How I Got Through the First 90 Days of Sobriety

December 7th, 2010 was the last time that any mood altering substance entered my body. Prior to that, I had been a slave to the disease of addiction since the age of 21. I took my first drink at the age of  13. I had no idea what the future held from that first drink on.

I have heard many people in early recovery say that the first year is the hardest. While I don’t disagree, it seems like the first 3 months are even harder. This was the case for me, and I am often asked how I got through that first year and especially those first 90 days.

On December 7th, 2010 I found myself at the turning point. I had first tried to get sober in 2008 and had failed over and over again. I was broken, empty, and defeated. I didn’t want to drink but didn’t know how not to. I sat in a situation that I was all too familiar with that evening. I sat with the mental obsession to drink. I had done everything I was told to do – or so I thought. I had gone to a meeting earlier that day and admitted that I had relapsed again. I made that firm resolution to myself and to the group that this time was going to be different. I knew even in that moment that I didn’t know how.

Here I was just a few hours later, and all I could think about was how I wanted to drink. I didn’t have a car at the time, but there was a gas station down the road that I could easily walk to. No liquor there, but I could at least get some beer and cleanse away the anxiety.

My heart raced. My palms were sweating. The battle inside began and I didn’t know what to do. I got up and walked to the door to walk to the gas station. My hand touched the doorknob and then I stopped. I walked away and sat down on the couch. I stood up once again and walked to the door to leave but my hand only touched the doorknob without turning it. I turned around again. In tears, I literally repeated this sequence about 5 more times, until I collapsed to the floor and began to sob.

I laid flat on my back and stared up at the ceiling.

“God,” I said. It was the first time I had called out for God in a long time. I wasn’t even sure if I believed in God anymore, but what did I have to lose at this point?

“God, I need your help here. I am going to lie on this floor until you do something to help me because the moment I get up – the next time my hand hits the doorknob, I will be turning it and I will go get a drink…and I REALLY don’t want to,” I cried.

I don’t remember how much time passed. A few seconds or maybe minutes, but not long after my plea, my phone rang. It was someone from the AA meeting that I had attended hours before calling to check on me. I admitted that I was not doing well, and we talked for awhile. Before I could realize how much better I felt afterward, my phone rang again. It was a gentleman from the company I had interviewed with about a week prior and he was offering me a job. I had been searching for months, with no success. I accepted.

In that moment, the obsession to drink was gone. I knew, however, that it could come back at any time. I made a deal with God that night. I know that many would say that you can’t bargain with God, but I verbalized an agreement.

“Ok. Here’s the deal,” I said aloud. I am going to give this thing one year – just one year. If at the end of that year of being sober I am miserable, I am going to go back to how I was living before….until I die.”

Seven years later, I still have not taken that drink or used any drugs. That night was only the very beginning of what would be an extremely life-changing year. I went through a lot that year – but all of that is for a different blog post. What happened over the next 90 days?

  1. I went to a lot of meetings and I worked the steps with a sponsor. I realize that 12-step programs are not for everyone, and it’s not my goal of this blog to push it on anyone. I will strongly recommend that you find a group of people to become accountable to that you can see on a regular basis. Not only does it create accountability, but being with others that are like you helps you feel less alone.
  2. I prayed – a lot. I am not saying this to push any religious beliefs on anyone, but only to stress how spiritual growth has been the key element for me to maintain any sobriety. Find something bigger than yourself to grab onto. I had to realize that my way of trying to do it alone had failed miserably.
  3. I kept busy. For me, this meant working a lot and going to meetings. There really wasn’t much else that I did during that first 90 days. I know that sounds sad, but honestly, it was the best thing for me. I needed structure and I needed to stay out of my head.
  4. I began to learn how to play the tape all the way through. In other words, all I had ever done in the past was think about the instant gratification that getting loaded could bring me. I didn’t fast forward to the next day where the regret, hangover, and misery would be waiting for me. I began to play the tape forward and place myself in the aftermath. I didn’t want to feel like that anymore.

 

I hope maybe this post has helped someone – anyone. If you’re just getting sober, hang on and take it one day at a time. If what you have done in the past isn’t working, maybe it is time to try something different….even if it seems stupid, scary, or pointless.

Follow the Bread Crumbs – you never know where they might lead you.

7 thoughts on “How I Got Through the First 90 Days of Sobriety

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  1. Thank you for the reminders. We have similar sobriety dates, mine is 9/15/2010. But sometimes, actually now, I feel like a newcomer. My meeting attendance is down, my character defects blaring, and my old behaviors creeping back into my life. I know what I need to do, as this has happened to me before in sobriety. So, I thank you for reminding me what it was like, what happened and the keys to survival. Even with seven years, all we really have is 24 hours.
    ❤️Kat from Baltimore, MD

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    1. You are so right. I found myself getting very arrogant around year 3 until an old timer that I very much looked up went back out and committed suicide. It broke my heart and shook me to my core. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow is never guaranteed. I still struggle with life on life’s terms a lot…but have yet to relapse over it.

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  2. I love this. I made it past my 90 day mark just fine, it was months 6 & 9 that I kinda struggled through. What keeps me sober is, I too play that tape of the bad stuff that I did and how crappy I felt physically, emotionally and mentally. I also didn’t want to let my husband, my sponsor and my fellowship down by taking a drink. AA hs given me hope and tools to help me one day at a time. ❤️

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  3. Great blog! I especially like your moment of surrender — it’s beautiful. I’ve spend time in AA, and I think it was well worth it. I was just too stubborn to do what I was told! But all of that reading and training and listening to people’s stories stayed with me. I think it all adds up.

    Liked by 1 person

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