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30 Days Sober – What To Expect When You Quit Drinking

If you’ve been toying around with the idea that maybe your drinking has become a problem and maybe you should consider quitting, let me first say that I have been there. A lot of people have.

In fact, there are an estimated 208 million people suffering from alcoholism worldwide.

If the word ‘alcoholism’ or ‘alcoholic’ seems really big and scary, I totally get that, too. The good news is you don’t have to identify as an alcoholic to want to get sober. 

There is no single universal experience when it comes to sobriety. But there are some things you will likely experience at one point or another in the first 30 days of your sobriety.

On December 19, 2016, I promised myself that I was finished playing around. No more relapses. No more bi-monthly bingeing.

I was going to take my sobriety seriously and go all in. The thirty days that followed were a roller coaster filled with lessons and insights.

And now, with nearly six years of sobriety under my belt and a wealth of knowledge gained along the way, I want to help you understand what lies ahead and how to keep going.

This is a bigger article, so if you want to skip ahead, feel free to use the table of contents below.

The First Week of Sobriety

The first week of sobriety was a mixed bag. On the one hand, I was excited to embark on a new journey. On the other, Christmas was around the corner. That was going to be challenging.

After work, you could reliably catch me in the gym. I was writing again. I behaved like many of us do on January 1st as we tackle New Year’s resolutions.

Hope is a helluva drug – as is novelty.

Our brains are wired to love new things. It’s why traveling or moving to a new place can be such a rush. 

So when we decide to do something bold and daring, like quitting alcohol, we are met with one of two emotions (normally) – fear or excitement. Physiologically speaking, there isn’t a huge difference between the two of them, which is what makes anxiety such a rollercoaster.

You’re either riding the wave by doing all the things or you’re freaking out at the thought of dodging the liquor store on your way home from work. 

A woman in blue scale shrugging her shoulders. There are two graphics around her head: a calendar with 30 days and a wine bottle and glass behind a circle slash. The title reads 30 Days Sober: What to expect + tips to keep going
30 Days Sober: What To Expect

Anxiety is normal in the first week of sobriety.

I attempted to quit drinking alcohol several times before succeeding and experienced both emotional extremes.

There were times I tried to quit and became so riddled with anxiety I didn’t make it past the first 36 hours. 

I’ve also experienced the opposite when the first few days were surprisingly “easy.” (Although that bubble does burst eventually.)

Your experience will depend on a number of factors including how much you drink, how long you’ve drank, height, weight, tolerance, and genetics.

The reason why you experience heightened anxiety and depression after quitting alcohol has to do with the way alcohol changes your brain.

Alcohol disrupts your brain chemistry and impairs your ability to regulate mood and stress. One way it does this is by flooding your brain with dopamine when you drink.

Your brain likes balance. Alcohol disrupts that balance. To compensate for the chemical flood of dopamine, your brain produces less of it on its own. This is why you might experience hangxiety or depressed mood after a night of heavy drinking.

When you quit drinking, especially after having drunk for a long time, it takes a while for your brain to adjust. And sometimes that looks like the week from hell when you are riddled with anxiety.

It goes away, but if you are struggling to manage it, don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about medication for anxiety.

Managing Cravings in the First Week of Sobriety

Towards the end of the first week, I came back down to reality and was woefully unprepared to deal with it. 

There were so many moments when I flirted with the idea that because the end of 2016 was fast approaching, and it had been somewhat of a shit year, I deserved one last boozy hurrah.

I call this the negotiation phase, and it is likely you will experience it, too. 

I spent way too much mental energy going back and forth with myself over this last holiday hurrah.  Just one more time! Using the holidays as an excuse to drink is a terrible idea, but it haunted me for the rest of that first week.

That first week is really important if you’re going to make it 30 days without drinking. It’s an important milestone. Although I wish I had a magic solution to dodging cravings that first week, the truth is it boils down to some basic best practices:

  • Stay busy. Boredom is a sobriety killer. Make sure you stay active. It will help distract you from your cravings. Will it eliminate them? No, but gives you something else to think about.
  • Get plenty of sleep. Sleep deprivation will lead to bad judgment and make you more susceptible to drinking again. Unfortunately, insomnia is common in early sobriety, so make sure you prioritize sleep health this week.
  • Lean on your support systems. Whether it’s an online support group, AA, counseling, or friends and family who support your effort to quit drinking, reach out. You truly do not have to do this alone.

