Recovery Journal-The First 2 Years

I kept a diary for just over the first 2 years of my recovery and I'm choosing to share it in hopes that it could make a newly sober person not feel so alone in their thoughts and feelings.  Reading this might also help those of you who love someone in early recovery as it could give you some insight into how they might be feeling.  I will warn you though, a lot of these journal entries can be triggering for some.

3 Hours Sober - This Is It
March 2, 2014

I woke up in a daze and in pain.  I got home from the hospital at 6am.  As I was drunkenly taking photos of my body for evidence to myself that I might die soon, I suddenly felt like there was someone in my room with me and I almost instantly felt sober.  It was so strong and I thought for sure there was a ghost?  Do I even believe in that?  I took photos around my bedroom in case I could capture whatever I felt but nothing showed up.

I’m so confused and I feel like this is the rock bottom I’m supposed to experience.  My mind is so cloudy and I called my Mum and she said I sounded off and different.  I felt out of it so of course she heard it.  I don’t want to die and I need to make a huge change before something horrible happens.  Whatever is inside me needs to wake up and get it’s shit together because I’m over it.  I can no longer continue living like this.  I have too many dreams or myself.  I have things to live for.  I’m sick of being broke, I’m sick of feeling rage and self-hatred.  I’m sick of the impending doom. I’m sick of guilt and shame.  I want to run away to another country cause everything is too hard and too out of control.  I can’t drink ever again and is that even possible?

First day of the rest of my life
First day of the rest of my life
Trying to capture what I felt
Trying to capture what I felt

1 Day Sober- My First AA Meeting
March 3, 2014

I had nowhere to go, no one to talk to who understood, and so I felt the only option was AA. I called the AA phone number and asked about meetings near me. I never thought AA would be for me but I didn't feel it was fair to make that assumption when I never even tried it.

Monday, March 3rd I worked then on my walk home the reality hit me that I was going to go to my first AA meeting that evening.  I had 90 minutes to get ready and eat supper then walk the few blocks to the church where the meeting was being held.  I was so hungry but my stomach was doing spins so I had to force food into me.  I had 2 pieces of toast with butter then I forced a cooked mashed sweet potato down while talking to my Mum on the phone.  I was so so scared I was going to cry the whole meeting.  To say I was nervously terrified would be an understatement.  I google streetviewed exactly where the meeting was and I called the main AA number back and asked about that particular meeting- if it was suitable for newcomers.  He said it certainly was and that they’d welcome me.  That was the second AA member I spoke to that day and they were both so very nice.  It made me feel better.  With 20 minutes before I had to leave I googled “first aa meeting scared” and the first hit was a wikihow link entitled “How to get through your first alcoholics anonymous meeting” so I read through it and it was very helpful.  I felt a lot better about it and realized that probably everyone felt this way before their first meeting.  I got my jacket on and kissed my cat goodbye.  But then I had to make sure the stove was off, and the heat was down, oh and that my flat iron was unplugged, haha Clearly I was incredibly nervous.  I talked to my Mum the walk there and listened to her say how proud she was and that I’ll do fine.  I stand outside the church and finish my cigarette and focus on my breathing as my Mum walks me through it.  There was a few people smoking outside the doors and there’d be pairs and individual people walking up the steps and through the doors.  They’d greet eachother and they all looked like normal people.  I hung up the phone, put my cigarette out, and walked towards the doors trembling.  A girl around my age saw me and introduced herself.  I told her this was my first meeting(ever) and she congratulated me and said I could sit next to her.  She brought me over “the big book” and explained a bit of how the meeting went.  The meeting started.  One of the parts at the beginning they ask if there was any newcomers and I raised my hand and said my name.  Everyone applauded and smiled at me which felt really nice.  Then came the part where they give out chips.  He asked if there was anyone wanting their “24 hour” chip and I raised my hand again and went up to receive it.  Again, applause and a few people shook my hand and I went back to my seat.  It felt really good yet I was still trembling.

My 24 Hour Chip
My 24 Hour Chip

Then came the readings then the discussion part.  Where someone would say “I’m ___ and I’m an alcoholic”, “Hi _____”  then they’d talk for a few minutes about something personal that related to what we just read (a chapter in the book).  The meeting concluded with everyone holding hands in a circle and reciting the lords prayer (which I don’t like but whatever).  More people approached me and introduced themselves and congratulated me.  A man talked to me a bit about how there’s 3 main types of people who come there for their first meeting.  The first being those who were court ordered, the next were people who had something very bad happen to them, and the third (the luckiest) being the ones who decided to go on their own accord because they realized they needed help.  Another woman said she was in my shoes not that long ago which made me feel good.  Another man said that we’re all here for the same reason and everyone there understood what I was going through.  I felt welcomed and safe.

The big red doors I stepped through to attend my first meeting
The big red doors I stepped through to attend my first meeting

The girl who met me and bought me the big book (yeah she bought it for me which was amazing) walked with me a few blocks since we were headed in the same direction.  We exchanged phone numbers and made a plan to have coffee within the next few days.  Which was strange because “cofffee” wasn’t code for anything haha It was actually literally coffee. I continued walking to my friend’s house and felt very surreal.  I didn’t feel a thousand things all at once and I didn’t feel depressed and I didn’t feel happy, I just felt.  I felt.  I can’t explain it.  It was very surreal, that’s all I could say.  I was happy I took that step.  I was happy that my closest friends were proud of me.  A friend (who had previously been through AA) told me that the guilt would start to lift.  And I thought that was strange because I never told her I had guilt.  She said the weight of the world would start to lift off my shoulders.  And I can say that walk downtown after my first meeting I literally felt like I weighed 10 lbs.  I felt really light and surreal.  I knew it was the first step but I was still terrified.

1 Week Sober - Am I Setting Myself Up for Disaster?
March 9, 2014

After my first AA meeting and after talking with my close friends and my Mum about my situation I started to feel better.  But even more anxious and even more scared.  I was in a fog- I’d forget things and my thoughts were overpowering and sometimes contradictory.  Just realized I’m talking in past tense.. Ok I am STILL in a fog but each day that goes by the fog lifts a tiny bit.  I had dreams about AA for the first few days and whenever I thought too deeply into what I was faced with I wanted to throw up from terror.  I actually couldn’t think too deeply into what I was facing because I simply didn’t have the energy to deal with the extreme emotions.  It wasn’t productive for me to breakdown and cry and shake and panic and vomit.  I already did that.  Fuckin countless times over.

I had to download a appointment/calendar app to keep track of all the meetings and shit I have going on in my life.  It helps a lot but I still get jolts of panic when I think I might have missed an important appointment or work.  I haven’t so far (other than the day after my bottom night when I slept through the first 2 hours of work and had to text my boss to say I was extremely sorry).  Speaking of missing work, my boss wanted to meet with me Friday to discuss what happened.  I didn’t go in to details but she’s my friend also so I did tell her I started AA and about the depression.  She gave me some pamplets on addiction counselling downtown and we talked for a long time and she told me she was there for me whenever I needed her which was amazing.  I’ve known her for 7 years and I can honestly say I don’t think I’ll ever have such an awesome boss than her.  That last sentence sounded weird but I gotta keep typing rather than edit because it takes a lot from me just to force myself to write so I can’t get hung up on grammar.  Spelling yes, grammar not so much.

