Not picking up adrink for the first few days of my sobriety was not terribly difficult from me-I had not been a daily drinker and didn’t drink much on the weekdays. Thatfirst weekend I avoided going out with anyone and laid low. At the time, Iplanned on taking a brief hiatus, picking back up when I had things figuredout.
One of the firstthings I did was connect with a counselor through the Employee AssistanceProgram at work. I met her and we discussed what was going on in my life and myconcerns with stopping drinking – mainly that I wouldn’t be able to keep mysocial circles and would lose relationships I had spent years building. Duringour first conversation, she told me she didn’t think I was an alcoholic basedupon what I had told her and that it sounded like I didn’t know how to managethe stress in my life. We spent our six sessions talking about self-care andhow I could balance out my life, which was really helpful for what I was goingthrough. However, I was scared of drinking and didn’t pick up a drink.
After the first fewweeks, I got into a groove without drinking. I was able to go out with friends,go on vacations and didn’t change much in my life. Looking back now, I felthealthier but my life wasn’t improving overall. I shifted my stress relief fromdrinking to eating and noticed that when I would get stressed out andoverwhelmed, I would go eat something. I knew I couldn’t drink, but lacked thetools to center myself.
Over the course ofthe 6 months before I started a program. there were two occasions when I found myself overwhelming wanting a drink – both towards the end of the period before beginning my program The first was during Charlotte Pride- I was in charge of a booth, dealing with kickball registration, and working on planning a 5k. I was so overwhelmedand wanted to get drunk and forget all my problems. Luckily I called a friend who walked me through way drinking again because I was stressed probably wasn’ta good idea. The second time I wanted to drink was over labor day weekend. Ispent all day on the lake with some friends and I was the only person not drinking and I felt uncomfortable. By the time I left, all I wanted to do wasdrink. I went home to be alone and slept for several hours until the urgepassed. I could tell this was going to happen more frequently and get stronger.I wasn’t sure what to do.
A few weeks later, a family member of a friend of mine passed. I won’t get into too many details, but they were involved in a program. During the memorial service, a lot of people who spoke were in the program (I could tell by everyone saying “Hi & so’ after they introduced themselves). I felt a presence and a strength from these individuals that I wanted. It dawned on me that a recovery program might provide that for me and keep me from drinking. At that point in my journey I didn’t know what else to do.
Later that evening Iwas at a housewarming party talking to a friend about this and he mentioned he knew someone who was in recovery and worked a program He suggested I reach out to them with questions. This person would be the one to take me to my first meeting and help me begin the journey to finding my way in sobriety.