Saturday, February 4, 2012

Recovery Phasing

So I've been wondering lately what the hell is wrong with me (just in case you've been missing my previous posts).  I thought I had this sober thing figured out after being off the sauce for two years.  However...I've come to realize that sobriety and recovery (for me at least) is likely going to take a phased approached. 
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.
Note:  There are two options here - relapse or move on.  Twice I relapsed (proceed directly to week 1...do not pass go, do not collect $200).  Finally I stuck with it and I found the aforementioned M&M's...lots and lots of M&M's.  Oh and some shopping...lots of shopping and spending of the money we didn't have.
  • 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.

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