The first part of recovery is sometimes called the "pink cloud" or the "honeymoon" period. Everything feels great! The temptation is to almost glamorize what's going well and to ignore any current or potential problems. The challenge is to be realistic.
Something happens in the next month or two: Reality. All of a sudden, you hate your job, the kids are a pain in the neck, your spouse doesn't understand you, you have no friends, you are bored, lonely, and lazy, just to mention a few of the hassles. The challenge is to address the problems and manage the difficulties without using or drinking.
Sometimes things get even worse, or at least they get really different. By the six month mark of your recovery, decisions and major transitions begin to erupt: You get divorced or married. You have a baby, change jobs, move, buy a house, go back to school, buy a car, or any number of very dramatic changes. Many times these changes are an attempt to cope with the past two months, and maybe the past several years. The challenge is to work toward a lifestyle balance and repair the wreckage of the past, as best you can.
An interesting thing happens at about twelve months. You get arrogant or overconfident. Your mantra is, "I can do it myself", "I don't need meetings anymore", "I don't need a sponsor", or "I'm just fine now". You stop doing the things that got you here. The task at hand is to recognize which direction you are traveling in and recommit to the journey of recovery... before something bad happens.
If you recommit, then at about eighteen months you will begin to experience even more physical recovery and be ready for some heavy emotional recovery. Lots of issues will surface in regard to family, your childhood, other relationships, and your view of yourself. Many times, stuff you thought you dealt with in your first six months will come back on you. The goal is to continue your growth toward emotional health and achieve genuine intimacy in your relationships. It's OK. You'll be able to handle it now.
Does this seem like some kind of emotional roller-coaster? Well, it is. Life is. Keep your hands and feet in the car at all times. There's a lot of help out there if you want it. All you have to do is ask.
Dr. Candace McDaniel
8021 East R.L. Thornton Fwy, Suite A
Dallas, Texas 75228