By Aaron Emerson
A lot of people in the recovery world often say the first 30 days of sobriety are the hardest to achieve. Whether that is true or not, any day sober for an addict or alcoholic is a miracle, so to stay off drugs and alcohol for a whole month is something special.
I have been through this several times before, having achieved 30 days sober three different times that I can remember. However, I am probably just as excited achieving this milestone as I was the first time, when I was battling heroin. It is a totally different kind of excitement, though. The first time I stayed clean for 30 days, it was almost a euphoric type of feeling, as I was addicted to heroin for five or six years prior and could never stay off of the dope for even one day, unless I was in jail. I never thought I would get sober, so when I was able to get through a month without taking anything, I was amazed, proud of myself and sort of shocked.
This time around, however, I was totally defeated after a very long relapse. The shame and guilt I experienced for letting myself fall into the grips of alcohol after being an outspoken advocate for recovery was overpowering. I felt like I let many people down, and I was also embarrassed because I knew what the likely outcome was going to be once I started drinking. I still did it, and that is how powerful this disease truly is. It doesn’t matter if we stay sober for one year or 35 years, we can never “beat” this disease or ever be able to use or drink successfully.
Anyway, to come back from that, I had to swallow my pride and check myself into rehab, for that was the only way I was going to stop drinking. I told myself throughout that last year that I would stop drinking on my own and it never lasted more than 24 hours. After a week in rehab, though, I started to get extremely excited about recovery again. Some of that joy and hope started manifesting in my life again and I actually liked being in rehab.
Yesterday (Friday), when I woke up 30 days sober again, I immediately thought about the milestone and said a little thank you prayer. When I went to bed later that night, I thanked God for helping me not use or drink another day. I also got my one month coin at a meeting that day, which I am going to carry with me every time I leave the house. I feel great and proud of myself again.
If there is one thing you take away from reading this blog post today, let it be that no matter how many times you fall, you can always get back up and succeed. I truly believe everything happens for a reason, and I think this latest relapse taught me a lot and made me a much stronger individual. I am loving life again, but I know this is something I am going to have to take one day at a time, and there will be tough days and challenges. I am ready to take them on. There is always hope!