Your favourite newly sober retail worker
Your favourite newly sober retail worker

I went to another AA meeting on Wednesday and saw some familiar faces from the first meeting.  It was really nice to hear “congratulations for coming back” and “good to see you again”.  I seen my family doctor that day also and she was very thorough in her questions and I was detailed in my explanations and pleads for help.  She sent in a referral for me and I called the community mental health services the next day to make an appointment for my assessment.  Fuckin April 23rd.  Luckily I’m not in extremely bad shape cause that’s a month and a half away.  I called the phone number my boss gave me for addiction counselling/mental health and I was able to get in March 31st or sooner which works perfect for me!  I need to get this going cause I’m scared the cravings for alcohol and other bad things are gonna come back with a vengeance.  I’ve had cravings so far. One day at a time, one hour at a time, one fuckin minute at a time.

On Wednesday I met up with that girl from the first AA meeting for coffee at one of the university campuses.  I only slightly felt out of place at a university being 30 years old with a half shaved head and metal spikes all over my vest and combat boots.  At least my bum looked nice and my face was pretty haha  We ended up talking for hours over coffee about AA and about ourselves and our beliefs.  I told her I was having a hard time with step #2 (Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity) and #3 (Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him).  I had step #1 (We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable) down pat but the next 2 were ones I felt I needed right away in order to progress.  I don’t agree with any organized religions (I’ve studied the main ones and I like parts of them but overall, no thank you) and I’m not an atheist.  I told her I believe in the universal consciousness that connects all living things.  I see it as a light force that’s always been there and will always be there forever.  You know when you’re sick, and your body wants to get you back to healthy?  Or when you’re having a panic attack and you know you’ll always get back to normal?  That “light” that wants to keep us calm and steady and healed.  That’s what I believe in.  She said that was fine to define that as my HP (higher power).  I still feel like I need to personify it somewhat or concentrate it more into an entity but I guess I don’t have to.  Through more thought and meditation (I’m still scared to meditate and I’ve never done it) I’m sure my HP will become clearer.  But for right now, I feel my first 3 steps of 12 are complete.

On a constant emotional rollercoaster
On a constant emotional rollercoaster
Full of stress
Full of stress

She told me that I didn’t have to choose a sponsor right away, that I could go to more meetings, meet more people, before I made a decision.  Or that I could choose a temporary sponsor.  I told her I felt I needed one right away cause I didn’t’ want to slip backwards so I asked her to be my temporary sponsor and she accepted.  She’s younger than me but that doesn’t matter.  She’s been sober for a long time and she’s done the 12 steps at least once so that’s all I need- is someone to guide me through the steps.  She’s sweet, a good listener, has constructive feedback.

I also had an appointment with my career counselor this week.  I told her I got accepted to the career exploration program (Women Unlimited) which is amazing!  I start next week, it’s full time learning shit until June.  They’ll help me get in to school in September and help me figure out what the hell I want to do for the rest of my life.  My career counselor went over what I needed to do in order to apply for government funding and all that stuff so I feel more hopeful on that front.  There’s still just a few more imperative steps that need to be done before I can fully exhale.

Which led me to a fear/question.  Can I handle all of this?  Going to AA, trying to recover, going to school full time, working part time, waiting on money from the government so I can pay all my bills, all while going to the food bank so I don’t starve, and walking everywhere because I can’t afford the bus fare?  Can I do it?  Is it too much for me right now?  Isn’t that recipe for disaster?  Too much stress and too much going on?  Whoever I asked told me no.  That I can handle it.  The love of my life put it this way- he said for years I was able to work full time and get hammered and go to shows and be hungover still be able to do it.  But now I’m just replacing going to shows, getting hammered, and being hungover with AA meetings and school.  That made sense.  And now that I took away alcohol, those hangovers and weekly breakdowns won’t happen anymore.  Plus IT WILL BE SPRING SOON!!!!!!!!!!!!  Which means my depression should start to lift and I’ll start to feel good again.  I have SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) so the winters are fuckin brutal for me.  Speaking of that, my boss mentioned that to me this week.  She said that the winters are really hard on me and reminded me that 2 years ago I went through a huge crisis (when I ended a 3 year relationship, moved out, was homeless for a while, and when my anxiety disorder was at it’s peak).  Then last winter when I “ran away” to Alberta for a month.  Then this winter when all this is happening.  She’s right, and so with the promise of spring just around the corner I could almost cry with anticipation.

I have another few thoughts floating around in my head.  One makes no sense haha And I didn’t realize how insane it sounded until I was saying it out loud.  What if I go through AA and never relapse?  That means I didn’t even need it and it didn’t work!  Then I clearly didn’t have a problem with alcohol because everyone relapses.  THOSE people are the REAL alcoholics because they relapse.  If I don’t relapse than I’m wasting everyone’s time and I’m just overreacting to my alcoholism.  Yup, that’s a legit thought.  I said that to the love of my life (I’m sorry I keep calling him that but I don’t want to name names and he’s not technically my boyfriend yet haha) and he was like “Oh yes, that makes perfect sense.  What if this plan goes off without a hitch and I get all better?  That must mean that it wasn’t a success and it didn’t work!”  I realized how silly it sounded and I realized that addict part of my brain was probably the culprit.

Another thought I had was relapsing.  Terrified I’d relapse.  I know how I get- I get super pumped to do something for a while then I stop and go back to my old destructive ways.  Could I really keep up with going to meetings a few times a week and could I really say no forever and could I really never go out dancing drunk again?  No one could answer that for me other than to say that if I really tried I could achieve it. I went to a meeting yesterday (Saturday) morning and met another girl there.  We went to a park with her dog and talked a lot.  It was really nice to converse with another alcoholic who totally understood everything I was saying.  The main thing I got from that walk in the park was when she told me to never put anything above my recovery or I’d lose it.  Meaning, don’t focus on school or relationships or whatever more than focusing on going to meetings and my sobriety.  Because once I started to “value” something else other than my recovery I’d slip and I’d lose school, the relationship, or the whatever.  Maybe I wouldn’t like get kicked out of school immediately but it’d start by my grades slipping.  Or maybe my relationship wouldn’t end but he’d lose respect for me and it would cause tension.  So I always have to go to meetings and I always have to value my sobriety first.  Or I’ll lose it all.  And is a fuckin beer really worth it?  After all, it’s “just a beverage”.

