Those early days of sobriety can be quite challenging. I still remember them clearly, as I was painfully white-knuckling it through each day. From the time after I returned home from work, to the time that I went back to work, was the hardest part of the day. My anxiety levels were through the roof. I wanted to drink all the time. I could not think rationally and I was extremely fidgety. However, the absolute worst were the sweaty, sleepless nights, spent tossing and turning while desperately trying to get just a little bit of rest.
Nevertheless, I pushed on through and after the initial week of mild alcohol withdrawals*, the haze started to lift, and I began to feel better. Much, much better.
The very first month of sobriety is often filled with many changes, some very pleasant and some not so much. The good news is that it gets better and you really start seeing all the positive aspects of quitting drinking! What helped me the most was to break down my days into smaller increments – sometimes minutes, sometimes hours, but no more than 24 hours at a time. This technique really helped to keep my mind focused on just not drinking instead of feeling overwhelmed about my road ahead. Little by little I made changes that helped me along the way – I found support and attended meetings which turned out to be crucial to my survival in those early days.
There were many things that I learned early on and here are the ones I found the most helpful:
15 things that you will learn in your first month without alcohol:
- Getting sober is often harder than you imagined.
- The cravings for alcohol can be quite overwhelming.
- Practically everything around you can be a drinking trigger.
- Alcohol is not your best friend, but your worst enemy.
- Doing something for the first time without drinking is the hardest.
- Isolating is a sure trap and a possible trigger for a relapse.
- Bad days happen, just like good days. This is a part of life.
- Going to events that will include drinking can be excruciating difficult.
- You really can say NO to a party invitation. Really, you can!
- You are not the only person in the world that does not drink.
- It is none of anyone’s business why you are quitting drinking.
- This is really not the worse thing that could ever happen to you.
- It is amazing how much productive work you can get done when you are not hungover.
- Life is definitely not as awful without alcohol as you might have first believed.
- YOU are far stronger than you think.
Bonus: 16. YOU REALLY CAN DO THIS!
No matter how you get sober, or what program you follow if any, take good care of yourself. You have been unwell for a while and it will take a while for you to get better. However, if you continue to stay sober, you will start to see the changes in your life! You will not only be sleeping better and feeling better but you will also have whole new outlook for your future!
*Important note: If you choose to start the path to recovery, and if you have been drinking large amounts of alcohol for a long time, it may be best to see a doctor, or check into a detox center, or your local hospital. Do not try to stop drinking suddenly — alcohol withdrawal can potentially be deadly. If you start experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms (panic attacks, rapid heartbeat, severe anxiety, the shakes) you should seek immediate medical assistance. The condition could potentially deteriorate to Delirium Tremens (DT’s), which can be deadly, if left untreated.
If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with alcohol addiction, please click the Find Support link for an extensive list of support groups. Also please check out the links to many useful resources in the sidebar, and always feel free to contact me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may also find some great inspiration and support from all the awesome sober bloggers listed in the side bar under POSTS I LIKE and RECOVERY BLOGGERS, as well as Sober Courage page on Facebook and Sober Courage on Twitter.