For a comprehensive look at the first week of sobriety, including reframing your mindset and becoming emotionally prepared for the task at hand, take some time to watch this video:

Week 1 Physical and Emotional Symptoms

The first week was mostly about finding my feet and staying focused on sobriety as the big goal.

For some, you may experience heavier withdrawal symptoms, especially in the first 48 hours. These include sweatiness, shaking, tremors, and feeling like you are miserably hungover.

As a very important aside, if you do experience shaking or tremors, please seek medical attention immediately, as this can be a sign you require a medically supervised detox.

It’s also common for people to feel depressed in that first week.

When you eliminate alcohol, you allow yourself to feel things you’ve been blocking out.

As I previously mentioned, you’ve also stopped giving your brain its primary source of dopamine, and because (again) what goes up must come down, you may feel out of sorts this week. 

For more resources on the physical effects of quitting alcohol, check out any of the following:

pouring out alcohol to get sober
what to expect during the first thirty days of sobriety

Don’t let that stop you from continuing.

Everyone’s first week varies. Some get lulled into a false sense of complacency. They ride that adrenaline high and somehow get it in their head that sobriety is “easy.”

For others, it feels like the worst decision they ever made. It’s hard to keep going. Is it even worth it?

You’ll probably have a mix of both, which sucks, I know. 

Nothing you are going through that first week is permanent. All of it will go away eventually.

Week Two of Sobriety

The second week of sobriety can sometimes feel more challenging than the first. In the first week of sobriety, you’re dealing with many of the physical effects of quitting alcohol. But in the second week, the psychological effects can start to ramp up.

My second week of sobriety coincided with New Year’s Eve!

(I truly picked a difficult time of year to get sober.)

The angel and demon routine playing out in my brain during the first week finished with a (barely) sober New Year’s Eve in which I opted to binge-watch Jane the Virgin with my husband while pounding Diet Pepsi and chain-smoking cigarettes.

On the one hand, I was happy with myself for getting through the holiday season sober. On the other, why was I smoking cigarettes again?

If you are a smoker and heavy drinker, this next section is especially for you.

Should you quit smoking and drinking at the same time?

For many smokers, drinking and cigarettes go hand-in-hand. It was certainly the peanut butter to my jelly. I rarely did one without the other.

Smoking made me feel like shit, and so did drinking. I wanted to quit both but in moments of tear-my-hair-out weakness, it overwhelmed me.

So I made a choice.

quitting smoking in the first 30 days sober

Willpower is a finite resource. Getting to 30 days sober is largely a matter of willpower in the beginning. Trying to tack on a second addiction may be too much.

If you are a drinker and smoker a week or two in and feel like you’re going to go insane, consider focusing on one addiction at a time.

Which one, though?

Start with alcohol.

Some people advise you to start with whichever addiction is worse, but my personal opinion (this is in no way medical advice) is to get rid of the alcohol first.

The reason is that alcohol affects your judgment.

It is harder to commit to not smoking when you’re three pints in. There was no way that drunk me was not going to hop on down to the store and grab a pack of smokes. 

Know thyself. 

Smoking is serious and significantly damages your health, but it may be a battle you wait a couple of weeks or months to take on.

Get a little more solid in your sobriety, and then take on the next thing.

Mental Health and the First 30 Days of Sobriety

The second week can be full of psychological battles. We’ve touched on a few of these already.

People report experiencing anxiety, anger, aggression, depression, nightmares, difficulty sleeping, and decreased libido.

If this is you right now, it is completely normal and in no way permanent.

I know that’s not comforting, but some days just knowing that what you’re going through is temporary is enough to get you to the next day.

As far as mood goes, things can take anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks to stabilize. If that feels unbearable, don’t hesitate to speak with your doctor.

You will likely need additional support systems to get through the first month sober, so have those resources identified at the start of your sober journey.

There are many great online sobriety support systems, and you can also look into getting counseling.

I read a wonderful piece of advice about quitting smoking recently: 

It gets better. Not soon. But eventually. 

And that’s true of sobriety as well. Here’s why that advice is so incredibly powerful. 

But First, The Stockdale Paradox

Let’s get a little wonky with some psychology, shall we?

The Stockdale Paradox is named after James Stockdale, a prisoner of war in Vietnam for seven years. During that time, he experienced physical and psychological torture that you and I can only imagine. 

Yet, he survived. 

How? 

