THE FIRST WEEK OF SOBRIETY ~ MY EXPERIENCE
After I quit drinking alcohol and made it through the first day of sobriety, I began to write often and extensively in a daily journal.
Writing is therapeutic
The writing was therapeutic and one of the advantages is that I can look over what I wrote back then and summarize my first week of sobriety for the benefit of others, it’s also great to see how far I have come.
In the beginning of my first week of sobriety, I experienced a great deal of irritability and anger. When I decided to give up drinking I also chose to quit smoking at the same time, the two for me went hand in hand, so giving up both made sense, it was overwhelming because I didn’t have either vice to turn to.
THE HARDEST PART
The hardest part of the first week of sobriety was overcoming the constant negative self talk flooding my mind. It was exhausting, a journal entry I wrote at the time gives insight:
“I still don’t feel good, I feel tired and mentally strained. This is so tiring, It is hard enough to have given up drinking and smoking, now I have to deal with my naked mind. I just don’t know if I can do it, I guess this is the true test.”
Throughout the week I used exercise as a way to unwind and rid the pervasive negativity. I would go to the gym and work out for about an hour and a half each day. It helped.
I kept the negativity at bay by going for long walks. I named these walks ‘My Power Stomps’ (more about these in a future post). During the stomp I would attempt to quiet my mind by concentrating on ‘being present in the moment’ each time my mind wandered, I would force myself to bring my attention back to the present moment and fully concentrate on everything going on around me; the sounds I heard, the colors of the plants and flowers, It was a challenge but I was determined, by the end of the stomp I felt clear-headed. Power stomping eradicated the negative thoughts.
THE BIGGEST TEST
The biggest test of my sobriety came during the middle of the week, a family situation arose and I ended up feeling infuriated and misunderstood. The outcome of this was that I found it very difficult to handle the emotions I was feeling without turning to alcohol for respite. It was tough, all I wanted was a drink and cigarette to help forget about all the bothersome thoughts, feelings and emotions racing through my mind. My sobriety was really put to the test.
A few things helped to stop me from picking up a drink. I went for a very long walk until I cooled off, I literally stomped the anger away. I also constantly reminded myself that I had a ‘Zero Tolerance’ agreement with myself about alcohol. No matter what was going on I would not use alcohol to solve my problem. You can read more about ‘Zero Tolerance’ at Spiritual River, a website about overcoming alcohol and drug addiction.
Throughout the first week of sobriety, I made a huge effort to understand my emotions as opposed to acting on them. I found the best way to diminish any outbursts was to take long walks or turn to daily journal.
Much of the first week was spent thinking about how I had ended up in this situation, there was much thinking about my entire life and trying to figure out where it all began. I am not so sure that rethinking the whole of your life is helpful, it is more of a natural thought process that occurs when you quit drinking.
Towards the end of the first week, I was much less angry and irritable. I felt extremely proud of myself for making it through that length of time. I had enjoyed a few things and experienced some fun moments without alcohol. That was a huge deal!
I came to the conclusion that I needed more of a solid plan to help get me through the next week. (I will discuss this in the next post).
WHAT TO EXPECT THE FIRST WEEK OF SOBRIETY
Based on my experiences, I have a list of what to expect in the first week of sobriety, it gets much better after the first week!
- Negative Self Talk
- Cravings for alcohol
- A desire to be away from anyone who is drinking alcohol
- Fear of not being able to abstain from alcohol
- Worry about what others will think of you now that you have quit drinking
- A need to speak with someone who understands what you are going through
- A feeling of loss
TIPS FOR THE FIRST WEEK OF SOBRIETY
Based on my experience, here are some things you can do to combat all of the above:
- Go for long walks and do as much exercise as your schedule allows
- Plan your day by writing out a daily schedule
- Keep away from other drinkers
- Concentrate on getting through today and do not fixate on the future
- Speak regularly with someone that you trust; a friend, relative or AA Support group
- Educate yourself about alcohol recovery – Click here to see the most popular sobriety book on Amazon The 30-Day Sobriety Solution: How to Cut Back or Quit Drinking in the Privacy of Your Own Home written by Jack Canfield one of my favorite authors.
- Write in a journal each day
By making a constant effort to do these things, you will find that you maintain a higher level of enthusiastic sobriety which is essential if you truly want to quit drinking alcohol for good.
A great program to delve into is Magic in Your Mind by Bob Proctor and Mary Morrissey. This is an affiliate link for a program that I believe can be helpful especially during this first week. If you don’t have it in you to do all of the above, choose at least ONE thing! if you can, then throw everything at the wall this first week, try it all, your goal is to get through it without alcohol so that you realize YOU CAN DO IT! Let me know how you are getting on through your first week, share you tips and suggestions for making it through the first week of sobriety.
Thank you for visiting “Recovery Princess; Quit Drinking and Enjoy Sobriety