grounghog1Very early sobriety sucks. There’s no other way to say it. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. What made it worse was that I had to do my first 30 days in recovery over and over again. It was like the movie Groundhog Day with Bill Murray, I’d wake up and think “Oh f**K, I have do do this all over again.” Each time I swore would be the last, each time I was going to do it different, but to make matters worse, the more ‘do-overs’ I had, the harder it seemed to get.

As I mentioned earlier in this blog, I had many a relapse before I actually ‘got this’ – so getting through that first month is no stranger to me. What helped me was to go right back to an AA meeting and ‘fess up’. The longer I left it, the harder it would be. So very reluctantly I’d go and raise my hand when they asked if there was anyone in their first 30 days – it seemed I did this so many times that people would just automatically look at me when the question was asked – (I could have been a teensy bit paranoid too) but I had to be honest or I’d get nowhere. Instead of telling me to ‘get a life’ and stop wasting their time the people in those rooms actually welcomed me back, they even clapped, I felt like shit, I wanted to curl up and die, I was ceratin they were thinking ”what a loser – she’s never going to get more than thirty days, she’s a waste of time.”

I’m happy to say that I was wrong about that last part – the people in those meetings saved my life, the friends that I had made already before my relapses, saved my life. They didn’t judge me, they didn’t tell me that I wasn’t welcome there anymore. Instead, they hugged me, they asked if I wanted to talk and gave me their phone numbers, they suggested that I get a Sponsor, they asked me to come early to the group the next day so I’d get to know people and best of all they told me to ‘keep coming back’ no matter what the hell happened-so I did.

If it wasn’t for those people I don’t think that I would be here today, because my pride would have prevented me from walking back into that Twelve-Step meeting, my fear would have kept my hand in my lap instead of raising it as a newcomer and my ego would have told me that people thought that I was a waste of time. Thankfully, the people in those rooms of AA were able to squash all that ‘chatter in my head’, so my ego didn’t get a chance to get in the way of my recovery.

I learned many things from relapsing: the bad things were that my disease wants me drunk, it wants to isolate me, it lies to me and tells me I can have just one drink and it wants to keep me away from people who might be good for my sobriety. The good things I learned: as soon as I relapsed I had to get my ass back to a meeting, tell the truth about what happened, get on safe ground with people who could direct me to the next best thing for my sobriety, listen to their suggestions and do what they said, such as 90 meetings in 90 days and starting over with a sponsor to work on the Twelve-Steps.

When I told them that I didn’t believe I could stay sober because I always relapsed, they would say ‘Fake it ’til you make it’ ¬†– I didn’t understand what that meant, but as I got a little time in recovery behind me, I realized what they were saying and it was that even if I didn’t believe in the process, if I didn’t believe that this Twelve-Step Program would work for me, that I should go through the motions anyway. I could fake my belief in the process and keep coming back until the penny dropped – so I did what they suggested and finally out of the blue, the penny well and truly dropped and I didn’t have to raise my hand anymore – except to say that I had one year sober and then two…

For more suggestions on the first 30 days, click here

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