It’s been 21 days sober .
The picture above is the from the running track where I’m spending my mornings in Haiti. It feels a little like a 3rd world rehab program, except I’m the only person who can speak English and I’m doing all my recovery work independently online.
Today is special, but not like I expected when I started my recovery journey. 3 weeks sober doesn’t feel like a major achievement, the decision to quit drinking was the real achievement. Each milestone feels more like separation, one day farther away from the prison of addiction. I’m putting miles between me and that hell hole called alcoholism. Each day helps me see that the past is over and I’m free to move forward.
It’s positive. It’s hope. It’s progress.
There have been some hard moments, but overall I feel momentum building each day. After 3 weeks sober, recovery is starting to feel unstoppable. The temptation to drink keeps shrinking, almost to nothing this week. I keep finding old habit triggers, but they are weak and too obvious now that I’m back in control of my brain.
Sobriety feels normal. That’s my big discovery this week.
Only after writing this post did I find remember all the talk about 21 days to form a new habit. That was interesting, especially the parts about people needing at least that long (and often longer) to adjust to a new pattern of life.
“These, and many other commonly observed phenomena tend to show that it requires a minimum of about 21 days for an old mental image to dissolve and a new one to jell.” ~ Dr. Maxwell Maltz
That sounds something like what I’m feeling. The old mental image is fading away and I’m embracing the new sober Tony.
Alcohol is not my friend. Nothing positive came from my relationship with the bottle. It was all lies from the beginning. I played the fool and paid the price. Drinking can’t fix anything, it never could.
After three weeks sobriety, my mindset has radically changed and I’m feeling free from the addiction trap.
- I don’t feel deprived but liberated.
- I don’t envy drinkers but pity them.
- I don’t want to forget my problems but face them.
- I’m not drifting without purpose but aiming to enjoy every day.
- I don’t live in the past but the present.
At 21 days sober – it’s a beautiful place, better than I ever imagined.
** FYI: The article I linked about says 66 days is the more realistic time frame to form a new habit. That’s a word of caution for early recovery, change is possible but it takes time.
On average, it takes more than two months before a new behavior becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact. And how long it takes a new habit to form can vary widely depending on the behavior, the person, and the circumstances. In Lally’s study, it took anywhere from 18 days to 254 days for people to form a new habit.
21 Days Sober Again: September 2017 Update
It gets better, even after the failure of relapse and starting back at day 1. This summer has been rough and the alcohol addiction came back in full force.
I’m through my initial 3 weeks sober again and have just as much confidence as before. In fact, I’ve learned from the mistakes and feel like none of the recovery time was wasted. Overcoming alcoholism is a long process and I’m not giving up.
Frances Reinjell says
Hello Sober Tony!
Today I am 28days sober and I can totally relate to what you are talking about. Around 20yrs ago I made it until 17th months; I was singing in a bar (I was a musician my entire life) and the waitress asked me if I wanted a drink bcos some guys wanted to buy me one. I told her I would have a non-alcoholic beer and 2 were sent up but they were in glasses…not in their bottles. I drank one of them and when I got 1/2 way through the 2nd one I realized something was very wrong. When I went to see the bartender after my set she said she made a “mistake” and gave me real beer. I totally ripped her a new one but my drinking started again. These last 28 days have been an eye opener and I feel so much better and I am not as depressed or worrying as much now even though my home life and financial status are still the same but I just realize now that’s life instead of getting drunk and hurting myself. It is a very good thing I just pray for 24hrs sobriety at a time and it seems to be working. Keep the faith Sober Tony; I like myself again!
peter barnes says
For all who overcome this death trap called alcohol I applaud you, I fell off the horse 100’s of times before I finally saw the deception the trick, it’s all egoic flesh pride the voice of old snaggle tooth..So grateful to be done out of the mouse trap, clean sober and at peace