Enjoying The Good Life…Managing Quick Success In Early Recovery

by Dick on June 18, 2012 · 8 comments

in Addiction, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Alcoholism, Recovery

My sponsor texted me the other day: “You alive? Still sober?” I had to laugh because I just got back from the most fantastic family vacation to Disney World in Florida. I replied, “Yes, very much so!” (On a side note, DisneyWorld is an awesome venue for a sober vacation, especially if you have kids. Be wary of Epcot World Showcase, though, as there is quite a bit of public drinking going on).

The vacation would not have been possible without all my hard work over the last 6 months on my recovery. Not to mention that we could afford it now because my business has been so great during this time as well! I am very grateful and thankful for this.

But, there is also a double edged sword with quick success during recovery. Learning from past experience, one can start taking recovery for granted, and start slipping into old unhealthy mind-sets of over-confidence and denial based thinking. I have continued to attend my 4 meetings per week, and this has kept me grounded.

But I will share a hard moment recently during a night out for my wife’s birthday at a nice Italian restaurant, watching other diners enjoy their wine. “Ah, a glass of nice red Italian wine would be nice, I thought…” So the disease is always just below the surface, ready to pounce at a moment’s notice. My wife asked me if I was ok, and in the past I would have gnashed my teeth and said I was fine. But I was honest and said, no I wasn’t ok, I was have a hard time. I felt bad for her because she doesn’t know what it’s like. But fortunately the food came shortly after and the hand-rolled pancetta tortellini with cream sauce wiped out that craving completely! They say food kills the appetite…and in this case, the craving.

I hope someday that I won’t feel jealous pangs that I cannot enjoy a nice glass of wine at a fancy dinner. My friends in AA always say “this too shall pass.” In the meantime, I just have to recognize that I’m still in early recovery and I cannot control my thoughts, just my reaction to them.

Anyways, that’s all I got today. Carpe Diem and all that.

One day at a time…


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  • http://belowhermeans.wordpress.com/ B. (Below Her Means)

    Beautifully done. It’s day 25 of no drinking for me. One foot in front of the other.

    • Dick

      Thank you! Congrats on 25 days. Keep up the good work!

  • Kristen

    We’re going to disney in August…have a lot of memories of drinking in Epcot, so know that will be a tough one, but nice to hear otherwise it’s still enjoyable.

    As for the jealousy, I definitely struggle with that one. This past weekend (on vacation), we were out to eat and I looked around the restaurant and saw all these couples enjoying cocktails and felt sorry that would never be my husband and me. If I’m honest, it was more like self-pity, but it felt natural and so I felt it (sharply), and then it passed. I hope it’s true what they say that eventually that goes away. It also made me think of ‘hungry-tired-thirsty’ and how any of those can trigger a craving for a drink. Like you said, good food is a wonderful substitute.

    Anyway, really love this post and looking forward to reading more from you!

  • BGF

    Needed to hear that right now as I am starting from square one after a relapse. Off to Hazelden for my first night of IOP, a place I previously began on 2/7/12. I cannot have any secrets as I attempt to follow this program better than the last time. That’s all it took, one secret to derail the mind and process. I’m excited to get back those highs I felt in early recovery and gard my sobriety with my life. Cause it is my life and the only way to a happy one. Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/aimee.thibodeaux Aimee Foster Thibodeaux

    Looking forward to sober Disney trips! When I start romanticizing the drink, I play the tape all the way through. I was never that pretty woman sipping a martini, I was that slurring, in your face crazy lady. That usually cures it pretty quick for me! Great blog-found you from Cryingoutnow.com

  • http://twitter.com/SoberLawyer Sober Lawyer

    Thanks for all the comments!

    Aimee, yes Disney was awesome. Best time I’ve had in a long, long time. Problem for me was always that I could have just one drink whenever I felt like it. But on those jackpot nights, I was a mess.

    BGF, I also went to Hazelden! Great program. Wrote a full post here: http://www.soberlawyer.com/2012/01/14/my-hazelden-experience-the-power-of-the-peer-group-and-fellowship/

    Kristin, I went to Epcot 5 years ago as part of a guy’s golf trip and we literally went to every single country and had drinks there. We were “deported” from both Germany and the UK! Crazy story for another day…


  • Heather Kopp

    Great blog. I am always looking for good recovery sites. I get the jealous of others drinking thing. It took me a while to figure out that letting my mind even go there for half an inch only made things worse. If I got in the ring, I got punched. But it did pass and I think part of it was just reminding myself over and over that that beautiful glass isn’t even real–for me, it doesn’t exist. Now, it really doesn’t. My husband can drink a martini in front of me and I swear it’s invisible. So nice to mee you Dick. I blog over at Soberboots.com if you ever want to say hi. It’s not always about recovery, but mostly.

  • Paul Anon

    Hey there, hope your doing well,
    I’ve just read Jason vales great book, “kick the drink…easily” and it’s really helped form an opinion on my the reasons why I drink. Which are in fact total bollocks! So rather than agonizing over whether or not I need a drink because I think I’m missing out on something other people are having, I question the curious alcohol related thought with the fact that I could drink, but there’s no benefit to doing it, and lots of downsides. What you think as a drinker it does for you, it actually doesn’t.

    In the same way I could start gambling, but I don’t do that either because I know the house always wins.

    Ive been to AA this week and The idea of gritting my teeth and suffering for rest of life doesn’t work for me and I think it’s a tough message to sell. I’m going to be happily cognitively aware that there’s nothing good about drinking alcohol, even if “everyone” else is doing it. That way not having it, ever again, is that easier a choice. It’s really energized me this last week, and I’m not exhausted from using willpower to suppress my thoughts. For the first time, I have no fear or expectation of failure.


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