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Don't worry, it's normal if
in early sobriety ...
… you feel like your world just flipped upside down. Because it did! Getting sober is the biggest and best decision of your life and it’s a huge life changing decision!
With that decision comes a plethora of physical, chemical and emotional changes that are being processed by your body and mind and you feel like you have no idea what’s coming next. This is not forever. It’s for a short period while your brain and body balance out.
So, in case nobody told you, it’s normal in early sobriety to
feel terrified yet emboldened.
feel depressed but elated.
feel ashamed and proud.
feel both lost and found.
feel free yet overwhelmed.
feel seen and heard for the very first time, yet to want to remain anonymous.
have all the feelings and feel them with such intensity that you would do anything to make them go away,
cry, to rage, to dance, to laugh.
crave alcohol all the time, most of the time, some of the time, only during hard times, or never.
grieve your drinking days or feel sad that you will never drink alcohol again.
clutch on to straws that allow you to believe that if you can just ‘control’ your drinking that you may be able to drink again like someone who drinks non-alcoholically. N.B. You can’t. Sorry not sorry.
feel resentful that you have the disease of alcoholism, that you can’t drink alcohol normally like other people.
get through one minute at a time, one half hour at a time, one hour at a time, anything that works better for you than one day at a time.
experience the pink fluffy cloud of sobriety and feel the happiest you could possibly be.
not know how it’s going to work out and think that you are never going to make it (you are).
want all the benefits of a sober life immediately, without putting in the time and the work.
feel like you have the emotional maturity of the age that you started drinking as you are suddenly not using alcohol as a coping mechanism.
sleep deeply and soundly or have problems sleeping.
want to eat all the sugar! Or have lost your appetite.
have drinking dreams which frighten the life out of you but make you feel amazing once you realise it was just a dream.
struggle with sensory overload. When I first got sober, I found supermarkets so challenging. Way too much information, sound, light, colours and products for my readjusting brain to handle all at once. Not being able to cope in these environments freaked me out. I didn’t know my brain was going through a process of readjusting.
struggle with anxiety and restlessness. Remember to stay busy and keep in constant contact with your support group.
lose friends and make new friends.
berate yourself for past mistakes instead of championing your recovery.
Did any of this resonate with you? What did I miss? What would you add?
I hope it helps you to read that early sobriety feels like an emotional rollercoaster and that you absolutely are not expected to have it all figured out. You have the rest of your life to figure it out. Just focus on staying sober for now. Be kind to yourself. You just made the hardest, most worthwhile and most incredible change you ever could make. It’s overwhelming now but it won’t always be that way.
Thank you for reading My Secret Sobriety.