After completing a drug and alcohol detox program, I found myself on a Capitol Trailways bus headed towards those dreaded people, places, and things. I would have rather gone anywhere else in the world than back home, but I had nowhere else to go.
As I exited the bus two hours later at the center city station and made my way through the all-too-familiar streets en route to my apartment, everything was in sharper focus. It was almost jarring, an acute assault on my senses. Seeing everything through sober eyes for the first time in years was frightening.
When I finally closed my front door behind me, my sigh of relief was short-lived as soon as I realized that I didn’t have any food in my refrigerator. I remembered having stashed a $20 bill in the back of one of my cupboards before I left, so I ordered a pizza, ate three huge slices, and promptly fell asleep for the next 13 hours.
ONE MINUTE AT A TIME
After I was all slept out and aching all over from laying in bed too long, I got up and made my way to the kitchen to get a glass of water, only I realized I wanted a shot of whiskey instead.
I knew I needed to refocus, so I took a notebook out of my backpack and began rereading all the notes I made while in detox. I just made it through the past 24 hours sober so I knew I could do it again. I took a deep, cleansing breath and continued reading.
STEP BY STEP
The first thing I noticed was the importance of the first suggestion I had recorded:
- Hit a 12 Step Meeting – I knew that going to lots of 12 Step meetings like AA or NA was one of the things I had heard the most, so I figure I would make sure I did this right away. I had my meeting schedule planned out before I left treatment, so I hit a great meeting.
- Let Myself Be – I had already given myself as much as I needed of both food and sleep. I had a full seven days before I had to go back to work to focus on my recovery.
- Eat Well – While I stuck with mostly fruits, grains, and lean proteins, I also drank some juices and seltzer water to spice things up. And I had all the water I wanted to drink, which was the best thing for me.
- Give Myself the Spa Treatment – I had purchased some assorted bath bombs before I left, so I drew a nice, hot bath, poured myself a grapefruit juice and seltzer, grabbed a book I’d been meaning to read, and soaked until I got wrinkled.
- Make a List – After getting through the first 24 hours, I felt clear enough to write down all the reasons I got sober and what I had to look forward to.
- Use the Buddy System – I called my bestie for a nice, long, sober chat. It eased my loneliness and gave me something to look forward to as we made plans to hang out together at my apartment for dinner and a movie.
- Comfort Food is Okay, too – My little dinner party menu included sandwiches from my favorite sub shop and a big slice of their decadently delicious chocolate cake. Eating regularly is a little more important than maintaining the perfect diet every single day.
- Stick With What Works – When I got close to the end of my first week, I made a new list, this one being what choices I made that I enjoyed the most. I then expanded it to include future sober activities I wanted to try.
Remember, your journey of recovery is a personal one, so incorporate suggestions like these into what feels right to you.
If you or a loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, please contact Lighthouse Treatment Center today for help. We are happy to provide a no-cost, no-obligation consultation with one of our experienced treatment advisors.