What happens when you get past one year clean?
One year clean is hard to imagine. That is, when you get through your first day clean. An entire twenty-four hours is a huge accomplishment when it is your first day. You might not feel clean. It takes time to get the drugs out of your system. Then, there is the withdrawal and the cravings.
The addicted mind will play any kind of tricks possible to get back to taking drugs again.
It’s scary when you can’t trust your own thoughts. You start second guessing yourself and contemplating what you should really do. You will find ways to justify taking more drugs. Your reasons will even make sense to you. There is only one way to be sure which thoughts not to trust. The thoughts that lead you towards taking drugs again are lies. Those are the bad thoughts. No matter how much sense it makes, you must not act on it. Do not take drugs.
Put barriers between you and the drugs.
If drugs are readily available, you don’t stand a chance. Throw away and delete the numbers of people with whom you buy and use drugs. Get the remaining drugs out of your home. Find ways to make it complicated for you to get close to drugs. Get involved in a recovery program and make new friends who are clean.
Don’t think too much about being clean for one year when you are just starting out
When you think about staying clean for a year, it can seem like an eternity. Your mind may play tricks on you and use the long span of time ahead as a justification to go out and use drugs one more time. As time passes and you get more days, weeks and months clean, you may notice some changes. You don’t think about getting high all the time. Not that you don’t ever think about it. The thoughts and cravings can still be frequent and intense. But, they always pass. They go away.
Something magical happens at one year
It could happen much sooner for some people. It could happen at six months. Some people may have to hang in a bit longer than the one year mark. But, probably not much longer. Around one year clean, thoughts of using drugs drop off dramatically. The cravings start to fade away and become far less frequent. You realize that most of the time, you are not thinking about drugs. When you do think about them, you are more scared of the consequences than excited about the fleeting high. When you make it this far, your chances of further success are greatly improved.
So, why do people relapse after being clean for one year?
First, it is important to always remember that addiction is a chronic, long term condition. It can go into remission. If you stay clean long enough, you might feel like you are “normal” again. You think that you are finished with addiction. When the opportunity comes up to have a drink or get high, your addiction is triggered. As soon as you start using drugs again, you are right back in active addiction. The powerful benefits of your clean time are thrown away in an instant. The constant cravings start all over again. To get back to that peacefulness of a clear head that you had at one year clean is going to take a lot of work and time all over again.
Relapses are not always deadly
Always keep in mind that if you relapse, you could die. Especially if you take opioids, such as heroin or pain pills. If you do survive long enough to get some clean time again, you realize that you are starting all over again. It is like climbing out of a deep hole. You work hard to climb the walls towards the light. It takes a long time to climb and climb until, one day, you reach the top and climb out. A relapse is like jumping right in again, all the way to the bottom. It only takes an instant to throw away all of that time and hard work.
Hold on to the magic
Treasure your clean time. Value it. It is something special and something not to take lightly. Your addiction-fueled thoughts might tell you otherwise. Don’t listen to those thoughts. Each day you stay clean adds value to your priceless clean time. When you get past one year, your clean time is of immeasurable value. Remind yourself of that every day and do not let anything take it away from you. It is your most valuable possession.