When your loved one gets clean, what's the next biggest hurdle?



It’s never just the substance, is it? There are emotional or financial or mental or social (etc.) undercurrents… What’s been your experience after a loved one gets clean from substances?


It’s important to get them in meetings. I’ve always been told, 90 meetings in 90 days!! Just one meeting a day min for the first 3 months. There are tons of meetings at all hours around the Valley in AZ. Point is, don’t stop the support! We as friends & family can quickly find ourselves in a bad spot, because we either don’t see the pre warnings or choose not to, hoping it’ll pass. It WON’T without the support. AA, CA, NA, etc have a better understanding of addiction, as they’ve lived it. Also important to get a personal sponser@! All meetings & sponsors are FREE


OMG. Yes. This.

For me it was realizing that everything wasn’t going to magically get better when the drug was removed.

He still doesn’t want to be a morning person? What? :wink:

It’s a slow grind but it’s been worth it so far <3


This is such a great question! So often the idea is that if our loved ones go into treatment, they’ll get sober, come home, and stay sober. I wish that was the reality. There’s so much work to be done after initial early recovery, especially focused on working on the underlying reasons why our loved ones used in the first place.

Here’s some psychoeducation on this topic.
Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome aka PAWS
Depending on the drug of choice, the amount taken, and the length of time our loved one used this substance, brain healing times can vary. Generally, recovery from the nervous system damage can take anywhere from 6 months to 24 months with the help of a healthy recovery program. Having emotional and sober support for our loved ones really helps once they get clean.

When our loved ones first get sober, they may go through a period of stabilization from acute withdrawal from their drug of choice. Something called Post Acute Withdrawal Symptoms (PAWS) is a group of symptoms that occur after acute withdrawal - symptoms that may appear seven to fourteen days into abstinence. PAWS results from a combination of damage to their nervous system from years of substance abuse as well as the stress faced when coping with life without drugs or alcohol. PAWS can peak in intensity over three to six months after abstinence begins. This amount of time can be overwhelming, but I’m sharing it in order to normalize that we may see our loved ones struggle a bit more than anticipated in recovery.

The most identifiable trait of PAWS is an inability to solve usually simple problems (this can lead to diminished self-esteem). There are six major categories that contribute to this:
1. Difficulty in thinking clearly (difficulty concentrating, impairment of abstract thinking, thoughts going around and around in head without the ability to break the circular thinking and put thoughts together in an orderly way)
2. Difficulty in managing feelings and emotions (feeling numb aka: anhedonic, strong feelings for no reason, mood swings, depression, fear/anxiety, and strong anger/resentment)
3. Difficulty remembering things (forgetting things within a short amount of time as well as new skills, not remember important childhood/adulthood events)
4. Difficulty with physical coordination (dizziness, trouble with balance, hand-eye coordination, slow reflexes, clumsiness, prone to accidents)
5. Difficulty in sleeping restfully (difficulty falling asleep, unusual or disturbing dreams, waking during the night, not feeling rested/always feeling tired, sleeping for very long periods of time)
6. Difficulty managing stress (can’t recognize minor signs of stress, inability to relax when stress is recognized, overwhelming impact of stress on self physically and mentally)

Keep in mind that in time the brain does heal! As someone supporting a loved one, it may be helpful to look into ways you can learn to be patient and cope during this period of behavioral change.

A note from Village :love_letter: : Our Coaches are trained in the leading evidence-based methods. If you’re interested to learn more about Coach Erica, click here.