Holy cannoli. Two frikkin’ months.
Believe it or not, folks, I’m still sober. It’s a pretty amazing feat. And, I’m proud.
Even though the past month has gone by quickly, I know that I’ve covered a lot of ground. This second month sober has been difficult. Far more difficult than the first. And, it’s been a very different experience.
Month two, while still an optimistic month overall, has had quite a few more challenges.
Cravings. Insomnia. Anxiety. My short fuses. All these things played pretty major roles in my state of being in the last 30 days. And, I’ve been grateful to identify them all by practicing mindfulness as a part of my rehab program, and, through self-examination (and behavior amendments) by way of the steps suggested as a program of recovery in Alcoholics Anonymous.
But, sadly, identifying and working on my problems hasn’t made them go away. It’s the little bit of the pill that’s hard to swallow. Accepting that you have these problems and character defects, and, yet, they remain. Not everything is fixed in one fell swoop. It’s a process, and, frankly, getting sober is hardly a quick fix. Sure, I’ve given up the drink, but, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
One of the reasons I think this second month has been such a struggle is because I’ve been in the program long enough to know and see that I’m not a total newbie. It’s not that fresh, crisp, white, glistening layer of snow that the first month looked like. It’s a bit muddier. Yet, I’m still new enough to see that the road ahead looks long, and rough. And, it’s intimidating. Daunting even.
PAWS (Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms) are a very real thing. I’m living with it day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute. And, as I’m faced with symptoms, knowing what they are, and why I have them, well, it isn’t much of a solution to the problem. It’s just an awareness. The (S), or symptoms, related to PAWS are:
- Mood swings
- Variable energy
- Low enthusiasm
- Variable concentration
- Disturbed sleep
Whoop, dere it is. My life in a nutshell.
And, all there is to do about it, is keep on truckin’. That’s the valuable lesson that I’ve learned this month. That no, this isn’t an easy process. The 12 Steps and 12 Traditions of AA are simple, but, they’re not easy to do or digest. Worthy, but challenging. Taxing even.
My pink cloud may have drifted off, only to be replaced by a gloomy, rainy, ol’ Portland cloud. But, as the saying goes, this too shall pass. And then, I’ll have 90 days. Then, 6 months. 9 months. A year. It’s just a matter of time.
But, truly, there isn’t some end to it all, and, therefore it isn’t about how many days, months, or years sober I have, really. It’s about the quality of my life. The persistence I exhibit and the progress that I make are the things that will really matter. So, at this milestone in my recovery, I’m going to accept that I am where I am. I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing. Because, I’m doing lots of good things. So, why trip out on the number 60?
In the words of the fine secretaries in AA meetings all over the world: How about just for today?