By accepting the harsh reality of his present circumstance without giving up hope that one day it will be over. 

When asked about which prisoners didn’t make it, Stockdale said, “The optimists.” These are the soldiers who would keep their spirits up by saying, “We’ll make it out by Christmas.” 

After that didn’t happen, they said, “Okay, by Easter! We’ll be rescued by Easter.” And when that didn’t happen, they set a new deadline. The cycle repeated itself until they became crushed by it. 

“They died of broken hearts,” he said. 

Stockdale survived by accepting his current situation, making plans to survive it, AND keeping faith that one day, he would make it out. The paradoxical thinking here is to balance the reality of difficult situations with optimism. 

Applying the Stockdale Paradox to Sobriety

Whereas no one is torturing us at this moment, it can feel that way. The early days of sobriety can be full of mental anguish and nobody knows for certain when that part ends. 

We can ballpark it for you, but let’s remember the Stockdale Paradox for a minute.

If I tell you I felt great after one month, you may think to yourself, “Okay, I just have to hang on for one month.”

What happens when one month arrives and you still don’t feel great? 

You run the risk of ditching sobriety because you tried like hell to get to 30 days sober and you still don’t feel strong in your sobriety, so it must be you. Perhaps you can’t do this. (Of course, you can.)

Things will get better.

So just as James Stockdale didn’t know when he was getting out of the “Hanoi Hilton,” you don’t exactly know when the shitty parts of sobriety will stop

The pessimists will take this uncertainty and become so dragged down by it that they convince themselves the answer is “never” and quit. The optimists will place unrealistic expectations on this process and crumble when reality fails to live up to it. 

The trick, then, is to accept that right now things are tough.

Make plans for navigating the rough waters and sobriety triggers you’re in right now. And then keep faith that one day, and you don’t know when, but one day, you will come out the other side a happier, healthier human being. 

Access should not be a barrier to help.

Soberish is proudly sponsored by BetterHelp. If you have tried (and failed) to find a therapist with the knowledge and background to help you navigate your specific issues, try BetterHelp. Learn more about my counseling journey with BetterHelp or visit their website below.

The Pink Cloud of Sobriety

Here’s the flip side of that coin. 

Maybe you’re reading this and thinking, “What is she talking about? I feel great!”

First, that is amazing! I hope you continue to feel fantastic for as long as possible. There’s just one thing.

Beware the pink cloud.

Pink Cloud Syndrome is a very unscientific term used to describe the initial excitement and exuberance people experience in early sobriety.

the pink cloud in sobriety – 30 days sober

What’s wrong with the pink cloud in sobriety?

Nothing, but it won’t last forever. It can’t.

Life doesn’t work that way. There will come a time when sobriety smacks you square in the face.

If you’re caught up in pink cloud bliss and avoiding the more difficult emotional work of sobriety, you may find yourself ill-equipped to handle the hard parts. 

It’s a bizarre honeymoon phase.

You quit drinking and you feel AMAZING. Fixed, even! Unfortunately, this is the point where a lot of people relapse.

The pink cloud can give you the illusion that you are “all better” now (whatever that means to you) and can drink like a normal person. Unless you are a statistical anomaly (you’re not), that’s not going to end well for you.

Soak up the good vibes, but tread lightly and continue to do the work.
 

Week Three of Sobriety

The first week of the new year, I was on top of the world, baby! I was writing and exercising, riding the resolution high, feeling invincible. Pink cloud central!

At least, that’s what I thought.

That all came crashing down. Towards the end of the third week, an old familiar friend re-emerged.

I started feeling agitated and off-balance. Remember what I said about the brain needing to rebalance?

This was that.

The giddy feeling had dissipated and I found myself wrestling with apathy. I couldn’t write and stopped bothering with the gym. At night, I had to take Xanax to get enough sleep.

I was in the throes of depression and not managing it well.

Because I’d been dealing with mental health issues for a while, I hoped that I could white-knuckle it and watch it pass after a few days.

Part of me wanted to drink but settled instead for several packs of smokes and diet soda. Every day was a minute-by-minute struggle.

man 30 days sober sitting down with hands on knees
struggling with mental health 30 days sober

This is why you need to make a plan when you get sober.

What’s the saying? A failure to plan is a plan to fail. 

I did not make a plan. That made it a much more difficult 30 days sober than was necessary. None of us needs to suffer in silence. 

There is an entire community of people who have been through the same thing.