9 Days Sober - The Nagging Question "WHY?"
March 11, 2014

My sponsor told me to start reading the beginning parts of the book (preface, forwards, Doctor’s Opinion) but I didn’t.  My first week sober and first weekend sober I had a lot of things going on and when I didn’t have things going on I guess I procrastinated reading. Gotta be honest.  I went to a meeting last night at the same place, the same group as my first ever meeting last Monday.  I told them this was my 5th meeting now and a lot were really happy to hear that.  After we did a reading of one of the stories (“Because I’m an Alcoholic” page 338) I felt that story was almost exactly like my own except replace Paris with Alberta.  At the point of the meeting (last half hour) where people voluntarily talk for a few minutes about something in their lives related to what we just read, I usually have nothing to say.  Either because the reading sounded so far away for me (I still found it hard to fully listen and let it sink in) or because I wasn’t at that point in my recovery yet.  But last night after reading that story I wanted to finally speak.  But that meeting was a good one, meaning everyone had something to say.  So I didn’t get a chance.  But that’s ok, I’ll have lots of other opportunities.  I no longer feel nausea before a meeting and I don’t shake that much anymore.  But for a few minutes before it’s my turn to read or before I feel I can finally talk my heart beats so fast and so loud.  I’m used to that feeling so I just breathe through it and distract myself by fully listening to the speaker.

What was I going to talk about?  Well the subtitle to that story in the book was “The drinker finally found the answer to her nagging question ‘why?‘”  I was going to say that that story was almost identical to my own and that that sentence rang so true to me.  I was going to briefly talk about that night a week after NYE 2014 and mention the part where when I returned home and scream cried yelling WHY?!  I had never done that before.. Well at least not that dramatically. I was going to say that over the past month I finally learned “why”.  I was going through all this hell because that was the only way I’d clue in and get help.  I had to experience the past 1-2 years.  Firstly, because I wanted to feel beaten down and I wanted to party hard and smash shit.  And secondly, because in doing all that it made me “wake up” and truly see how destructive it was.  I loved being self destructive though.  But once I hit 30 I realized I can’t and shouldn’t do that anymore if I ever wanted to go back to school, get a real career, get married and have a baby.  I’m going to miss those self destructive days.  They felt good as fucked up as that sounds.  But people keep telling me that the new full life that’s waiting for me far outweighs the years of debauchery.  I’ll take their word for it.  All I know is all this spiritual unrest takes it’s toll and it’s not fun anymore. Why do I have to drink until 6am and smoke an entire pack of cigarettes and smash shit?  Why do I have to drink before I go out, paint, read, take a bath, go on a date, etc?  Why do I feel the only way I can write is if I go to a pub alone after work and “get in the zone”?  Why can’t I feel sexy without being hammered?  I still don’t know why I do/did all those things.  I’ll learn the reasons as I continue with my recovery.  But as for right now, I realize I needed to scream “why” and I needed to be a shitty alcoholic.  It was the only way I’d listen.

2 months before rock bottom
2 months before rock bottom
Me and my main man Snax
Me and my main man Snax

9 Days Sober- The Word "Relapse" Won't Shut Up
March 11, 2014

I’ve been sober for 9 days, 5 hours and I’ve been thinking a lot about relapsing today.  I’m sure that’s normal though.  I won’t relapse any time soon I know that, but the thought is definitely there.  My sponsor said last night to call or text whenever I needed but to not contact her if I was drunk.  A friend from AA I met last week also told me that if I wanted to drink then go for it.  She (and my sponsor) both said “If you want to experiment and see if you can have just one drink then go for it!”  Instead of “no please don’t drink” or “if you do this will happen..” They have to say that, to remind me that I have my own free will and that I can do whatever I want.  My recovery and sobriety is up to me 100%.  I heard some AAs last night and read some of the book last night and I keep hearing people say that that one drink you let yourself have after committing to sobriety will always lead to more.  That it will start all over again.  And yes I know it probably would.  But shouldn’t I have a proper goodbye to booze?  Like a conscious goodbye?  But then I think that if I did do that then the self hate would probably come along with it and it could end in the unthinkable.  But then I think well, I’ll just promise myself I won’t get stupid.  That’d be ok right?  I just want to taste it.

Plus one of my good friends is visiting in June and he drinks a lot. Of course I want to hang out with him in June and of course I want to party with him.  He’d be respectful of my new sobriety though and wouldn’t pressure me into drinking I know.  He’d advise against it for sure.  But I want to drink with him.  Fuck.  I guess this is where the “one minute at a time” really comes in to play.  I don’t know what I’m gonna do when he’s in town.

The love of my life said that he’d “leave” me if I drank another drop again.  And if I ever did have another drink I’d tell him.  I certainly wouldn’t lie.  But to break his trust like that and to make him disappointed in me would hurt so bad.  I’d feel like I was going backwards.. Well because I would be.  But I want just one more night.  I want to drink a bottle of wine then go smash the fuck out of a mosh pit or go to the gay bar and dance on the platforms and sing too loud and dance too hilariously and smoke too much outside while babbling with strangers.  Can’t I have just one more drunk night?  It’s not like I’d ruin my life.

And like I said earlier, “everyone” relapses.  It proves that they’re a “real alcoholic”.  I know those last 2 sentences didn’t make any sense and I know that was the addict part of my brain talking.

But when I think back on all those times I told myself I’d cut down or that I’d take a month off or that I’d only have 1 pitcher.  But then I’d fail at it.  No I wasn’t in AA when I promised myself those things but when I failed and went back to hardcore drinking it was like a relapse I suppose. Plus I already wrote my sobriety date on the first page of my AA book.  I wouldn’t want to cross it out.  In pen or in blood.  And I guess it really does come down to those 2 options.



13 Days Sober - So This is PAWS?
March 15, 2014

Heading into my second week of sobriety was still numbing.  I was starting school (Women Unlimited program) and meeting new people and learning new things which probably helped but it also aided in stress, albeit good stress.  I was noticing that sometimes I’d feel very foggy headed.  You know that feeling when you barely slept the night before then you have a 20 minute nap after work then as soon as you wake up from that nap you feel slightly disorientated and to hold a conversation would be virtually impossible?  Well that’s how I’d feel sometimes.  Like once a day or once every second day.  My roommate would be talking to me and I’d feel all her words and all my thoughts slip through my mind like my brain was a wicker basket.  I couldn’t hold a conversation and it was very difficult to appear as if I was.  That feeling would last 15-20 minutes then I’d be fine.  Then my class went bowling and I excited all day for it.  So we get to the bowling alley and I pretty much instantly started to feel very blah.  It was a huge effort for me to even feel at a normal level.  I was super low enthusiasm and had to force myself to talk or to have fun.  It was quite difficult to try and feel something.  Anything!  A spark of enthusiasm, I jolt of excitement, anything.  But it didn’t come.  I was still social and friendly, I may have just appeared tired.  I was thinking maybe because in the past I’d equate bowling with beer.  I’m not sure.

After bowling I went to my Mum’s house.  Then that thing started happening again where I get super foggy headed and my mind starts doing the ol’ wicker basket thing.  I explained it all to Mum and she said it could be anxiety.  But I said I’ve never experienced anxiety like that before.  It was like my brain wasn’t working or it was short circuiting.  And I know anxiety since I’ve battled it for 16 years and have experienced numerous peaks in the disorder.  But this was different..

