If you have relied on alcohol or drugs for any length of time to escape from reality or to relieve bad feelings, learning to live sober can be very challenging. The intense symptoms of withdrawal from substance use disorder are only the beginning. Although you may wish you could just get through detox and then live happily ever after, it is really not that simple. There are many lessons that you will learn along the way to achieve a productive, sober life. Read on to learn more about the challenges of the first year of sobriety and how The Ranch TN can help you in each stage of your recovery journey. Withdrawal Symptoms In The First Year of Sobriety In early sobriety, the symptoms of\u00a0withdrawal can be overwhelming and powerful. During this time, you are consumed with the misery of your physical discomfort. Yet, once those symptoms pass, you may be faced with a different kind of misery. At times it seems like you are riding an emotional rollercoaster, or you may be suddenly overpowered by feelings you have successfully avoided for many years. There is nothing pleasant about feeling these feelings. You have been in the habit of running from your emotions, and you may think that you are never going to be able to stand the intensity of these feelings. Many alcoholics and addicts who are new to recovery find that the challenges of the first year of sobriety make the thought of living without alcohol or drugs seem like an impossible dream. The problems that they face in the first year include depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, and issues relating to family members. These are problems that you cannot address or correct instantly. Working on learning how to live sober takes time. At the end of physically detoxing from alcohol or drugs, many alcoholics or addicts experience another phenomenon called protracted alcohol withdrawal syndrome, or PAWS. Withdrawal symptoms are not completely gone. They are still there, but they are just a bit subtler. This phenomenon is experienced by many in recovery regardless of their drug of choice. During this phase, cravings can set in when you least expect it. Compulsions Will Pass Choosing to pick up a drink or a drug is not really a choice during this time. Instead, it is more of an impulsive reaction. At this stage, you may not have learned that it is possible to think through the craving. The compulsion to use will pass if you let it. You just might not believe it yet. You will not be able to resist using substances if you do not make sobriety a priority in your life and seek help from a substance abuse treatment center. Without support, you will quickly resume your old habits. Using alcohol and drugs has been a habit, so you will compulsively reach for alcohol or substances whenever life gets too uncomfortable. Substance abuse has been the only coping mechanism you have had whenever you get nervous or sad or angry. At this point, you lack the mental defense required to resist overpowering cravings unless you ask for help. If you give in to the impulses, you will just keep on doing what you have always done. It is important to reach out for help from a treatment center such as The Ranch TN if you are having difficulty overcoming your cravings for substances. We can help you work through these feelings if you are experiencing challenges in your first year of sobriety. Getting Past the First-Year Trials You do not have to give in to the compulsion to pick up drugs again. People who have successfully achieved long-term sobriety will tell you to hang in there because better days are coming. Things will get better if you follow the suggestions of people who have managed to stay clean and sober in spite of having similar cravings and compulsions early in their own sobriety. It is possible to stay away from a drink or a drug one day at a time. Keep going to more meetings. Talk to people. Let people know that you are struggling. Write about your feelings. Pay attention to your triggers. Some people have done actual damage to their neurological systems due to substance abuse. Years of drinking and drugging can have an effect on your ability to experience pleasure or motivation. You may be prone to depression and anxiety, and you have not yet learned how to cope with life's difficulties. You may have difficulty sleeping which will intensify your emotions. However, you can learn coping skills through treatment. Developing healthy habits such as making positive changes to your eating and sleeping routines can be surprisingly helpful as you navigate life sober for the first time. Exercise is another healthy habit that helps your body recover from the damage you have done. Do not give up before the miracle. Contact The Ranch TN at for help if you are experiencing challenges in your first year of sobriety. We are ready and willing to help.