Whether it’s attending AA or another recovery program, joining a support group, or counseling – this is the time to start doubling down on your commitment to sobriety by getting help. 

I tried to tough it out and very nearly relapsed by that third week.

Not because it was so excruciatingly difficult, but because I was lost. Going it alone. I had no idea what I was doing, other than resisting with every fiber in my being the urge to drink. 

(Horrible way to do it, by the way. Do not recommend.)

It’s also important to reconnect with your reasons for doing this in the first place.

Here’s a great video from Men’s Health UK following a writer’s journey to quitting alcohol for 100 days in the face of some worrying health concerns.

Week Four of Sobriety

All that anxiety and depression from the third week? It didn’t pass. 

By the fourth week, I was unrecognizable to myself. My mood swung back and forth between depressed and despondent to apathetic.

I began mimicking old alcoholic behavior, sitting outside on the balcony with my husband binge drinking Diet Pepsi and chain-smoking. I did this every night, as soon as I got home from work, much like I did with alcohol.

Obviously, booze wasn’t the only problem.

I had these little rituals I knew were bad for me, but continued to indulge, even in the absence of alcohol.

Dealing with Overwhelming Feelings in the First 30 Days of Sobriety

In my drinking days, when I felt overwhelmed, I would abandon social commitments, cooking, and fitness for the mindless satisfaction of the binge.

There I was, doing it again. The only difference is that I exchanged copious amounts of booze with copious amounts of diet soda.

It’s not uncommon for people in early recovery to substitute alcohol with sugar, which is what I was doing with the diet soda.

My brain was changed by alcohol and craving activity in the pleasure receptors again. The diet soda was my solution. 

This was a red flag and should be for you as well if you’re experiencing something similar. If you’re feeling lost, miserable, and considering giving up, it’s time to ramp up your sobriety game and find a recovery tribe to get help. 

Hop online and reach out. Which is what I ended up doing.  


 

Accepting Help

I woke up on a Tuesday morning gripped by an anxiety attack that made me feel like my heart was going to explode.

At that point, I knew that I was going to have to do something, lest I spend the next four months wallowing in depression and abandoning all responsibilities (and my lungs) to the balcony.

After careful consideration, I realized that I was going to need more long-term care and made an appointment with my therapist to go back on daily medication to manage my anxiety.

From there, it was a slow but steadfast crawl out of that little black hole. But, in retrospect, I’m proud of myself because I did what had to be done. 

Anytime you reach out for help, you’re doing it from a place of power. 

getting counseling the first 30 days sober

There is absolutely NO SHAME in seeking the help of a therapist. If you’re showing signs of depression or anxiety, and have the ability to get counseling, make an appointment.

I do online counseling with BetterHelp and it has been one of the best experiences with talk therapy I’ve ever had. Many people find they get on better with traditional in-person therapy or group programs, and that’s great, too!

Do what works for you.

You cannot white-knuckle your way out of addiction or mental health problems.

If you’re feeling lousy or hopeless, please know that this is normal, you are on the right path, and it is going to get better.

Not soon, but eventually. 
 

Staying Sober After 30 Days Of Sobriety

The first thirty days of sobriety were challenging for me, to say the least.

It was harder than the first thirty days of any other time I managed to successfully stay away from alcohol and cigarettes for a few months or more.

But I did make it, and that’s what I want for you!

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the tips for staying sober beyond 30 days are similar to those that got you through the first weeks.

  • Avoid temptation. Don’t go places where people are focused solely on drinking or to old drinking spots with drinking buddies. There may be a day when you can do it, but it’s too soon to roll those dice.
  • Stick to a routine. Consistency is helpful in early sobriety. You’re learning how to live your life without drinking. That takes practice. Disruption can be harmful in the early days, so try to stick to a routine as much as possible.
  • Remember why you quit drinking. So many people, myself included, fail at sobriety because they get a month or two under their belt and feel better. So they think, “I’m cured! I can drink again.” Sadly, most of those people end up drinking just as heavily as before. Don’t do it.
  • Stay busy. Find things to do, hobbies to explore, and places to go that aren’t centered around alcohol. Boredom and loneliness are huge relapse triggers.
  • Build healthy habits. Like so many things in life, sobriety is the result of cumulative actions taken purposefully. You will feel better when you start exercising, getting good quality sleep, and eating better. The better you feel, the less you’ll want to drink. Alcohol causes inflammation. By focusing on a healthier lifestyle, you’ll start healing the damage alcohol has caused.
  • Enjoy your sobriety. One day soon, you will wake up and realize that you feel pretty great. Your body will feel healthier, your mind will feel clearer, and the sluggishness of alcohol will dissipate. Embrace how wonderful that feels! It’s a great motivator in the face of cravings.