When I got home that evening I Googled “quit drinking foggy head” and clicked on the first result that came up. In that post I finally learned that what I was experiencing was called PAWS (Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome).  I felt relieved to know that I wasn’t going bi-polar (the thought crossed my mind) and to know that my foggy head really was my brain rewiring itself.  It’s a wonder my sponsor never mentioned this very important bit of information but at least I was learning it now.

Bowling with my class in the midst of PAWS
Bowling with my class in the midst of PAWS
Back to school!
Back to school!

The Symptoms of PAW are:

  • Inability to think clearly or make decisions
  • Memory problems
  • Emotional overreactions/outbursts or lack of emotion/numbness
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Physical coordination problems
  • Stress sensitivity/hard time dealing with stress
  • Anxiety
  • Low enthusiasm/low energy

Depending on the severity of your alcoholism these symptoms can last weeks to months to even longer.  I’ve read about PAWS through numerous websites and the duration varies.  There’s also differing information on when these symptoms will peak.  Again, I assume it all depends on your level of addiction and usage history.

I’ve experienced all these symptoms in the first few weeks of sobriety.  Although week 1-2 were the worst.  The dangers of PAWS would the the chance for relapse.  Addicts like me use alcohol as their first choice for feeling better.  And the symptoms of PAWS feel shitty and scary and not comfortable.  So the chances for relapse are highest.  We have to learn to relax, find new perspectives, be honest, aware, avoid high-risk situations, and surround yourself with a good support system.

In week 3 of sobriety I went to work as usual and read up on PAWS some more on my bus ride there.  I’ve been with the same company for 6 years and never had any issues in the past with the alarm code.  I remember numbers pretty quickly and I retain them for decades.  But the second I walked through the shop door I panicked- I forgot the alarm code!  That’s never happened to me before and I swear, the blaring alarm was heard within a 1km radius of the store.  I called in the false alarm but the cops still showed up.  I was embarrassed and shocked that I actually forgot my simple 4 digit code that I’ve been using for the better part of 6 years.  It turned out that I sort of knew one of the police officers that arrived and I explained that I just quit drinking and explained that memory lapses was one of the symptoms of PAWS.  Neither of them knew that was a thing so I felt pretty awesome teaching a cop something new haha At least they were more sympathetic to my embarrassing situation.

As for the sleep disturbances symptom- I’ve always had some issues with sleep.  Primarily staying up late.  Once I’m asleep I’m good.  But I have the “night owl” gene that my Mum has.  [Disclaimer- I realize the night owl gene is not an actual biological occurrence]. I didn’t have many weird dreams, just dreams about school and my new classmates since that’s what I was in the midst of doing.  A new school, new friends.  I only had one alcohol related dream so far too.  I was getting a drive home by some classmates and I have a bottle of wine in the back seat with me and I was on the verge of crying and I kept saying “how are you guys gonna just drop me off at home alone when you know I have this wine?!”  I kept opening the bottle and taking big whiffs of it.  Breathing in deeply and smelling the sweet aroma.  That was it.  That was my first and so far only booze dream.  Smelling wine. The PAWS symptom of emotional outbursts/overreactions?  Yup, definitely a thing.  I hate it.  I’m trying so hard to change that part of me.  Hours pass after an episode and I’m still in a very negative head space.  In those moments I want to be normal again so so bad but it was like my brain is against me.  It’s like I can almost feel my brain being blocked.  I found out later by my social worker that what I was experiencing after a particular fight with my boyfriend was called amygdala hijacking.  That part of my brain that experiences emotions and the “fight or flight” response was fully activated and that part of my brain that sees logic and the calm and rational approach to situations (neocortex) was quiet to non existent.  I started saying things like “I’m a horrible person” (and actually truly mean it), “I hate myself and who I am, I’m nothing, I’m worthless, I’ll never get better”.  I was incredibly depressed and felt trapped and like a piece of shit who didn’t deserve to be here.  I knew logically that I shouldn’t be saying those things to myself.  I could hear my Mum (not literally) saying “Tell yourself positive things, don’t hate talk, love yourself” but it wasn’t working.  Something in my brain wasn’t letting me be a logical human.  I eventually started to calm down (hours later) and envisioned him alone in his room having a bad day and that it was me who could have made him so much more happier.  And I started to “click” into that logic.  That extreme emotional outburst was pretty much a direct result of my PAWS.  Plus a combination of my own flaws (self seeking, dependence, expectations, lack of empathy defects) that was just magnified by my brain healing/rewiring.  Thankfully, I haven’t had another strong emotional outburst like that one since.  If you experience emotional responses like this too I strongly suggest you do some research into this behaviour.  It’s not normal and it hinders your personal and emotional development and hurts those you love.  Does it work for you?  Probably not.  Why continue doing something that hurts?  Trust me, it’s not worth it.  And if feels good to change.

Excited for school but scared on the inside
Excited for school but scared on the inside

1 Month Sober- Finally Feeling Hopeful
April 13, 2014

My one month mark was April 2, 2014. A few girls in my class congratulated me a bunch throughout that week which was awesome.  I’m developing a few good friendships in school which helps so much with this transition into a better life.

The night before I got my one month chip from my AA Home Group I had a dream that I slept through it haha Thankfully I didn’t and I received it with lots of applause and smiles.  I carry my 2 chips around with my in my jacket wherever I go. The same leather jacket I’ve worn whole heatedly through all my drunken adventures of debauchery.  It’s seen some things man. haha People ask me how I’m doing.  All I can say is that it feels like something in my brain switched.  Something shifted.  Something clicked.  I see things completely different now.  My perception has changed.  For the better.  It feels as though everything is falling in to place and I’m feeling more and more hopeful every day.  A FAR cry from who I was 2 months ago.  It’s shocking actually.  Of course, the changing of the season is having a greatly positive effect on me too.  The snow is ending and the days are getting warmer and sunnier.  I’ve officially switched to my chucks and lighter leather jacket.  You can feel the sun is at a different angle and the atmosphere even has the different colour to it.  Maybe it’s just me, but I notice every tiny change when it comes to the fall-spring transition.  I had my first 2 assessment appointments (hour long sessions) with the Addictions counselor.  I told her everything about my life and where I want to go.  I told her I felt bad that I’m doing good now so I feel like I’m wasting her time.  She said I’m in the perfect mind frame for rehabilitation since I’m so insightful and open to changes.  She said if I was in crisis mode it would be harder to break through and really have the recovery info sink in.  Which makes sense.  I’m so goddamn determined to be the person I always wanted to be that I may be the most open I’ve ever been.  I truly hit bottom and I truly want a better life. I saw a meme that said something like “Worked 4th step, realized was a slut” and thought it was hilarious.  I don’t consider myself a slut or promiscuous- as I don’t slut shame.  I did some pretty horrible and selfish things and hurt a lot of people though.  But while working my step 4 (Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves) and step 5 (Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs) I realized I should write a list of everyone I’ve ever had a relationship with (because it’s part of the workbook I found).  Remembering all the bad shit that happened to me and all the harm I caused over the past 5 years was shocking.  Just to see it all out on paper.  But I didn’t feel bad about myself.  I’m over self-pity.  You can’t grow from self-pity.  So I recognized all the bad and asked my HP to help me be a better person and to remove all those defects.  I feel a lot better letting go of all the past shit.  I was still holding on to abusive relationships and still felt sick whenever I thought about specific incidents.  I had SO MUCH resentment for a lot of people in my past.  But writing a resentment list and working the other steps is where healing starts.


