We asked three men in early recovery what they find the most challenging about being new in sobriety and what they do to overcome these challenges.
“My biggest struggle in recovery right now is definitely learning how to deal with all my new feelings and how to cope with my feelings in a sober, healthy, positive way. This struggle comes up with new situations. It comes up at work. It comes up with my family. It comes up when I’m making amends with my friends and dealing with my past. Now that I’m sober, I don’t have any liquor or drugs to fall back on. Before I got sober I tried to avoid them as much as possible. I would always come across as very cold and distant. Then I would I would go from cold to very angry or on edge and volatile. I had to learn how to ground myself and find a middle ground. Today I use my tools. I breathe. I remind myself that not all conversations have to be a confrontation–that communication can be positive. What I bring to the table today is understanding, and try to be open and willing as possible and with lots of love. I have learned that I get what I give.”
—Manuel Gonzalez, sober since June 1, 2017.
BIT OF EGO
“The most challenging thing for me in early sobriety is coping with feeling euphoric recalls and learning to navigate that. Something else that his been difficult is wanting to have results, but being where I am. I only have a couple of weeks, but I want to be further down the path. I want to be at two years. It’s difficult to stay in the here and now. Sometimes it’s hard when people talk about how they have 10 years, or 20 years. I know time is important, but sometimes I don’t like to look at it. I know there is a little bit of ego, but this time that I came back, I didn’t want to talk about my time. I was more just happy that I was sober. I overcome this challenge by knowing that my journey is my own and not comparing myself to other people and their recovery. I need to be in acceptance with my story. I can’t worry about what other people are doing, or any judgements they have about my sobriety. That has helped me stay sober today.”
—Sean Brown, sober since May 10, 2018.
THE NEXT STIMULATION
“The most challenging part about recovery is standing still and not wanting to constantly be stimulated. I was always looking for stimulation whether it was through art, or music, or being out there meeting people and things like that. For years I kept myself stimulated when I was doing drugs. I overcome this struggle by learning contrary action and by learning to meditate. Ironically, it’s what my soul is telling me I need to do—meditate and take life on life’s terms and to sit still and to work hard. It keeps me grateful. Before, I was so wrapped up in my ego and I was so wrapped up in what the next stimulation was going to be. That is what is working for me right now.”
—Tomas Rodriguez, sober since September 21, 2017.
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