There is no benefit to lying about it; what happens when you first stop using drugs might be unpleasant. Especially for someone who has been using drugs for weeks, months, or years, it can take some time for the human body and brain to readjust. This adjustment period brings with it an array of withdrawal symptoms. However, withdrawal isn’t the only thing that happens when you stop using drugs. Consider how the change may affect your family, friends, career, and your whole life trajectory. What will happen 1 month, 1 year, 10 years after you stop using drugs? 

The First Days After You Stop Using Drugs

The first days of recovery typically revolve around immediate issues: withdrawal and relapse prevention. Will withdrawal symptoms develop, how bad will they be, and how long will they last? For someone who only occasionally uses drugs, these first few days may not be very dramatic. On the other end of the spectrum, individuals who have been habitually using drugs for years may experience severe physical and mental effects during these first days.  Depending on the drugs used, the possible symptoms that will develop may range from anxiety and nausea to hallucinations and irregular heart rhythm. Symptoms get worse over the first few days before they start to get better. For most individuals, detoxification has subsided within 10-14 days.

The First Months After Quitting Drugs

For anyone who abuses drugs, the first weeks and months after making the change to stop using drugs can be challenging. For heavy drug users, this time may still be met with lingering physical and emotional symptoms because the mind and body are still healing. Still, during this time, the focus should be on developing new tools, skills, and habits for relapse prevention. Getting through day-to-day life is going to look and feel different and having support is critical. This also may be a time when you start to work with a therapist to dive into any underlying mental issues, past traumas, or abuse that could be contributing to your substance abuse. Early recovery is a time met with intense emotions and transitions, but it can also be very rewarding and healing.

The Years After Abusing Drugs

Achieving 1, 2, 5, 20 years of sobriety opens up the doors to so many opportunities that you may not have otherwise had. A cleared mind, humbled outlook, and focused goals are some of the things that people in recovery express happening in the years after they stop using drugs. Physical and psychological healing continues to take place for some time after getting sober. There will likely be many challenging along this journey, but if you allow it, there will also be a great deal of joy and gratitude. It’s the things that take time which are often the most rewarding, such as rebuilding relationships with family, settling outstanding debts, and building a successful career. 

The sooner you make the choice to get help, the sooner you will get to the good things that happen when you stop using drugs. Don’t wait another day, get help today!