It has been 6 months since my last drink. That is half a cake. The layers of the paper mache mask that grew over time have been removed. Now I get to look inside of me and see who the real person is that was hiding and buried for so long.
Looking back now and as every additional day, week and month advances my soul gets stronger. My mind is clearer. My body is so strong. Does this mean I am free and clear? No. We will get to that at the end.
This is a recap of the past 6 months as it unfolded. It outlines what someone in their 1st month might experience and links to my sobriety journey might find helpful as a map or guide. To be clear – NOT ALL EXPERIENCES are the same but I have seen others experiencing significant and similar feelings and changes along the way.
- This is when I worked with a coach. Without a coach, I would recommend getting to a 12-step meeting and/or find someone who you know and trust is sober and ask them where to start.
- Not feeling up to a meeting or strong enough to reach out? Go online. www.stepchat.com is a great place to be anonymous and ask questions; Facebook friends? Private groups can help. Ask me about those.
- Read a book. Love rock-n-roll? See my list of recommended reads. Feel like a boozy housewife? There are books for you too. I read books. All the time.
- Don’t like to read? Watch a movie. See my list of recommended movies. Not sure you are alcoholic? I recommend 28 Days with Sandra Bullock. I watched movies, all the time.
- And my favorite, PODCASTs.
I was NOT sure I was an alcoholic. I realized that I was as soon as I got through a few of the above and did more research that what I suspected for a LONG time – was true. Once recognizing my alcoholic nature, I was able to do MORE research, MORE meetings and MORE well…of this. Opening up.
Without continuous work, recognizing gratitude, being gentle with my moods and myself – I would have relapsed very quickly.
The FIRST 30 DAYS WERE A FOG. I was a walking zombie of the apocalypse. My brain mass literally felt foggy. I shuddered all the time (PAWS) when I thought of a drink and just felt lost. I had NOTHING to prove either. The surrender of my condition had already begun.
- PAWS (Post-acute withdrawal symptoms) was still pretty obvious. I shudder a lot. I still do. When I think about alcohol in it’s physical form I get a deep shudder as if a ghost has gone through me. It is pretty powerful and reminds me of it’s hold.
- Day 42-47 I write about denial seeping in and almost relapsing. You begin to forget why you started to begin with. You begin to feel better. It can be a dangerous time. Also this is around the time when I started to lose my patience. Irritability was settling in my new brain.
- Day 60, I felt horrible. PAWS was bad. Irritability, restlessness and discontent were rabid. I didn’t know which way to go. Meetings helped and also, self-care. Super critical time to appreciate your body and mind.
- Still reading books and still watching documents and movies, listening to podcasts, created blog and found my core AA meetings. I got the tools NOW rid of the madness.
- Holidays. Lot’s of them. We had – Halloween, thanksgiving and Christmas coming. I focused on eating. I forgave myself for eating more ice cream and muffin tops than I ever thought possible.
- I kept a schedule.
- I learned to reach out a little.
- At the 90 day mark I felt so relieved. I NEVER thought I would make it to 90 days. This is a BIG milestone. It meant more than anything else to date in my sobriety.
- I was blogging every week and reaching out online and of course, meetings. Podcasts.
Days 90 – 120
- I found a sponsor. Nobody says you have to find one the first day. You could get a temporary sponsor. Someone to at least talk to when you need the early help.
- I spoke at my first commitment. I got up and spoke about my experience, strength and hope. It was OK. It was a rite of passage. The second time I spoke I was a wreck.
Either way, sharing a story sometimes will help someone else. This is why it is done.
- Day 120 – I being experiencing a little dry drunk symptoms. Must keep blogging.Must keep working at my recovery.
On to Six months –
I am just really focused on the future and continued survival.
Do I ever worry about relapse? All the time.
How much work do I have left? I have a LOT of work to continue to do. I plan a lifetime of support and giving in my sobriety as well as continued reaching out for my sanity. I am only on Step 4 in the Big Book and I am far from done blogging.
How does being with other people and around alcohol feel? Feels fine. I can pretty much ignore it. There are days when I will sniff it, drool over it and I catch myself building reservations about it. Like “when I go down, I go down with a bottle of Patron” – drooling right now.
If you are still reading this. Keep going. Keep coming.