Being newly sober is weird. I can vividly remember being in a state of discomfort on a constant basis. For several months during the detox period which for me seemed to last forever, that was the source of my discomfort. As time moved along and the pains of getting physically sober minimized, I found other things to get uncomfortable about.

I am NOT unique in this regard although I sure as hell thought I was at the time. I would see someone who seemed well adjusted to life and appeared comfortable in their own skin and I would say to myself, “I would love to take a buck knife to my skin and be able to put that person’s skin on, that would be nice.” This isn’t a Hannibal scenario here, I am not alluding to the desire of cutting someone else’s skin off, but sure as hell my own!

In recovery it’s common to hear people discuss discomfort and most importantly what actions they took to get more comfortable. Little things like going to do errands that most people do with no problem can be a big f’ing deal when newly sober. The smallest things can set us off, some asshole cuts us off on the road, or we are the asshole that cuts someone else off and then the shame sets in along with all the discomfort that comes with it. Or you get behind the guy who has 38 items in the “15 Items or Less” lane, that crap can still set me off, but I don’t allow it to wreck the day.

The fact is, when newly sober there’s so much stuff going on with us emotionally as we have been used to years of hiding behind the blanket and false security that drugs and alcohol gave us. That has certainly been my experience, and it has been my experience with other men I have sponsored and intervention clients I have counseled upon being discharged from treatment.

It’s almost never fails that when we share these silly emotional upheavals with another person in recovery, we always feel better having discussed it. More often than not I would be laughing at the end of the talk, and we mutually agreed that we are often totally crazy even sober. As time moves on, we develop a better sense of calm, working a solid program of recovery often gives us the infamous “Pause when agitated.” There was no pausing whatsoever when I was newly sober, I seemed to always feel my hair and ass was on fire at same time. Right or wrong, I always shared my insanity with other men in recovery who I had grown to admire and trust. Being super vigilant with attending meetings, being a part of something so much greater than I could ever be, along with telling the truth to my sponsor always gave me relief. So, I became addicted to trying to grow emotionally and spiritually and I am still workin’ on it! It’s often said we are in spiritual kindergarten, and I take it a step further: I am in spiritual pre-school, and I am never gonna graduate!

What we learn to do is simply practice. All of us are on different timelines and I have come to believe that God decides when we grow, when we take a step backwards or forwards, always reminding us that we are all works in progress. At least that’s what I have learned, and I enjoy that.

I recall a long-time sober man telling me, “How you feel and how you look at things right now will change, generally for the better.” Those words have been absolutely spot on and true. I can’t think of this stuff on my own, I am continuing to learn from others, people who have come before me as well as the newer person in recovery. In some shape or form everyone teaches me, when I remember that it keeps me free from that awful place of judgment and other toxic emotions.

I had a 37-year-old guy call me today, we did a family intervention for him a little over a year ago. He called to tell me he recently got his “One Year” sober chip at his home group. Before the call I was actually “comfortable being uncomfortable” as I was avoiding the here and now, way too much forecasting and down the road thinking. Just like that, my morning was changed having talked with that man whose life has changed for the better because he got sober. Had you witnessed what I walked into when we intervened you would not think this person could get sober. Never count anyone out, miracles do happen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *