4 months into recovery, I feel a strange mix of comfortable familiarity and exhilarating newness. I no longer feel hyper-aware of every moment without alcohol, yet I still encounter many “firsts” – the first trip to the lake since I quit drinking, first performance since I quit, first time I went over to my sister’s for a late night chat that didn’t involve wine. Soon we’ll enjoy our first anniversary since I’ve quit – our twenty-second and yet our first.
A new pair of jeans start to get really comfortable around this time, even thought they still look nice and new. After 4 months or so a new romance starts to blossom into a “relationship” – where self-consciousness gives way to showing your true selves and passion becomes intimacy. Around 4 month a new pregnancy starts to show. It’s enough time to build a house or grow a garden or lose 50 lbs.
I see parallels in all of these things to my new life of recovery, but the most curious analogy of all is to new life itself.
The new me is 4 months old.
At 44 years of age, it’s been a long time since I had to admit I didn’t have all the answers. As my sons become independent young men, I’ve taught them to drive, do laundry, fill out their own taxes, and wipe the gunge out of the microwave – all the essentials for independent living.
It’s easy to start believing I know it all when I constantly have the pleasure of imparting my great worldly wisdom on the less established.
Yet when it comes to my sobriety journey, every day brings something new.
A quick internet search of what to expect from a 4-month-old baby shows startling equivalencies to my current experiences:
A 4-MONTH-OLD BABY IS…..
“FEEDING LESS FREQUENTLY” (I’ve given up “Dibbs” altogether although they certainly got me through detox. I still allow myself snacks to help with occasional cravings but there are actual pauses between all the eating)
“REACHING OUT” (I’ve become less introspective and started to notice the world again. I’m taking an interest in things!)
“ABLE TO PLAY ALONE” (I can stand myself. I enjoy myself. I am not trying to escape from myself!)
“BEGINNING TO UNDERSTAND LANGUAGE” (I have a whole new toolbox of ideas that are new to me)
“SEEING COLOURS” (The world has become more beautiful and alive – I stop to see and feel the beauty around me and give thanks on a regular basis)
“GETTING MORE SELECTIVE ABOUT PEOPLE” (Wow, that’s a big one. I’m getting to know myself, starting to understand my own motives and see things more clearly. This means I am rethinking my inner circle and carefully choosing who I draw in close and trust.)
“LAUGHING AND SOCIAL INTERACTION” (After weeks of dealing with the demands of a newborn, it is such a treat when that little one starts to smile at you and reward you for all that hard work! I feel like I am there with myself – I am loosening up and catch myself having fun and laughing without guarding it all.)
Let’s not draw the parallels too much further or you know I’ll be tempted to throw in a diaper joke and well, then I’ll have gone too far.
Suffice to say, at 4 months I am in a very good place.
If you are drinking more than you’d like and are thinking about quitting, 4 months can sound like an impossible amount of time. It’s flown by for me. The beginning was the hardest and once I got through it time seemed to speed up.
If you are in recovery yourself, perhaps you know this feeling of hitting your stride and feeling strong. Either way, I think we all agree that the beginning is the hardest.
There have been many challenges and difficulties, especially this past week when I was feeling the pressure of the “sandwich generation”. However, my recovery seems to be giving me added strength to get through things, and I am keeping on carrying on.
I know this is an old post, not sure if you go back and respond. I can so relate to you and have been listening to the bubble hour daily for about 2 months now. Truth be told I found the bubble hour 3 years ago and started listening then, obviously i’ve put off quitting. You do amazing work!!! I know I need to stop drinking. I am, like you and many others a mom, struggling knowing I have this thing i need to quit for YEARS… I’m isolating, wake up with anxiety, but seem to still be able to put on that normal front… but i can’t stand it anymore for my kids. I need support but don’t want AA, blogs are great, I LOVE your podcast and the people you interview I can totally relate, Any other communities you can recommend? I also think I need a therapist but live in a small town, hard to reach out.
Your blog was one of the first I stumbled upon on this new journey of mine. I’m two weeks in and so much has already changed with regards to my perception. It has not been easy. Today was tough, with a sick toddler, no crutch at the end of the day AND the added pressure of keeping myself saturated in sobriety resources (to remain focused). Last night was my first sober social occasion amongst alcohol, a BBQ. Caused a lonely feeling when I came home. These two combined made for a tough tough day with feelings of depression surfacing. My daughter finally went down for a nap. The break alone helped greatly. But, I wanted to take a moment to say during her nap – this particular post left me feeling so positive about my decision. Just to know that days may seem so hard right now, but if I remain strong and use my resources, there is a light at the end of the no alcohol tunnel. Thank You for sharing your journey.
Hi Gracie, thanks for sharing your struggles. Your little one is lucky to have a strong mom who is willing to do difficult things in order to best her best. She deserves it, and you even more so. I hope the journey is getting a little easier every day. xo, UnP
4 days in
3 days in and struggling.
I’m thinking of quitting drinking. I stumbled on your blog after watching rerun of housewives who drink. I’m stuck on never drinking again, and will I still be the fun one? Help
Hello! Nice to hear from you. The “never again” is daunting for anyone, which is why you hear people in recovery say things like “step by step”, “one day at a time”, “just for today” and “keep coming back”. The only long term thing to focus on is the “you” you’d like to be and if drinking is getting you there or keeping you from it.
I’m amazed to have discovered I am still fun sober! Maybe all that brilliance and zest I thought came from drinking was in spite of the booze and not because of it. I just came home from a dinner party where I had an O’Dooles while others had cocktails and I still manage to sparkle through the evening.
I hope this helps. Thank you for reading my blog and all the best! Be well!!
LOVED this post. I am just over 4 months sober myself and just stumbled across your blog. How are you doing now?
Beautiful post. I am scared to death but every time I read your words or others on #XA I step one step closer to the truth I cannot avoid. Thank you.
There is so much support for you, when you’re ready. I am relieved to have made changes in my life. I don’t always “love” it, but I do feel certain it was the right move and as I look back on my posts I can see how drinking was taking away my power and shriveling my character. It’s nice to have myself back. Stay in touch – you know I am here for you.
This is brilliant.
I, too am right at 4 months (125 days, but who’s counting?), and the tangible examples right here are so true. Thank you for this.
I too see a change in you in the past 4 months of writing; it’s very cool, especially since I found your blog very soon after I got sober. I see me in you, reflected.
Congrats to you on four months – what a journey, hey? I am so fascinated by the ordinary-ness of these extraordinary changes in ourselves. It feels like my own little miracle and yet others share the same experience. Then again, babies are born every day and each one is a miracle. Butterflies emerge from cocoons. Flowers bloom. Extraordinary things occur everywhere. Including US!!
this was a brilliant comparison…nicely done. And congrats on 4 months! What an accomplishment and I can see so much growth since you first started writing 4 months ago.
When I feel the temptation to drink I only have to think back to that whiney weenie version of myself and I know I never want to slide back to that!
Congratulations, unpickled one. I appreciate how you reflect upon your milestones. I do believe that journaling or blogging allows one to dive in a little deeper with the introspection. Keep on keepin’ on.
Thanks! I promise to try and avoid simply navel-gazing. It isn’t always easy to dig deep and then share it, but each time I do I am glad. Kind of like working out or cleaning toilets.