My 1 Month Chip
My 1 Month Chip
Learning baby CPR in school
Learning baby CPR in school

1 Month 3.5 Weeks Sober- Booze Dreams & Hangovers
April 27, 2014

At this moment I am 1 month, 3 weeks, 4 days, and 36 minutes sober.  But who’s counting. (Well, I am- I have a sobriety counter app).

I’ve been feeling tired and low recently but I’m sure that’s just the PAWS friggin’ around. The love of my life and I finally made our relationship official so now I can finally call him my boyfriend haha That’ll make it way easier when blogging. Plus being in love again and feeling like I can do anything with him by my side is the best feeling. I’m moving soon (within the next few days) and I still haven’t packed yet but whatever. I guess that might be adding to my stress though. And I know I need to do everything I can to decrease and prevent stress.

Before I quit drinking I would Google what to expect after quitting. I kept reading that my appearance will change for the better and people will comment on how great I’d look. I didn’t believe that because for the most part I thought I looked the same. Although I did secretly notice my face was getting droopy and not as pretty anymore. Before after I’d do my make up I’d feel sexy and I’d look pretty good in basically every picture ever taken of me (sorry if that seems conceited) but over the past year I was noticing that my face and body was changing in undesirable ways. I was gaining a bit of weight and my bloating was out of control and my skin was greyish and my face was drooping. I thought it was cause I’m now 30. Didn’t think it had anything to do with alcohol. But in the past 2 weeks I’ve had 3 different people tell me how my face is changing. They say I look brighter and healthier. My roommate told me, my boyfriend, and someone in my AA home group. They all said that they’ve noticed over the past few weeks that my overall appearance is definitely improving. Such an awesome thing to hear!! Especially when you’re a 30 year old woman who’s been self conscious of her possible fading good looks. I need a photoshoot soon to boost my damn confidence!

So let’s talk about dreams. It’s very common to experience vivid dreams after quitting drinking. Nightmares even. We’ve been so used to just passing out and not dreaming and now that we don’t have the booze aid for sleep our brains are much more active at night. Sometimes making it harder to fall asleep and providing vivid dreaming. I have noticed more dreaming yes but no nightmares. I’d have a few nightmares a week a few months ago but that was just because I’d watch “Paranormal Witness” constantly. But that’s unrelated. Anyways, vivid dreaming is one thing. You’ll have to watch out for relapse dreaming. Where you dream about booze in some way. You fight alcoholism all day then in your dream world you drink or think about it and experience all the emotions that go along with it. And that guilt and other feelings can follow you throughout the following day.

In the past almost 2 months of sobriety I’ve had 3 booze dreams that escalate each time.

First booze dream (3 weeks sober): I was getting a drive home by some classmates and I have a bottle of wine in the back seat with me and I was on the verge of crying and I kept saying “how are you guys gonna just drop me off at home alone when you know I have this wine?!” I kept opening the bottle and taking big whiffs of it. Breathing in deeply and smelling the sweet aroma. That was it.

Second booze dream (1 month, 2 weeks sober): I dreamt my 10 year old daughter (I have no children in real life) came out as gay and I cried a bunch. Then I went downtown and saw my Uncle but ignored him and kept walking. Then I went to a local bar and sat down at a table with friends (actually strangers, but in my dream I knew them). While sitting at the table of these guys I instinctively reached for a pint of beer that was on the table then realized what I did and cried and had to leave cause I wanted to drink it so bad. I kept saying in my dream that I was a month and a half sober and I didn’t mean to reach for the beer but it was instinct. This dream was in an after school nap and I woke up sad and texted my boyfriend. I said I wanted to cry. Then I did.

Packing to finally move out of my Cunard St. flat
Packing to finally move out of my Cunard St. flat
Building my confidence in the Women Unlimited program
Building my confidence in the Women Unlimited program

Third booze dream (1 month, 3 weeks sober): I was in my kitchen with some friends and they were all doing shots and I did one instinctively but only drank half of it cause I realized what I was doing. I felt really bad in my dream that I did that but also felt sort of nonchalant. I strongly remember the taste of the vanilla spiced rum.

Based on the progression of my booze dreams I can only imagine my next dream will be me getting hammered.  I’m not looking forward to that… Actually yes I am.  I miss it.  Well, I miss it this hour.  In a few hours I won’t.  When I really think about it I don’t miss it.  It’s just when I’m not thinking deep enough that I start to miss it.

I live in a city that is focused around drinking.  That’s what we do here.  So with the beginnings of spring come the day drinking, pub patios are starting to open up, and friends are stoop drinking.  I’m starting to feel the booze call through my Facebook newsfeed’s constant mention of alcohol and alcohol related activities.  Then I got a reminder of what a bad hangover is.  It’s easy to remember how fuckin’ awesome it feels to be drunk and partying but then you forget what a terrible hangover feels like.  The worst hangover of my life was in 2009 when I threw up everything including stomach bile for 12 hours straight and had to take gravol suppositories for it to stop.

I'm pretty sure I'll never have to go through that again.

2 Months 17 Days Sober- "I'm Doing OK" is a Lie
May 20, 2014

I’m all out of sorts today.  I don’t know why, could be the dreams I’ve been having.  I’m 2 months, 17 days, and 6 hours sober right now so I’d imagine all these feelings and dreams are just part of the early stages of recovery.  Friday night I had a dream that I said frig it and drank a bunch of beer.  But it was shitty light beer. If I’m gonna dream about drinking, why the hell would it be with light beer?!  And last night I had a dream I went on vacation down south and was alone.  I dreamt I was lounging in a hammock and the resort staff kept asking me if everything was good and if there was anything they should know about me.  I said no and made the conscious decision to drink a little bit.  After all, I was in the Caribbean and in my head I was thinking that it didn’t count because I was in another country and on vacation.  In my dream I knew it was a stupid rationale but didn’t care.  In my dream I convinced myself that I don’t have a problem and that I’ll be ok as long as I watch myself and control it.  So I drank fancy drinks in a hammock.


