30 days and done

There’s an idea, a fairy tale, if you will, that’s been going around. It may have even begun before Alcoholics Anonymous found the solution for alcoholism. The story goes something like this: go to treatment for 30 days (or however many meetings your Judicial Scholarship requires), and then go home and return to life as normal. I’m pretty sure this myth is perpetuated by pre-recovery alcoholic/addicts, and also the family members who desperately want things to go back to “the way they were”. That does sound good, doesn’t it?

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Stick with the Winners.

When I was first clean, my Mom had a big house with a very pretty bar in the basement. I mean, a pool table, big screen tv, and little lights behind all the bottles. She said to me, more than once, something like “it’s too bad you’re not drinking anymore, since we’ve got this fully-stocked bar!” She didn’t know. She’d never seen me in all of my drunken, belligerent, sloppy, (and eventually) semi-comatose glory. I assured her that she really DIDN’T want that, and that if I did have a drink, there wouldn’t be enough for me, anyways.

But I get it. I can imagine that most social drinkers wish we could join them for, oh, I don’t know, a half a glass of wine (AS IF), now and then. This is just one more aspect of sobriety in which we have to help educate them. It’s NEVER going to be like it was again, unless you look back to way before we ever took that first drink. Even then, the only real similarity would be that we weren’t drinking. The “ism’s” would still be there.

In my early months years sober, I stayed at Mom’s place a few times. She asked me once “How long do you have to go to those meetings?” And I told her what I’d heard from The Winners: “Until I die from something else.” That mindset helped to keep me clean/sober.

The fact of the matter is that the initial 30-60-90 days are primarily to get most of the chemicals out of you, and get you started on the right path. I don’t think there are any successfully recovering folks who didn’t continue to make drastic changes in their lives for a very long time, after.

So, my friends, if you’re thinking about getting rid of whatever you’re addicted to, I hope you’ll keep this in mind: as long as you want to feel better, and as long as you want to hate yourself less & less, and have people begin to trust you again…That’s how long you’re gonna have to live this New Life. If you’re good with returning to the lifestyle of your last several drunks (or whatever), then just do sobriety half-assed, don’t get committed to it, and hang around the same people you used to. That’s a recipe for all the misery you once had, and then some.

I’m only saying it because I care. So, to re-cap: Treatment does not equal recovery. Judicial Scholarships are not given out as the absolute solution to alcoholism, addiction, codependency, or any number of other addictive behaviors.

They told me in The Rooms something to the effect of “You didn’t walk that deep into the woods in one day. It’s going to take a while to find your way back out.” Another saying (we really do have a ton of them) is that “Time takes time.”

So, I hope this has been helpful. It’s a sign of progress when the newly clean/sober individual goes to a meeting every day, or meets with their counselor frequently. It really is a Good Thing.

Posted from my hut in the forest.

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