What Happens After 6 Months of Sobriety?
The journey to recovery from alcoholism or other kinds of substance abuse is often marked by sobriety milestones. Addiction counselors use these milestones to guide treatment plans along. This is largely based on the chip tradition established by Alcoholics Anonymous and its 12-step program. Color-coded chips are given to AA members when they reach monthly milestones of sobriety—for example, red chips after one month and blue chips after six months. Getting a blue chip from fellow AA members is a big deal because the six-month milestone firmly suggests a lifetime of sobriety is within reach. Getting to this point isn’t always easy, but it’s certainly worth it. Let’s review some of the physiological, psychological, and social effects associated with sobriety after six months.
Unless you’re severely affected by mental issues such as depression and anxiety, your sleep patterns after six months of addiction recovery should be back to normal and more in tune with your natural circadian rhythm. Many patients who enter Solana Beach sober living housing find it difficult to sleep when they get started with rehabilitation, but sobriety tends to guide the central nervous system toward restful sleep after a few weeks. By the sixth month of recovery, most individuals enjoy rejuvenating sleep with normal rapid-eye movement (REM) cycles that keep neurons and synapses healthy.
Pink Cloud Syndrome
This is another AA hallmark term that anecdotally describes a positive yet potentially misleading dopamine imbalance. Pink cloud syndrome typically sets in a few months into recovery and involves people feeling extremely happy, excited, and overconfident about their newfound sober lives. Researchers in the Philippines have associated pink cloud syndrome with a swift increase in dopamine and serotonin levels, and it can make you feel invincible. While this is a good feeling, it can also lead to irrational decisions, such as abruptly abandoning AA meetings or counseling sessions. Should the euphoric flow stop rapidly, people may be at risk for falling into post-acute withdrawal syndrome, which can in turn put sobriety at risk.
Improved Liver Function
Steatosis, hepatitis, and cirrhosis are liver conditions often caused by chronic alcoholism and substance abuse. Mixing liquor with stimulants such as cocaine and methamphetamine forces the liver to work overtime as it metabolizes psychoactive molecules while trying to get rid of toxins. This can in turn result in the accumulation of fat cells and inflammation. Under normal conditions, the liver can start getting back to normal in about four to five weeks. After six months, all the excess fat cells should have been excreted, and people should no longer experience symptoms such as nagging stomach pain and lingering nausea.
Alcoholics and addicts who become estranged from loved ones don’t immediately realize their impaired behavior is what caused the estrangement in the first place. It can take a few months for such realizations to emerge. Once this happens, many individuals take it upon themselves to mend and rekindle damaged relationships, and they find sobriety makes the process easier. In cases when relationships have been broken beyond repair, sobriety makes it easier to accept such realities.
If you’re newly sober and you need help with avoiding relapse, call on the compassionate team at Casa Pacifica. Along with providing sober living housing for men in Solana Beach, we work with our individual residents to develop customized plans that integrate treatment, aftercare, and recovery support. Our services include sober companionship, coaching, and mentorship for those who are recovering from addiction to alcohol and other drugs. For more information about our sober living facilities, call us today at (760) 230-2996.