There’s no magical trick to staying sober. It’s about staying consistent and prioritizing your health, even in the face of extreme stress, trauma, tragedy, and temptation. It’s one of the hardest things we’ll do.

But there is a future version of you who is happy, healthy, and doesn’t drink. Wishing you all the support and strength on your journey there.

**UPDATE**

Please note that a version of this post was originally published in January 2017. Below, are my thoughts after my first thirty days of sobriety. 

It’s been eye-opening going back after a couple of years of sobriety to see my thoughts and struggles from those first thirty days.

Huge surprise, though!

Unbeknownst to me at the time, I was newly pregnant.

It’s no wonder my mental health took a major downward spiral. Pregnancy hormones mixed with early sobriety emotions? Yikes!

So in that regard, my first month was probably atypical (whatever that means).

But I survived it and got the added motivation I needed to quit smoking as soon as I saw those two little lines on the pregnancy test.

It’s been a couple of years now but I think that I was definitely at high risk for relapse by the end of those four weeks, especially since I was living in a country with little to no access to addiction therapy.

In many ways, my daughter saved me.  

If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol addiction, here are some resources to help get you through. 

Close up of beer being poured. You can only see the beer itself, no bottles. The title reads 30 days sober: what to expect
30 Days Sober PIN

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29 Comments

  1. What a rollercoaster the first 30 days are. Geezuz!!

    I never realized how much reality, and my emotions would hit me so hard. Ive wanted to go back to my old lifestyle many times because its so familiar. Its like being stuck between a rock and a hard spot for sure. Im still in that..”who am i sober?!” Phase.

    I feel lonely and isolated because everyone ive ever met or known was through bars and alcohol. I know it wasn’t real or quality friendship…but it was something.

    So now im trying to learn to cope with life as it really is and learn to make sober connections which is a challenge. They say it gets weird, then it gets better.

    It is by far the hardest challenge ive ever faced because im facing myself and looking in the mirror. Not easy, but i believe it will get better. Ive wasted alot of time being drunk or hungover.

    My hat is off to anyone seriously attempting going through this. I just hit a month. I know its only the beginning, what a doozy. Hopefully month#2 will be better. Cheers!!

  2. My boyfriend is currently at rehab and it’s been 3 weeks. As motivated and hopeful I’m , I’m.also scared shitless. I’m scared that when he comes out after 30 days that his feelings towards me has changed. I pray that love will lead him back to me.

    1. Hi Catherine! I sympathize with your situation right now. It’s such a complex process. Please know that in the early days, his focus is going to be on himself (it should be anyway). Be patient and supportive to him, but let him work through it. Wishing you both luck!

  3. Today is day 20 of no alcohol. I am in a rut cause I’m not sure why I feel the way I do. I quit cold turkey after years of nightly drinking. Crazy thing is I don’t crave or want to drink, but I don’t feel like myself if I even know what that is. I gave up drinking and all my bad eating habits (sugars, refined sugars, fast food, processed foods) on same day. I just feel like blah. I have had anxiety issues for the better part of 30 years, on and off meds. My anxiety been pretty bad, comes and goes. I just don’t have any motivation, don’t enjoy simple things I used to.. Will this ever change?

    1. It definitely does change. You’ve just taken away your body’s primary dopamine sources – alcohol, sugar, processed foods. Eventually, your body will adjust, but if you’re really struggling with depression, I recommend talking to your doctor. Temporary treatment might help get over the initial phase, which is always rough.

  4. Thank you for this! I am Day 30 today and it has been a rollercoaster! I am really proud of myself and experiencing a lot of the positives such as no more bloatedness and puffiness and my face has lost most its redness. My emotions have been very difficult and I agree with the sugar substitute. I was never a soda drinker but apparently I am now! All diet of course. I work out six days a week but have not lost as much weight as I would have liked but do look sooo much better which is a great surprise to catch yourself in the mirror and compare pre 30 day sober photos.

