I feel like I know a fair amount about how to get through the earliest phase of sobriety.
1. Have a replacement drink and/or replacement activity for wine-o-clock.
2. Be kind to yourself. Eat sweets. Sleep more.
3. Avoid alcohol and alcohol-related situations.
4. Seek support from other sober people.
5. Let your body and brain begin to heal.
And so on. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. I think of this phase as the hibernation period.
But then what? You can’t hide out forever, and you hopefully don’t want to. And, I’m starting to realize, there’s important work to be done. In the next phase. When you feel ready. No rush.
Some call this next phase of sobriety the “navel-gazing” period because you’re thinking a lot about how you ended up in this place and where to go next. How to build a new alcohol-free life. True. But I also think it’s important for there to be action, not just thinking, especially for me. Because thinking rather than acting is my default setting. Perhaps related to that whole law of motion thing.
So here it is: I think I’m getting to the point where I need to do the things I used to do with wine, do them without wine, and work out my new normal.
And I need to realize that I won’t get it exactly right the first time. And then try again. And keep trying until I figure it out.
Case in point. Last night we went out to dinner. We went to the steak place I’ve been avoiding because of the whole red wine red meat thing. And it was great. The food was great. The service was great. And there was dessert. Before the food came, I had an O’Doul’s with a lime. It tasted good and I felt like a grown-up. Also great. Then I tried having a second during the meal. Terrible. I felt like I was drinking a loaf of bread with my steak. I didn’t finish it.
So next time the second drink needs to be something lighter. Got it.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat. (But don’t drink.)
p.s. Advice for phase two, welcome and appreciated.