When I first decided to get sober and check into rehab, I was overcome with all these intense feelings. I was used to numbing myself, so this was completely new for me, especially since I was processing a million different emotions all at once.
Those first few months were difficult, but so worth it!
This is Where the Real Work Begins
Here are six things I learned early in recovery that helped me face life’s everyday challenges (and stay sober):
- Lesson #1 I’m going to be uncomfortable.
This one was difficult for me, at least in the beginning. In the past, when I felt uncomfortable, I drank. Now that I was sober, I had to power through a lot of uncomfortable situations, like speaking at my first meeting and letting new people get to know me without the crutch of alcohol. Eventually, I became comfortable in my own skin, and that’s one of the greatest things recovery has given me.
- Lesson #2 Not everyone is going to accept my apology.
A large part of Alcoholics Anonymous is making amends, which scared me. I’d done some terrible things and I was terrified to try and make things right. The program taught me that it isn’t about having the person accept your apology, it’s about owning your mistakes. Some people shocked me and had amazing things to say, others had nothing to say at all, and that’s okay because I cleaned my side of the street.
- Lesson #3 Some people aren’t meant to be in my life.
I had a tendency to hang on to things/people far past their expiration date, which made for some very toxic relationships. Just because I cut someone out of my life doesn’t mean I hate them or regret my time with them, it just means they were a chapter of my life that has come to an end…and it’s okay. In fact, it’s actually normal to move on without them.
- Lesson #4 Things will still go wrong.
Just because I got sober doesn’t mean that things miraculously became all rainbows and butterflies. In fact, it was quite the opposite. Tough things happened; I ended a relationship with someone who was a huge part of my life, lost my job and faced terrible moments from my past. Only now I was sober and able to deal with these things in a healthy way (and with a clear head).
- Lesson #5 Sobriety is something I have to work at EVERYDAY.
I’ve been sober for over two years, but that doesn’t mean I’ve got this in the bag. I work on my recovery every single day. I have to fight off daydreams about drinking like a “normal” person because I know that’s never going to happen. I accept this is my “normal” and move on.
- Lesson #6 My recovery is just that, mine!
I know that I can’t stay sober without the tools I gained in those first few months. Just because something works for you doesn’t mean it’s going to work for me and vice versa. Getting sober forced me to make some uncomfortable changes, which in turn made my life so much better and got me to where I am today.
Additional Reading: 5 Things to Remember When Sobriety Doesn’t Come Easy
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