often a good option for individuals who do not respond well to other medications. The following are a few thoughts to consider as you move forward in your recovery:

The Withdrawal Process May Look Different to Each Individual

There are different factors that come into the withdrawal process including the amount of drugs you have been taking, for how long, your heredity, your overall health and if you have any other addiction. For example, if you are an alcoholic and also use heroin, you likely suffer from a condition called poly-substance dependent. The withdrawal symptoms for someone in this situation will likely look different than an individual who is addicted to only one substance. The time of withdrawal symptoms may vary as well. As mentioned above, not every individual responds the same to medications like methadone.

Cravings and Triggers Will Be an Issue

There will be times where you will face cravings to use drugs again. The good news is that treatment often helps with this, and once you start to face your cravings by being honest with yourself and getting support from others, they will start to reduce in number and in severity. Remember, healthy habits are not formed over night. You have to start at the beginning and know that it is important to walk before you run. You must rely and interact with your support network. This can consist of different people but often includes family, friends, a support group, your doctor and your therapist.

You Can Live a Healthy Life

There is no doubt that you can. The longer you stay sober, the more likely it is that you will not use again. This is not to say that it will be easy. You must intentionally be proactive to think of your sobriety today and make good choices over time.

If you need help deciding what you should do now to stay sober or to pursue a healthy life, please call our 24 hour, toll-free helpline and talk to one of our counselors. They will answer your questions and give you the information you need to move forward.