173 Days

Today I’m roughly 5 months and 3 weeks sober, and the last few days have felt better than any I can remember in quite a long time.

As open as I’ve been about kicking alcohol and painkillers, I’ve been much less open about the medications I’ve been on during this time. I don’t really know why this is — maybe it’s a stigma attached to mental issues that’s hard to shake, though I wouldn’t say I’m ashamed of it. So: Every day I take antidepressants, an antipsychotic, a mood stabilizer, and Gabapentin to help with the urges to drink and drug.

These drugs help both address the issues I was using booze and pills to self-medicate with (which is dangerous and ultimately counterproductive) and help ease early recovery, which I have to keep reminding myself I’m in the throes of and will continue to be for about the first year of sobriety. I trust the doctors who prescribe this stuff and any attempts to deviate from it — like for instance, allowing the antipsychotic prescription to simply run out because I didn’t want to be on it anymore — have not gone well.

The way I described sobriety to a friend recently was this way: Everything has more weight. Meaning the highs are higher and the good things feel great. And the lows are lower and bad days cut deeper. But all of it’s more real than when I kept myself suspended five feet above the earth at all times, and for that I’m grateful (most of the time.)

I’ll be 6 months sober next week, which is not a milestone I pictured myself hitting when I first started rehab, truth be told. But it’s a milestone I’m excited to reach and every day I grow just a little (very little) more proud of how far I’ve made it.

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