My recovery thus far has looked something like this -
- Week 1 - Withdrawal.
- No need for detox (I hadn't gotten quite that far yet), but definitely not fun.
- Week 2 - Honeymoon.
- Now I'm feeling so proud of myself! I'm doing it! My kids are loving it and so am I. Man this is easy. Sobriety is great. No more hangovers. Thank you God.
- Weeks 3-12 - Settling in.
- I'm learning to live Chardonnay free (oh yes...I was a very discriminate drinker). Learning that there is life after alcohol. Learning that while it's uncomfortable, it's definitely doable. So doable in fact I think I must not be as bad as I thought I was. I must only have been a problem drinker rather than an alcoholic. Boy is that a relief. Now where did I put those M&M's?
- MONTHS 3-4 - Slippery Slope
- This is where it got a little wonky. This is where I began to believe the crap my brain had been cooking up in the last few weeks. Maybe I can drink. I can control it. I controlled it for years right? I didn't always drink this way...maybe I can go back to the way it was.
- Months 4-12 - Navigating the waters of sobriety.
- Still thinking I'm only a problem drinker but just in case my brain starts up it's crap again I'm getting some insurance. I'll get my sober date tattooed on my right wrist (my drinking hand) to act as a reminder. (This was the best thing I ever did and I highly recommend it to anyone struggling to stay sober.)
- I'm deciding who I should tell about my problem drinking and who not to tell. How do I explain the tattoo? "I decided to set a better example for my children." "I thought that if I didn't quit I might have a problem in the coming years." "I decided that I liked drinking a little too much." What a load of pure, unadulterated, batshit.
- Year 2 - Riding a wave of self-righteousness.
- I am supreme. I am invincible. I am sober woman! And all without AA. I have gotten in touch with my emotions and everything is under C.O.N.T.R.O.L.
Now I'm beginning my third year of sobriety and I am one big freaking mess all over again. Two steps forward, one big step back...to AA and, I hope, to real recovery, not just sobriety. No M&M's. No shopping. No other "soothers". Just me and my addicted self in a room full of people just like me. We'll see what this phase looks like because while I'm certain I will never drink again, I'm not so certain that I will ever fully recover.