A Day in My Life: This is What Alcohol Recovery Looks Like

After reading A Day in My Life: Addicted to Alcohol, you’ve seen a glimpse of what my life was like as I tried to ease my pain and the pain of those I loved.

In my active addiction, I did so many terrible things – I hurt my family and close friends, I racked up tens of thousands of dollars of debt, and changed into a person I didn’t recognize. I was deeply depressed, constantly anxious, and suffering from alcohol poisoning.

It was at this point – completely broken – that I reached a place of surrender and started my journey of alcohol recovery.

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Detox and Treatment is the Answer

I don’t think that I, or my family, realized just how seriously I was addicted to alcohol.

I was drinking about four bottles of wine a day (more on weekends), and I had a major physical dependence on booze. I felt unwell when I suddenly stopped drinking.

The weekend I binged on 14 bottles of wine was quite possibly the most physically and emotionally painful (and dangerous) moment of my life. I very stupidly detoxed on my bathroom floor. 

I say “stupid” not to be unnecessarily mean to myself, but to highlight the great risk that I took in doing this. Suddenly stopping drinking is very dangerous and can cause seizures and even death. It should, under no circumstances, be attempted without medical supervision and addiction experts. 

It is an absolute miracle that I survived. It felt like I was given a new lease of life.

The First Step Toward a Brand New Life

Once I finally stopped shaking and vomiting, and was able to keep down a little food and water, I walked through the doors of my first Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting. This was the biggest first step of my life, and so began my alcohol recovery. 

By taking that step, I was saying “yes” to recovery and “no” to the pain of addiction. It was a huge leap of faith. But it wasn’t easy. Recovery, especially in the early stages, is very challenging. And that means we need a lot of support.

What Early Alcohol Recovery Looks Like

Walking through the doors of AA was undoubtedly the right thing to do. I would do it again today without hesitation. But I would be sugar coating recovery by presenting a day in my life with rose-tinted glasses. 

My life in those days was a slog, but that was still better than the dreary existence of obliterating my life – and the lives of those who loved me – by being stuck in the cycle of addiction.

My life in those days was a slog, but that was still better than the dreary existence of obliterating my life – and the lives of those who loved me – by being stuck in the cycle of addiction.

After I walked through the doors of AA, I did everything that was suggested, and I did it right away: I got a sponsor, I worked the steps, I went to 90 meetings in 90 days, I went to the meetings after the meetings (in coffee shops), and I took up several service positions serving tea and coffee in meetings. It was also fortunate that I’d stopped work for 90 days to focus solely on my alcohol recovery. 

If I wasn’t in a meeting or in a coffee shop with AA fellowship members, I was doing recovery-related work or reading. I walked a lot. I rested. I cleaned my apartment from top-to-bottom. I found myself occupying every minute of every day to avoid returning to addiction. 

Working the Steps

Working the steps was no easy task. It required an honest and thorough inventory of my life in addiction and I had to find the courage to share these harms with a sponsor. It felt embarrassing to face all of the terrible things I did in my recovery, but I did. I saw that process as a gateway to a life in recovery, and that was true. 

Working the steps, as well as hundreds of hours of therapy, has given me just that: a really fulfilling life in recovery free from the obsession to use alcohol or any other drugs. 

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Therapy as a Pathway of Recovery

I don’t attend meetings anymore, as I use therapy as my pathway of recovery. While AA was very helpful for the first few years of alcohol recovery, I needed more professional help to better regulate my emotions and learn more effective ways to have relationships and cope with stress. 

Since starting therapy, I learned that I have complex PTSD. It caused much of the depression and anxiety I sought to medicate with alcohol and drugs. This diagnosis has been life-changing. Therapy has helped give me the tools to understand what happens in my body and mind and taught me how to respond in a way that is nurturing rather than harmful. 

Throughout my alcohol recovery, I have been through some very stressful times: I lost a parent, I moved to a new country, I started a business, I went to grad school, and I lost a lot of relationships through no fault of my own. 

One of the greatest gifts of recovery has been connecting to myself and learning how to take care of myself. It has not been easy, but it has certainly been worth it. And I wouldn’t want to change it! 

If you or a loved one are struggling with a substance use disorder, reach out for help. Trust me, it will be the best decision you ever make for yourself. Help is available. Call 800-839-1686Who Answers? today to speak with a treatment specialist.

 

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