Even though I am not sober for that long, my Recovery has changed a lot since I started it on December 16, 2015.
I believe I am still going through post acute withdrawal symptoms even if I don’t notice it. Although sometimes I do, like irritated digestive system and acid flux or when I sleep occasionally I have very bad nightmares. My face is still recovering from redness and it does get red sometimes. I have this weird theory that every few weeks my body goes into this mini withdrawal stage or more correct way to say it would be detox. That’s why i think I get all these symptoms. I am glad that my digestive issues are improving. I think alcohol has done a lot of damage due to constant vomiting and acid flux.
In my early days of recovery it was all about managing my intense feelings. They where crazy intense and overwhelming. I was sort of in panic too. I didn’t have a job anymore, I was scared that my only two parents will just suddenly die and I will be all alone. I remember calling my mom from rehab and asking her to bring me some stuff, she was at work so I was trying to leave her a voicemail message. My emotions where so intense that I tried to hold off my tears. I was just so depressed, guilty and in shock.
It’s easy to explain my depression. Alcohol is depressant. Detoxing meant I couldn’t use it anymore to deal with my depression. Its insane, I dealt with my depression all this time by using substance that caused most of my depression. So it begs a question was I depressed or drinking made me to be like that?
Guilt. I felt guilty because of what I have done. I lost my job at the hospital as environmental service technician(basically cleaner). I lasted like 3 months. I had a few close calls before I abandoned the job, that’s how I usually lost all of my jobs but I was able to get medical note so I did lasted…but it wasn’t always like that, at the beginning of my drinking career I was able to keep my job and work insane hours. I had to mention this because I never realized till now how it went downwards for me. I was just simply sucked in.At the end it was a norm for me, one night, after I would have saved up some money, I would get wasted to the point where I would be comfortable enough to give myself an excuse to quit my job just because it was becoming insanely hard for me to deal with hangovers at work and I just simply wanted to continue drinking and playing video games.
Shock. I was in shock mostly because it was insanely huge change for me. I believe I have surrendered in some way and was seriously looking way out. I was running from everything I have done. Rehab was safe heaven for me. I felt that I can hide from outside world, but it wasn’t all just nice. I was so stressed out mostly due to me feeling insane. It intensified my shock. I had to deal with these unknown people. I had no idea who the fuck they were and I was just scared of people back then. I still am, but I am getting much more comfortable now. I had hard time talking in groups and stuff. I think in some way I was so in shock that it made me very open to accepting change and implementing it.
So for the most part that’s what I was dealing with at the beginning: overwhelming feelings that I am sure had a big part of giving me urges and cravings, being guilty for loosing my job, messing up my life, sending that drunk message to one of my superiors before going to the hospital for detox and the shock that I was in when I went to rehab because of the sudden need to change everything.
After completing rehab my recovery plan was simple, go to as many alcoholics anonymous or smart recovery meetings and have perfect attendance in intensive outpatient program. Also it included dealing with my feelings and cravings. I was coming down from rehab, I have to say freedom flooded into my life and I was amazed how simple things like watching TV or or doing anything I want brought me pleasure. I felt like I was out of prison, but I was definitely thankful for everything rehab did to me.
The other thing I eventually picked up was coloring. Simply because I was becoming very bored with my life. That’s all I would do. Sobriety, sobriety and meetings. There would be days where I would go into depression because of this lifestyle. I had nothing else till I finally found a job. It helped a lot. Besides you cant do anything without money these days.
Job is a big thing, it keeps me occupied and gives me the sense of accomplishment. I enjoy being a good employee and not having to worry about the side effects of drinking. I don’t need to make any excuses anymore. It felt weird at first. I would always expect to have anxiety and all that bad stuff till finally got used to being free of alcohol poisoning. Job also helps me to be more social.
So how does my recovery has changed?
I feel that I actually do more for my recovery now then what I did when I started. Before it was just plain meetings. Now I have incorporated a lot of new stuff into my life. I don’t have to necessarily take out time that I devote only for the purpose of recovery. My recovery isnt just about abstinence anymore. I am trying to live a more balanced life. For example each day, three times a day I take my time, usually during breaks at work to just close my eyes, calm myself down and remind myself that there are many things that are out of my control. I kind of just surrender, especially if I am in bad mood or unwanted feelings like jealousy strike me. Instead of fighting everything, I just tell myself you know, I surrender at this point because I have many inabilities, I know I do my best…and I try to let all the thoughts pass me by which leads me to drifting asleep for 5-10 minutes. It doesn’t work every time but when it does its a jackpot. I completely reset my whole brain and mood. I feel that I just woke up and its a new day, all refreshed and with a new set of feelings.
I have been doing this for over 3 months now. I think its becoming a habit. Just like every good habit it took work to establish it. I think mostly is because I am always looking for instant gratification. Thats one of the reason why these things never had any appeal to me. I thought this is stupid, it wont do anything for me. I wouldn’t even give myself a chance to try it, that’s how against it I was.
I love audio books. Books dont have to be about alcohol, same topic gets old. I find that there are many things that I need to get better at. I am into self development books. They surely help me to see different perspective in life which is parallel with my recovery from alcohol. The other benefit of listening to the audio books is it helps me to fall asleep at night. Yes, its been my secret weapon against insomnia. I light up a candle, get my earphones up and listen to the smoothing voice. I don’t even notice when I fall asleep. I use this tactic for taking 30 minutes nap during the day as well. It helps me to fall asleep effortlessly. My another good habit that isn’t necessarily just about not drinking. It helps me to relax.
Establishing new habits and working on my goals. Thats a big one. I have more goals then just drinking. I want to establish new habits that will bring me happiness long term. I want to be more organized and be able to accomplish more things in life. By working on these things I help my recovery tremendously.
My recovery has changed because it isn’t just about abstaining from alcohol anymore. Only abstaining wont get me far even though its the core of being sober. I want this thing to be more fun. Why not have fun? I never put my best foot in front while I was in my addiction. I want to be my best. Working on all these things helps me to become more open minded to change thus my life gets less boring. Only change can bring more fresh air and I need a lot of it.