What to expect when getting sober

When it comes to getting sober it isn’t a one size fits all deal. Everyone’s experience and situation is different and unique. However, there are a few things that can be expected, and should be considered when you’re ready to start recovery and journey toward sobriety.

Here are some things to expect when getting sober.


During the early stages of recovery you may experience withdrawal. The symptoms and their severity are different for everybody as well as for different substances. It’s important to understand that you may experience some physical and/or psychological withdrawal symptoms. These can begin within hours of your last use and they generally dissipate over the course of a week.

Depending on the substance/s you are withdrawing from you may benefit from a Detox and Withdrawal program which will ensure your safety during this time. Regardless of entering a program or not, it is a good idea to let those close to you know that you are ceasing the ongoing use of substances. It is also advised that you consult with a medical professional.

Some common physical symptoms that may be experienced include:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Shaky hands
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating / Chills
  • Rapid heart rate

There are also some psychological symptoms that can present during withdrawal:

  • Anxiety
  • Confusion / Difficulty thinking clearly
  • Moodswings
  • Poor concentration
  • Intense emotions – sadness, fear
  • Irritability


It’s vital for your recovery to start identifying your triggers. Think about people, places, situations, or things that you associate with your use. There may be certain ways of thinking or thought patterns that trigger cravings within you, or particular relationships, stress, employment, or financial issues.

Once you have identified your big risk triggers, you can begin making a plan for how you will avoid them or learn new ways to respond to them. It can be challenging to identify and learn new coping mechanisms for your triggers on your own. So, remember that you aren’t alone and counselling services are available to help you plan and prepare for your new sober life.


During your recovery period you will be getting to know yourself again. Previous ideas that you had about you may change as you find that some of the things you define yourself by are no longer in your life. It’s likely you will begin getting to know yourself in new ways. And, you might even start to like who you are and who you are becoming. You may notice that certain thoughts or feelings you once held no longer serve you, and you may also find some clarity in your thoughts that were once cloudy.


Be sure to take the time to acknowledge the work and effort that you have put into living your new, sober life. Set yourself some goals and moments to celebrate. Be sure to choose rewards that align with your new sober life; such as items you have wanted or experiences for you to try.

These little celebrations can help to remind you of why you embarked on this journey and encourage you to keep going. Not only does it give you a destination to focus on (just by taking small steps to get there), it also provides an opportunity for reflection and see just how far you have come.


When you start your recovery journey, there are many challenges and obstacles in your way. It can be difficult to push past the noise and keep progressing. Please remember that there is always support close by to help you every step of the way. We are here and ready to be your cheerleaders and guides when you need someone on the sidelines, “You can do it!”

If you would like to have a chat about what to expect when you are getting sober or you have any other questions, please call our team. They are available 24/7 to support you in your recovery.