    There are so many account of 30 days being full of clarity, happiness and weight loss, blissful sleep etc that it made me feel something was wrong with me. Thank you for a candid account. We are creatures of habit, I think that is the hardest piece of the puzzle. I have found “Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Control Alcohol” a valuable resource in assisting in this regard. To all of you out there, well done and keep it up! We can do this!!!

  5. Today is my first day of trying to get sober. I wanted to say Thank you for sharing your story and how you felt going through it all. If you all can do it so can I!

  6. I’m finishing day 3. Not only did this article put things in perspective of what I need to do, but I am going to send it to my wife so she knows how I feel. She is the occasional drinker, but rarely binge drinks. I realize I cannot have 2 drinks and call it a night. I drink until I pass out on my chair in my garage at 2 or 3 am yet always wake up with no hangover and off to work where I am highly respected.
    I am going to reach out for help and especially appreciate your advice on the pink cloud! My wife and I don’t have the kids this weekend since they are having a weekend with their grandma before starting school. This weekend is going to be tough. Every time we have a sitter we go out to eat, go to the bar, then come home a drink. Breaking that routine is going to be hard, but I know I can do it.

    Thanks for writing and posting this.

    1. Thank you, Josh! You can definitely do it and get through this weekend without drinking. I promise that thinking about doing it without drinking is way worse than actually experiencing it with no drinking.

  7. Hi, I decided to quit 21 days ago today, after years of very heavy drinking. Approximately 15 cans of beer daily, sometimes more. Vodka made a few appearances here and there also. I suppose I decided to quit after my last crusade caused yet more wreckage to relationships with friends and family (This time after drinking a bottle of whiskey) I simply had to take action and stop destroying everything good in my life. Alot is now irreversible but I cannot afford any further future damage. My first 3 weeks have been a rollercoaster ride, I just went cold turkey and symptoms have been horrific. I still look ghastly even after 3 weeks of being free from the demon that is Alcohol. I am only now beginning to sleep a bit better but my skin is still awful and anxiety is a major issue, anxiety is the primary reason I drank and the stress I piled upon myself by the continued distruction of everyone and everything in my path over the years didn’t help either. I am yet to see many benefits other than more focus and clarity which is scary because I am facing the emotions and feelings without the numbness that alcohol provided for me. I’m 37 now and I feel completely lost and lonely but it was all my doing with the help of the demon drink. I can only look to the future and hope a new sober me can find a new outlook on life and enjoy a fresh start. Hopefully I will see the benefits of being AF after my body fully detoxes as I don’t feel I have yet considering the amount of poison I have poured down my throat over the years. My horrible looking pores must be working overtime trying to purge all those nasty toxins. Anyway, thank you for your blog, I found it a helpful and interesting read. One day at a time, one foot in front of the other and breathe in and breathe out.
    Oh, I still smoke too. But that’s next on the hitlist to be eradicated from my life of addictions. Not until I have got my foothold on sobriety though.
    Stay strong everyone and keep battling. 👌

    1. I really connect to this! Give yourself some time and grace. It takes a while for your body to heal. Shoot, it was almost a year and a half before my skin even considered looking better. But it does. Same was true for the anxiety. I actually ended up seeing my doctor and going on medication and it has made a world of difference. Take it one day at a time and I promise you will start feeling better!

  8. I am very pleased to read this article. I gave up drinking the first time about 4 years ago and other than having the standard craving for a drink I did not feel any emotional issues and just felt great after 2 months. Since then after a relapse which lasted on and off over 3 years due to family troubles and a bereavement I have stopped again. I did not drink as much as before during the last few years and often went a week or 2 weeks without anything but always returned to it. I have stopped again now and I am on 32 days but this time it is different. Sometimes you can feel down in life, tiered and short tempered, I think this is how we are as humans but I have found you can shake this though positive thoughts and exercise. This time even though I exercise every day my moods are terrible and deep. I know in myself that there is no clear reason for it but it is a real problem to shake it and it can go on for a few days. I worry because I have a good lady and it is hard to be normal. Having read this article at least I can see that I am not different which i hope will make me get better. I am not worried about having a drink I am more concerned about this mental state. At least now I can think that in the future this will pass so thank you so much for your article.

  9. Getting through the first 30 days seemed like a miracle to me. And I, too, started smoking again. No one can tell you DON’T FEEL THIS WAY! Feelings aren’t right or wrong. But if you can remember that one day at a time you’re achieving what has been a struggle in the past, that is something to be so very proud of. My mixed bag of issues is like yours. Mental health (I’m bipolar and have anxiety combined with PTSD) conditions, addictions, but on medication and with support from the recovering community I have a good job, a loving family, and 31 years of sobriety. And keep writing. I find it cathartic. And a healthier addiction,. I’m with you 100% of the way.