I just got home from my weekly AA meeting and it was a good one.  There was a newcomer this evening and he got his 24 hour chip and I was super happy for him.  I remember my first meeting and it felt like I was on another planet and shook the whole time.  After meetings I always hang around hoping to talk to people.  I have small talk then people leave.  I get weird vibes from some people, it’s like no one has time to talk to me.  Well there’s  some that do and that’s great.  I keep thinking that if I looked different people would be more receptive and warm towards me.  I’m the only one there that looks like a metalhead and I guess that could make some people standoffish.  I’m really nice to everyone and I smile and stuff so I don’t know what these vibes are I’m getting.  Maybe all AA meetings are like that.  If I was a year sober would they still be like this towards me?  I don’t know.  I stood outside the church finishing my cigarette waiting for my sponsor to come out and even started to cry for a second.  I didn’t know why.  I just felt so strange.  Right before that I was talking to a woman about drinking dreams and she said she understood then I said that all the next day they can make you start to doubt things.  Then her ride came out and she left.  I know that none of these people owe me to talk to me.  I just sometimes would like to hear ‘I get it and it’ll be okay’.  I know no one there has the responsibility to do that but it’s my only support group of people who understand the alcoholic me so it would be nice to feel welcomed completely.  Again, there’s like 4-5 people there that make me feel very welcomed and ask me how I’m doing and they mean it and I’m grateful for them.  So that’s who I’ll focus on.

I wanna cry and I don’t know why.  There’s tears blurring my vision now and I don’t want to let them fall cause then I won’t think clearly.  The past few days I’ve been thinking about the night I hit bottom and I’ve been remembering all those times I bawled my face off on my drunken walk home.  It’s so scary to think those things happened.  But then I remember how freeing it felt to do whatever I wanted.  I remember getting ready at home and getting all prettied up and drinking wine and feeling good then going out and seeing all my friends and getting loaded and laughing a lot then stumbling home and blasting Willie Nelson or Bad Company and singing around my apartment alone being so happy and so drunk.  Those days are gone.  But I guess along with the happy drunk days, the breakdown drunken days are gone too.  And I’m glad those are gone.  But of course, I’m still so afraid I’m gonna get emotionally upset some day and do something stupid.  I don’t want to die, I love my life and I have so much to look forward to.  I want to get to the point where I’m no longer afraid that I’ll do something stupid and fuck my whole life up.

I do so good for a while then I have bad days.  My boyfriend says that I’ve been super negative the past like 2 weeks.  That’s been my problem for most of my life.  I think the worst in situations.  It’s like my brain doesn’t know any other way to think.  It’s automatic.  I started going to a “Depression Workshop” last Tuesday and in the next 9 weeks we’ll look at identifying negative thought patterns and stuff like that so I’m hopeful this cognitive behavioral therapy I can finally start to fix myself.

I think I’m really stressed out.  I know part of PAWS (post acute withdrawal syndrome) is not being able to recognize if you’re stressed out or not so my clues are my sleeping patterns and the little OCD tenancies that start to come out.  Why am I stressed out?  I’m assuming it’s the accumulation of many things.  I just moved in to a new bachelor apartment (it’s small AS FUCK as shown in this 28 second video showing the entire apartment), my fridge was moldy until the landlord finally came and cleaned it 16 days after I moved in, my oven/stove has no temperature gauge so I have no clue what my food is cooking at so I haven’t touched the fuckin thing yet, there’s a weirdo in my building that gives me the creepo vibe and now I’m afraid he’ll continue to talk to me, I’m afraid I won’t get funding for school (I’m in the 3 month application process and it’s a lot of work and I’ll do it but it’s still stressful), I no longer have a job so I’m so afraid living off just EI won’t cut it (my phone bill is past due and I owe money on all my utility bills), I haven’t been eating good over the past few weeks because of the condition of my apartment, I’m starting to get those really bad (and probably very inaccurate) body image issues again where I hate my body and think I’m too chubby and start to talk self hate and tell myself I don’t deserve food and that I’m ugly and aging (I really need to get back to the gym and eat better again), my caffeine intake has increased greatly so I crash at the end of the school day every day, my sleeping has been wacky (I googled it and might have hypersomnia) <spell check just wanted to correct hypersomnia to hypersonic which is hilarious. I’m afraid I’m gonna get pregnant by accident and it’ll frig up all my school plans, my doctor and surgeon said I should go on birth control for numerous reasons I won’t go in to but being on the pill fucks with my head (I turn into an emotional wreck and a huge bitch), oh gawd, what else is stressing me out… graduation is coming up from the program I’m in in school (Women Unlimited) and I’ll be one of the valedictorians so I gotta start my speech plus I’m on the decorating committee and the photo album committee but those things are exciting, but still stressful, oh and my hormones are all over the place which I’m sure has a lot to do with things.  I’m just very thankful for my close friends and my boyfriend.  He makes me so legitimately happy and reminds me of all the good in the present and in the future.  I love him so much!

Anyways, I hate to be so negative but that’s just what’s on my mind.  When I close my laptop I’m gonna remind myself of all the good in my life and clean my apartment and force myself to think positively.  I’m just not gonna write about it.  I’ll try and make my next post a happy, hopeful, and positive one.  Cause I really do have those days!  I should just actually write about them.

1 Year Sober!
March 2, 2015

I MADE IT. It's been an entire year and I'm so proud and so flabbergasted I made it this far. Can I do another year? I actually think I probably could. Life is good and I feel full of life again.

My 1 Year Chip
My 1 Year Chip

1 Year 2 Months 21 Days Sober- That "Pent Up" Feeling
May 24, 2015

There’s many reasons why I haven’t relapsed yet. One is because school saved me. And my real friends. Mainly my bf and my Mum. But the biggest reason is because I don’t allow myself to be around old friends. I don’t allow myself to be in situations that make it uncomfortable/sad to be around people drinking and having a good time.  I feel like- well not like something is missing. Because I’m very happy. And my life is so incredibly different now. What I feel sometimes is like there’s something pent up.

I quit smoking just over 8 months ago so I’m quite sure this pent up feeling has a huge part to do with that.  Like when you finish eating you smoke. Or when you’re about to make a phone call you smoke. Or before you go to bed you smoke. Or when you wait for a bus, walk to work, take a break, relax. You smoke.

But then you take that away. Granted, you feel amazing and you can finally breathe, and you never want to smoke again. But you notice something that used to be a big part of your life is now gone.

Like when you finish eating you drink. Or when you’re about to make a phone call you drink. Or take a bath, or socialize. When you go to a wedding you drink. When you want to relax you drink. When you celebrate. You drink.

But then you take that away. Granted, you feel amazing and you can finally breathe, and your life isn’t hanging by a thread anymore. But you notice something that used to be a big part of your life is now gone.

Yes you have to learn to replace those cravings, replace the need to consume toxins with healthy alternatives. And I fucking have. I finished my first year of college with honours, I’m a valuable asset for a huge company with a steller reputation for my work term, I’m still living alone, paying all my bills, being a good person. Repairing the relationships I damaged when I was using. So I’ve been doing all the right things. I’ve found new coping mechanisms. But I guess I missed something along the way.

But did I? Maybe this is what happens after a year of sobriety. I won’t relapse. I’d lose so much I’m not willing to part with. But it’s still hard sometimes. And what I mean by hard. No I don’t fight with the urges to go to the lc (what we call the liquor store where I’m from), I don’t fight the urge to go out and get hammered. What I mean by “its hard” is the feelings I have. Longing. I miss certain feelings. It’s like I’m grieving an old friend who died March 2nd, 2014. I miss him a lot but I don’t want him back. Cause that’d mean he was a zombie risen from the dead and that’s never a good thing.

