My first few weeks of sobriety were rough to say the least. I felt raw and exposed with nowhere to run. Looking back on the first few weeks without alcohol, I realize I was “white knuckling” through life. I knew quitting was the best for me, but I couldn’t see the positives in getting on the wagon in early sobriety. I wasn’t sleeping well and when I did get some shut-eye, I would have bizarre dreams. I suffered from crippling headaches and became really forgetful. I was short fused with my family. I cried all the time. At the time, it was hard to see the positives that were happening.
After a very necessary conversation my husband had with me three weeks into my sobriety, I began to seek out activities that brought peace and healing within. He essentially told me that since I chose to quit drinking, I didn’t have a single good thing to say about it and it was time to work on being more positive. He was absolutely right. It was time to stop being a dry drunk and start actually recovering.
So that’s exactly what I did… I began seeking recovery!
Below are a few things that helped me through the first few months of sobriety.
Even through my active drinking, I kept a good workout routine. I now rely on that natural serotonin and endorphin boost that I achieve with a heart pumping workout. I belong to our local YMCA and I absolutely love the sense of community it offers. The Y has a kid zone, so my daughter can spend time with peers while I take a class. I enjoy fitness classes that combine strength and cardio. I also love the trainers who help guide the class and push us to give it our all. The group setting doesn’t allow me to slack off in my workout.
Toward the end of my drinking run, I boozed at home most of the time. When the sun went down, the urge would hit and I would open a bottle of wine or a beer and begin the bingeing. When I quit drinking, I would go to bed after our daughter went to bed. It took some time for me to quit associating night time to drinking at home, so to avoid that urge, I would hole up in our bedroom. I didn’t sleep well the first week or so, but when I began to establish a better workout routine, I started sleeping more soundly. When I woke up, I felt refreshed not groggy. I hadn’t felt so refreshed in years!
In order to improve the usage of my down time, I began devouring books. My go to genres include; self help books, nutrition books, thrillers, and science fiction. However, I really found comfort in reading about books about women who were in recovery. The first week of sobriety, I read Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle. Her book knocked the wind out of me with how brutally honest she was to herself and her audience. That book was exactly what I needed in the first week to keep going. I wanted to be authentic again to learn who I was without the barrier of alcohol to soften the blow of life. I needed to be present again to participate in living no matter how much it hurt. To achieve living in my truth, the booze needed to go. I had no idea how to be sober, but she helped to guide me in the right direction. Reading allowed me to stop obsessing about drinking and focus on other stories.
I Built a Sober Community
I did not know many people in recovery when I quit drinking. Most people in my life drink. I needed sober sisters fast. I joined women’s recovery closed groups on Facebook. I joined mama groups as well. I made an Instagram page geared toward recovery and clean living which helped attract a group of other sober people. Sobriety Instagram pages are full of stories of recovery, inspirational quotes, and others sharing what keeps them clean. I also attended a few AA meetings. The meetings helped me see what long term sobriety looks like. Listening to others share their stories about how their lives are fulfilling without alcohol was so important for me to hear in the early stages of my sobriety.
I Created a Pinboard
The day I decided to quit drinking, I started a private page on Pinterest where I posted inspirational quotes about sobriety, books to read about quitting drinking and sober blogs to visit. Having a lock on the Pinterest page meant no one else could see it but me. I visited that page every night the first few weeks to help me prepare for the next day of deciding not to drink. As cheesy as it sounds, it was a pin board cheering me on with funny or inspiring words.
If you in the first weeks in recovery and are feeling lost, just know you aren’t alone. I felt completely lost, but kept digging for things to make me more comfortable in my own skin. Keep seeking. Keep searching.