Oct 28, 2014 | By Tim Stoddart

10 Tips For Your First Year In Recovery

Relapse Prevention

tips for your first year in recovery

The first year is the hardest.

Some would say it is the most important, probably because most relapses happen within the first year. When people first enter recovery, their mind and emotions are doing crazy things. Here are a few tips that can help you get through the first year.

1 – Go to Meetings

aa meetings
source: welcomefellowopiateaddicts.blogspot.com

AA may not be for everyone, but the benefits of 12 step meetings are without question. You don’t have to be a believer, but at the very least meetings will help you build a support system. Having people to talk to is crucial in your first year. Believe me, you don’t want to spend to much time with yourself.

2 – Call People

Just call them. Even if you don’t know why you are talking to them. The more time you spend talking to people about what’s going on, the less alone you will be. You will find that people are more than willing to help.

3 – Pray and Meditate

Many people associate prayer with religion. Be open minded. Prayer is simply a way for you to tap into whatever energy you wish to relate to. Also, you don’t have to be a monk to meditate. Sometimes meditation means just sitting in the quiet by yourself. You will find that the answers will come to you if you are still and silent.

4 – Exercise

There are tons of health benefits to exercising. For early recovery, it may be a way for you to stay busy and stay out of your own head. Going for a run, lifting weights, or even doing yoga will help build your confidence back up and give you a natural “high” of endorphins.

Just don’t over do it. Replacing one addiction with another isn’t what we want.

5 – Help People

help people

If you are going through the steps, we don’t recommend bringing someone else through step work immediately. However, this doesn’t mean you cant help them.

Random acts of kindness, driving people to work who don’t have a car, or even just listening to someone else who needs to talk. When you are helping someone else, you are not thinking about yourself.

6 – Find a Hobby

find a hobby

Everyone is good at something. Many times addiction has kept us from doing what we love. Get back to your art. Start reading again. Get back to writing that book you want. Get back into your love for fashion.

Whatever it is, recovery will give you a chance to get back to what you love to do.

7 – Therapy

Just because you have completed your inpatient treatment, doesn’t mean that you are “cured.” If you have trauma in your past, you will need to deal with it. There is nothing wrong with seeing a therapist.

Everyone can benefit from therapy, there is no reason not to work with a professional if you can.

8 – Find a Mentor

find a mentor

We highly recommend getting a sponsor, if you chose not to do so, than you should still have some kind of mentor.

The fact is, people new in recovery do not know how to stay sober. They might think they do, but they don’t. We must be taught. Find someone who has more experience than you, and learn all you can from that person. They will be happy to help.

9 – Relax

Many times people want to get sober all at once. This is not possible.

Recovery takes time, and there is no final grade. When the moments come that you feel restless and that you want to do something, just take a nap. Getting through the day without picking up is more important than whatever you think you have to do. Trust me…


We know it’s cliche. However the time will come when no one will pick up the phone, where reading doesn’t help, and when you just can’t relax. These moments are critical, because it is so easy to slip up.

If you want to stay sober more than you want to use, you will get through this. Your Higher Power may give you strength. Maybe a run will distract you. Maybe eating a bag of chocolate will get you through. Whatever you have to do, just don’t pick up. The feeling will eventually pass and you will have gotten another day clean and sober!

We hope this helps! If anyone else has some good tips for the first year in recovery, please leave your comments for the person who may not know.

10 responses to “10 Tips For Your First Year In Recovery

  • Christine

    10 years ago

    Do not get into a relationship is another one. I know from experience!!!

    • Pamela Tucker

      8 years ago

      What do we know about true intimacy anyway. I just take hostages!!

  • the program teaches us to eventually make healthy decisions that benefit our lives through sobriety.
    Work on yourself by the steps find a sponsor and keep going to meetings.
    I see people come in become clean and life gets good. They have sober fun and possibly sleep around or meet someone ect ect
    Truth is most of us have lived an un healthy life with unhealthy decisions, we don’t know any better. We wonder why relationships don’t work out ect ect. I’ve seen people with multiple years struggle with these issues.
    Truth is we can’t have a healthy relationship until we learn to make healthy decisions and live a healthy life.
    If you are new here the best relationship you can have right now is finding where you go wrong through the first few steps. Then we learn to find someone that’s healthy for us and not just good on the eyes or fond of by the heart but someone that has learned how to love and communicate. Someone that has become patient with selves before they can have patients to make a relationship work.
    If they are still they’re own higher power in all their decisions most likely they will play God in the relationship too.
    Work the steps and keep coming back you will learn to intuitively handle situations that used to baffle you.
    Love you all. Stay strong 🙂

  • Judith Delaney

    9 years ago

    Im in my first yr of recovery and have had to change my whole lifestyle to maintain a healthy mind. I enjoyed reading your 10 tips and happy to say they are all in place in my life. It has been a hard yr but also the best yr of my life…God willing..the first of many sober ones..Thankyou for posting..xxx

  • The first year is very difficult, but not impossible. It does get easier and life definitely gets better. Don’t leave until the miracle happens. You are worth it!

  • C. That God could and would if he were sought .
    God stays close to those who stay close to God.
    Love the Lord And the dev will flee .

  • I am in my fifth month of recovery. I have been on pain pills and muscle relaxers for at least the last 17 years and I do not mean just a few. I have been abusing them for years. I have been wanting to stop for years but never had the courage to try and live without them. I am finally trying. I do not have a group nor a friend to talk to this about. I found Sober Nation online…this is my group…the people here are who inspire me keep going. I am not doing very well on my own..I am not using, but I am doing all the things I read that one should not do. I’m lying around..eating wrong..not sleeping well and just constantly feeling like crap. I must be on a pity party. My other half is still filling all of his meds and taking them in front of me and that is very hard to deal with. He does say hes proud of me and he will quit when he gets things ready for winter..I have yet to see him complete a task he says he needs the pills for. This is about me and not about him..just wanted you to know some of the things I face every day. Thanks for the support here. You are needed by me.

  • 10 should be number 1–join a group that doesn’t drink or use no matter what–first thing on your list–second thing, make a list of what you are going to do when your ass falls in sobriety, cause it will and don’t put drinking or using on that new list. As far a relationships go, they don’t give me character defects–they reveal them to me. They don’t get me drunk

  • What nonsense, especially #10. If I had the power to pickup or not, I wouldn’t be alcoholic or addicted, and I certainly wouldn’t have a First Step. Calling people, exercise, hobbies, therapy, relaxation and mentors are all good things, but none of them give me the power to control my disease. If they did, then by definition, I wouldn’t be alcoholic or addicted.

    Lack of power, that is our dilemma, We have to find a power by which we can live, and it has to be a Power greater than ourselves. No human power can relieve our alcoholism or addiction.

    While there is real value in going to meetings, engaging in prayer and meditation and in being of service to others, those things in and of themselves don’t keep us sober. What they do is help us find and maintain conscious contact with a Power greater than ourselves. All we have is a daily reprieve from our disease based on our spiritual condition.

    Be careful when you read overly simplistic slogans and cliches that lead to you believe that you can control and manage your disease on your own. If you can, then by definition you’re not an Alcoholic or an Addict. But if you are one of us, believing in such slogans and cliches is dangerous and can bury you.

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