Me & my boyfriend
Me & my boyfriend

1.5 Years Sober- Happiness, Optimism, and "God?"
September 2, 2015

A year and a half sober.  It’s crazy.  And school starts in one week from today- my last year of college.  My boyfriend and I are moving in together this fall,  and we’re doing awesome.  I’m so in love and so happy.  The only shitty thing is that I’m now 164 lbs and I’m used to being 140 lbs.  Quitting drinking and smoking then eating whatever you want and barely exercising will do that!  I’m actually gonna do something about it once school starts though.  I’m not happy with my body and wanna be back to normal.

So I haven’t been to AA in like 2 months and it’s actually great.  Can’t believe I’m actually saying that because AA is the reason I made it to one year and AA is what contributed enormously to fixing my warped thinking.  But a few months ago I realized that going every week was starting to be a bit of a trigger for me.  I was starting to rationalize drinking again socially.  I know I can’t do that any time soon (or ever? idk, but definitely not for at least another few years).  But I was fantasizing about it more and more.  Then going to AA and thinking about and hearing about drinking for an hour a week was starting to get to me.  Then coincidentally my work schedule changed which caused me to work Monday nights (my home group meeting time) so I missed a bunch of meetings.  Then I just stopped going and stopped feeling guilty about it (took a long time for the guilt to go away).

I also didn’t like that it was sort of expected of me to believe everything was “gods will”.  If it happens then it’s what’s supposed to happen or if something doesn’t happen then ask your higher power for it.  Like I wasn’t in control of my own life?  I have to rely on a higher power every minute of every day?  Yes, I understand that higher power really just meant to listen to that voice inside of you that knows the real/right way of thinking and being.  But I just couldn’t get over the god talk.  I tried so hard to get over it and to block it out.  To replace it with “higher power”.  And it worked for a long time.  But then it just started to bug me.

I understand that “praying” is really just positive thinking.  And it really does help.  Positive thinking I mean.  But stop saying it’s “praying” and stop saying you’re “leaving it up to God” or “by the grace of god”.  I just can’t forget about reality (my reality) long enough to feel like there is a god directing my life.  What I believe is that there is a global/universal consciousness that we can all tap into.  I believe we can communicate telepathically with all living things whether it be just by feelings or by thoughts or by just knowing something is right.  So will I be thankful when things are going good?  Of course!  But I’m giving myself the credit.  Because I had the strength and knowledge to go through with it and stick with it  But I won’t give myself all the credit no, because my friends and family help immensely.  And maybe that universal light was looking guiding me?  Yeah, idk, that doesn’t sound right.  Probably because I didn’t believe in all that god talk for the past 31 years of my life so it can’t just happen overnight.  And I can’t fake it man.

Modelling for the Industrial Engineering Technology program haha
Modelling for the Industrial Engineering Technology program haha
I loved AutoCAD class
I loved AutoCAD class

1 Year 7 Months Sober- How I Made It This Far
October 6, 2015

Even at 1 year, 7 months sober I still feel my brain and thoughts positively changing with each passing month.  (So when they say it keeps getting better it really does!!) I didn’t have an idea of what sobriety would be like but I certainly wasn’t expecting continued change this far into it but it is a pleasant surprise.  But does that happen to all recovering alcoholics?  Unfortunately not.  At least that’s what I gather through my readings, research, and observations.

When people ask me how I did it- how I quit drinking then 6 months later quit smoking- I can’t really give them a simple answer.  Although in my head it’s a very simple answer.  Something clicked.  I was trudging through life, on a constant repeat of fall down/get back up (half way), doing whatever I wanted (aka hurting people and being selfish), hating myself, playing the victim, and smashing through life as the months turned into years and I realized my fear of being worthless was starting to become reality.

I was constantly saying yes to myself.  I thought “you only live once so do whatever you want all the time”.  Want to eat that entire cake? YES.  Want to cheat and lie?  YES.  Want to smoke this entire pack of cigarettes in one night?  YES.  Want to drink wine out of a gatorade bottle alone behind a gas station before you walk into a house party because you hate who you are sober?  YES.  Then came the night I almost ended it all. Then came the morning after I almost ended it all.  And I thought to myself NO.  Fucking no.  If I keep saying yes to everything I wanted to do I’d just continue being a lazy fuck up.  Having no boundaries in my twenties was fine but at some point you really have to start telling yourself no.  It builds character and gives your life direction.  Plus when you take your head out of your ass you really start to see what’s really going on.

Of course you have to love yourself and treat yourself and be kind to yourself.  But not all the time or you’ll turn into a spoiled, ego-centric asshole.  Or maybe not.  Maybe you’ll just turn into someone who looks like their life is functioning but really, it’s in shambles either mentally, emotionally, spiritually, or otherwise.  For me, it was a little of both.  Actually no, it was mostly the selfish clueless jerk and a little bit of the functioning grown up.  And maybe it’s just me (but I don’t think it is because I see it in others occasionally) but I realized that totally giving into drugs and alcohol sort of stunted my emotional development and maturity.  I was a friggin’ basket case when I was constantly saying yes to myself.  Did I have a personality disorder?  Probably.  Was I extreme in my emotions and reactions?  Oh yes.  Was behaving those ways productive for a happy and balanced life?  Gawd no.

So what do you do when you’re stuck?  Whether you know deep down inside or not that you have potential and you’re worth saving- you are. One of the hardest things I ever had to do wasn’t the act of no longer consuming alcohol.  It was understanding and utilizing self-awareness.  You gotta cut the bullshit.  You gotta hit that 180 point.  No time for crying (even though it’ll happen, and that’s ok as long as it’s alone and as long as it’s quick!), no time for excuses.  You gotta seriously look at yourself, at who you are, at what you do, how you think, or else you’re screwed.  It takes a lot of time and practice but with dedication (to a better life and way of thinking) and perseverance you can do it.

Besides the internal “sick and tired of being sick and tired” total mind overhaul the other hugely important aspect to recovery is support.  You really need a good support system.  Even if it’s just a few friends who are rooting for you.  For me, I was lucky because I had a boss that could see I was in pain and she tried to help.  The morning after I drank for the last time I woke up at 2:36pm- 2.5 hours late for work.  And not just late for work, I had to open the store and there was a cruise ship in that day so I probably had the company lose out on hundreds of dollars.  My boss knew that wasn’t like me and so when we had a meeting a few days after she brought with her AA pamphlets, brochures on NS Mental Health Association, and detox programs.  I called one of the numbers on one of the brochures and scheduled my first meeting with an addictions counsellor.