  10. Congrats that is awesome! I can relate to dealing with the mental health stuff plus sobriety. All I know that being 100% sober is the only way to get better and not to fall into the trap of self-medicating with booze. I don’t have the answers as a chronic relapser. I also battle with switching to over-eating and over-caffeinating when I am sober (any length of time). I think Paul’s advice not too worry about it too much early on is right on. I never smoked (basically the only thing I have never been addicted too). I think it was because I smoked pot first and cigarettes always seemed like? Small graces sometimes!

    1. For sure! Though I’ve managed to stay smoke free for two weeks now. Feeling good in my resolve. You’re so lucky to have never picked up that habit. It’s a doozy.

  11. Congrats on your 30+ days!

    I hear you on how it’s unfolded. Similar to me – the emotional rollercoaster, the binging on sugar (if I smoked, I would have been doing that too), the feeling like I am still finding my legs, etc. It’s not easy but it’s worth it. In terms of the sugar and stuff, I didn’t worry about it off the bat. Hell, I am still battling it even after 5 1/2 yrs! But don’t try to do it all in one shot. The smoking, etc. will come. I know people who still smoke after 10-15 years sober. It’s a personal choice, but I know many smokers have said that they could never tackle the booze and smoking in one shot. It’s too much.

    Anyway, glad you’re finding your way! Very happy to hear 🙂

    Paul

  12. There is no shame in having to go on medication to balance you out! In starting my journey, I had decided not to go off mine until my body had a chance to balance itself back out. This weekend, I had thought that maybe I should consider going off of it. In reading your post, it squashed that thought and I will remain on it. Thank you, you have saved me again!!

    Thank you also for a glimpse into your life these past 30 days. You certainly have helped me through this first week and I hope my little notes to you kept a little voice in the back of your head letting you know that you are not alone.

    <3

      1. I am in the early phase of trying to get sober. I have researched, observed my own and others’ drinking patterns, energies, creativity, abilities to accomplish life’s goals, and successes and failures. I have watched many from afar, or as though behind glass. I am seeking support and resources for community and expression with like-minds.

        I recently had to confront my baby brother about his alcoholism and take his daughter away for the summer. He went to rehab and got sober and loves it! So proud of him! Now his behavior is inspiring me to take real action.

        While I have cut back to 1-2 drinks a day, I do still feel I am an alcoholic. Nobody just makes this stuff up, right? I think I am pulling the ship to shore, and through grace, not go down with the burning ship. That is, if I stop now.

        Your blog is inspiring and makes a big difference to me! Thank you for sharing your story and insights! And please keep writing!

    1. I am in my first day. Relapse is part of my story. I lost count after the first 20 times. But today I made a choice to try one more time. Thank you for sharing your story because I can definitely relate. It’s a battle and it’s hard but knowing that everything I am going through it’s normal. And knowing that I am not alone that there’s a lot of people that are doing it makes me feel that I can too. Thank you once again for the share.

    2. I am in my first day. Relapse is part of my story. I lost count after the first 20 times. But today I made a choice to try one more time. Thank you for sharing your story because I can definitely relate. It’s a battle and it’s hard but knowing that everything I am going through it’s normal. And knowing that I am not alone that there’s a lot of people that are doing it makes me think I can too.

        1. my husband/best friend is an alcoholic. we recently separated because of his drinking. I do not have an addictive personality but he does and I have had a very hard time understanding why he has to drink everyday all day. so needless to say thru tears and all we parted . his last words to me at the airport was this isnt what he wanted and he’s sorry he can’t stop drinking. 2 weeks later I get a quick brief call that he was in detox and I haven’t heard from him since. im glad he’s getting help but torn over why could he not do this sooner before I got on a plane and went to live with my son. But I know it had to be him who wanted to stop and wanted to get better that I could not make him do it. Now I’m doing the what if’s and feel so totally lost cause I have no idea whats going on and if ill ever hear his voice again. will he get sober and decide im not part of his new life will he come out the other side so totally different that it just done between us. I feel helpless I wanna help but don’t know how to. so I sit here and just pray hes getting better even if that means its over… I’d rather him have a non addictive life and live happy an sober even if that means without me.

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