Fall is a season of change. While kids go back to school, the leaves change color and the days shorten. If you’re looking to get sober, it’s an advantageous time to do it, for a number of reasons.
Change and Nature
People make New Year’s resolutions because the start of a new year can prompt people to reflect. The same is true for birthdays or anniversaries, and the same can be true for new seasons—especially one where nature is changing along with us.
In fact, fall weather is perfect for getting outside, which is really helpful in early recovery. My first several months of sobriety, a friend and I went on hikes every weekend. I consider those hikes crucial for my early recovery. Being in nature can promote calm, and a sense of connectedness that may have been lost in active addiction.
Preparing for the Holidays
Getting sober in early fall means you’ll have a little time under your belt before the fall holidays. The holidays can be challenging for those of us in recovery, especially in the early days. They can be stressful and are often heavy on alcohol.
Having a couple months sober beforehand means you can practice some coping skills and learn what you can and cannot handle. This might mean knowing you’ll have to skip out on some holiday parties; that can be disappointing, but prioritizing your sobriety in the early stages is extra important. Or you might start to figure out what you need in order to be around others who are drinking and still feel okay.
Enjoying or Coping with Fall
The fall has so many wonderful things in it, between Halloween and pumpkin everything and crisp fall weather. These are things I’ve been able to enjoy in recovery that I couldn’t during active addiction. I was not present enough to notice or care. My sober date is August 1st; as my body started to feel better, we were in fall. Not being intoxicated through the first fall of my adult life was so exciting. Six years later, I still have very fond memories of that autumn.
That said, fall can be a difficult time for some people, as we anticipate winter and the days get shorter. While seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can impact people in any season, it typically comes on in the fall and winter months.
Falling back on drugs or alcohol can feel safer if that’s what you’re used to doing in hard times, but ultimately it makes things harder. If you struggle with this season, the colder days can be an invitation to stay inside and nurture yourself with quiet, restorative activities as you get used to being sober.
Every season has its benefits and challenges, but the start of a new one is always a great time to make a change. Recovery itself often feels like a new, wonderful season of your life.
If you are struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder, there is help and hope. TruHealing Centers offers high-quality treatment for mental health disorders and addiction in facilities across the country. Our staff—many of whom are in recovery themselves—will help you stay sober whatever season of your life you’re in. To learn more, call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.