I then met with my addictions counsellor once a week for a few months which helped a lot.  She gave me guidance, resources, and was full of information and support.  I also started going to AA, started a cognitive behavioural therapy group (through mental health services), I was meeting other alcoholics through AA, I got a sponsor, my boyfriend was incredibly supportive, my mother, my best friends, my other friends, my family, etc.  I surrounded myself with supportive, good people, and I avoided those that didn’t support me.

I also avoided going to bars and avoided hanging out with friends that only ever wanted to drink.  I wasn’t ready to be around drinking for a long time into my recovery.  It was (and still is) really hard to distance myself from the people I really admired, respected, and enjoyed.  But I had to- at least until I was ready.  And that’s ok, a lot of people don’t even notice you’re not at the bar every weekend after a while.  Which isn’t a bad thing- we all have our own lives and shit.  No hard feelings, we’re all just doin’ what we feel is right or what we need to do in this moment.

Distracting yourself with new projects or goals helps immensely too.  Luckily for me, I went back to school at the same time I stopped smoking.  Going back to school changed my life so drastically that it was easy to forget the obsession of drinking and smoking.  I had so much to do and so many new things to look forward to.  I surrounded myself with support, started reading everything I could on alcoholism, addiction, mental health awareness, and success stories.  I didn’t want to hide anymore.  I didn’t want to be in denial anymore.  I had a problem and I needed to fix it.

Saying "yes" to yourself constantly takes a toll (active addiction)
Saying "yes" to yourself constantly takes a toll (active addiction)
Getting my light back
Getting my light back
Being a student again after 12 years was hard but worth it
Being a student again after 12 years was hard but worth it

You also have to understand that you’re not untouchable.  You will have weak days, just like you will have strong days.  That’s human.  Understand that relapse is always just around the corner and it can sneak up on you when your’e not looking.  Sure I’m sober and in recovery now but I’m not a saint and I always have to be on the lookout for negative thinking that could start to pull me back into the cold soft arms of addiction.

There’s a difference between blindly charging into avoidance vs. wholeheartedly plunging into recovery.  That difference is self awareness and dedication to a better life from the inside out.  White knuckling it (AKA dry drunk) does not promote longevity and inner peace.  Sobriety and recovery are two very different things and it’s my hope that the ones that need it will fully embrace recovery and actually start to heal.

For anyone interested here are the books I read in the first year of recovery that helped me a lot:

  • Alcoholics Anonymous (“Big Book,” 4th ed.) (2001).
  • Bourne, Edmund J. (2005). The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook, Fourth Edition
  • Dowsett Johnson, Ann. (2013). Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol
  • Fieldy. (2009). Got the Life: My Journey of Addiction, Faith, Recovery, and Korn.
  • Levine, Noah. (2004). Dharma Punx.
  • Mathews Larson, Joan. (2001). Depression-Free, Naturally: 7 Weeks to Eliminating Anxiety, Despair, Fatigue, and Anger from Your Life.
  • Tolle, Eckhart. (2004). The Power of Now:  Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment.

2 Years 3 Weeks Sober- I Don't Know What I'm Going to Do
March 24, 2016

Sometimes I get huge surges of relapse thoughts that consume me.  Happening now all from listening to a song reminded me of my rave days.  I’ve had a few of these moments today and I feel so much longing and so much disappointment when I realize that those days are gone.  I miss going out and getting drunk and smoking and getting fucked up.  I miss being around friends and bonding.  The “real” kind of bonding that happens when you’re all drunk together.  I miss dancing.  So bad.  I miss feeling confident and awesome at the bar.  I miss getting drunk and feeling the music flow through me. I miss all the good.  I miss my friends.  I miss parties.  I feel somewhat isolated and lonely sometimes.

the only thing that’s keeping me “sane” is school and the distractions that brings.  I don't know what I’m going to do when I’m not in school anymore and my school friends are gone.  I seriously don’t know what I'm going to do.  I’ve been doing this for the past 2 years.  And before school I was in the “school prep” “course” and before that I was in very early (3 months sober when I got to the prep course) recovery so I was focused on that.

I'm so afraid of the inevitable depression.  sometimes I think I'm going to relapse in the next year or two.  Sometimes I know I won’t.  Sometimes I am determined I won’t.  Sometimes I know I will.  Sometimes I want to.  Sometimes I don’t want to.  It’s so fucking hard.  Sometimes.

Sometimes I feel like things are just on pause.  Like school and turning my life around.  Like this whole turning my life around and finally doing the right thing is actually just a temporary pause.  Because it’s a different feeling on this side.  Pre sobriety I felt full and chaotic and colourful and young and pretty and either intensely happy or intensely sad or intensely mad.  Now I feel old and not so pretty anymore and sort of lame sometimes and either leveled out or sad or angry.  Yes, I do feel calm and genuine happiness and peace and I finally feel worth something.  So I guess that’s what I should focus on.  Cause this transition (can i even call it that anymore? It’s been 2 years…) is what I’ve wanted for so long.  To finally be doing something with my life.

I know I can’t go back out.  I know I can’t drink again.  I know I can’t smoke again. I know I can’t do drugs again like I used to.  And I don’t want to get bad again like that and fuck my life up.  But can’t I learn to do it the right way? Other people can!! Why can’t I?!  Am I that fucking broken FOREVER?!

I miss going out for a few drinks with a few of my bestfriends.  We’d get together and talk and catch up then have an amazing night together where we probably got too drunk.  But it was ok and it made me feel alive.  Now what do I do? I stay home and fucking waste away.  Sometimes I feel like I”m going to explode but I don’t know what I'd explode from cause there’s nothing but boredom in there.

I fucked it up and now I”m not allowed to ever drink again. I miss going to a pub alone and writing and drinking and feeling happy inside.  Sometimes it’s good to feel tipsy right?  Why does altered states have to be bad? Cause I over did it.  I abused it.  And I did the right thing with putting a stop to it before I ended up doing the unspeakable.  I get it.  I’m glad I quit.  I don’t regret it-  I’m so much more happier now.  I just really really really miss it sometimes and have little moments like what I’m having right now.


2 Years 1 Month Sober- Failing is Not an Option
April 2, 2016

“Failing is not an option”. Its good to know this and it’s also scary to know this. It’s good because it lifts me up and makes me feel like I just gotta take it one day at a time. But it’s scary because I know I’m “not allowed” to fail. Because it would be selfish. So fuckin selfish. I’d walk in that bar I just passed and sit alone and have a huge pint. I’d be doing it only for myself. And in turn, I would hurt people. And, yes, myself too. Being a sober person is generally great for me. But every once in a while it’s very very very hard. Like at this time of year when I’m finished classes next week and I’m graduating soon. The majority of my class is out partying right now. Having a lot of fun. Together. Happy. Fun. Bonding. And I can’t do that anymore. Makes me feel isolated. Yes I certainly was welcome to come out with them and it was a respectful environment and all that but yeah, I can’t. It’s WAY too hard. I feel like I got punched in the stomach. I’m craving the drunk again. Bad. But I know this feeling is only temporary. As is everything. ODAAT.

Smiling on the outside, scared AF on the inside
Smiling on the outside, scared AF on the inside