I absolutely love living in Colorado. I love the marked change of each season, the weather and the people here. But recently we have been in a rather strange weather pattern for summer. Cool temps and gloomy skies have replaced our normal sundrenched, warm (but not too hot) days and cool, pleasant evenings. It’s not that I am opposed to rain or the occasional cloudy day, just don’t like too many days in a row. I find it hard to motivate myself to get going on gloomy days. I know the seasons will soon change and there are many chores to get done now in order to be ready to celebrate fall. I also know all too well that waiting to the last minute won’t bring the success that I want to enjoy come fall. Couple this with my observations of late regarding that period of recovery right around the 30 day mark and you get this.
Recovery in the beginning often takes on the look and feel of a new relationship. Everything is new and it’s exciting to explore all the possibilities this new relationship holds. Each moment is treasured while family and friends encourage the new relationship. In recovery circles this time is referred to as the “pink cloud”. Everything is starting to turn around; sobriety seems almost effortless just like those first few weeks of a relationship. But unfortunately, it can’t last. As much as we want the newness to stay, it must give way to gray, gloomy times. Yet through those times the relationship strengthens and grows far deeper than if it had been allowed to remain in the shallow honeymoon phase. I thank God every day that He brought me and my wife together and has held us together through 28 years of bright sunny and dark, gloomy days.
The pink cloud becomes gloomy and just as those new relationships can’t remain in the honeymoon phase forever; the real work to maintain recovery begins. Addicts are often overwhelmed by the realization that our lives were far more damaged than we had (during our use) estimated that it was. Expectations of a quick, effortless recovery lie shattered on the floor. What will you do? Will you run back to an old familiar (although thoroughly toxic) relationship? It sure seems easier than forging ahead in building a new one. Too many cut at that 30-day mark. Forsaking their new relationship with sobriety for their substance. Most think to themselves “I won’t get in too deep this time” which never happens.
There are many of us who weathered that time. Who felt the need to cut and run and yet stayed true. Who desired the ultimate benefits of sobriety above the temporary relief the substance brought. After trying numerous times, I began my last attempt knowing that day 30 was coming. What was I going to do to get beyond those gloomy days? I began by planning with an eye to weathering those days because I knew the sun would eventually return. If you have struggled getting beyond the 30-day mark, then try these two profoundly simple tweaks to your next recovery:
- Find a “Post 30” community to join. Start community “shopping” on day 1. Immerse yourself in the activities, fellowship and meetings with them. Let the group conscience ease that 30-day hump.
- Upgrade your “higher power”. If this hasn’t been a focal piece of your previous efforts, then make it one this time. Again, start this on day 1. Develop a relationship with your higher power early on well before day 30 begins to draw near.
Of course, if you can combine the two then you halve the work. My success was/is directly contributed to the friendships and support that Step Seven (a faith based community) offered. If you are struggling with 30-day relapses and stuck on where to even find a community or higher power please call 303-840-0006. Too shy to call? Then send an email to email@example.com. Or check out the website stepseven.org. Now I’m off to get those pre-fall chores done.