I though that everything would just get better with me when I stopped drinking and using. That if I just took the chemicals out of my body that all of my problems would just leave me one day.
I wanted to get better so bad. I just wanted to be normal.. whatever that means. As time went on things were changing a lot slower then I though that they were going to and I was getting frustrated with my progress. Thats just the way that I am. I know now that this was my alcoholic mind just trying to mess with me. It is always trying to destroy me.. no matter what I am doing.
When I was getting sober… like in my super early sobriety I had a lot of trouble just doing the simple things, like reading. The state that my body was in when I came into the Beacon House was pretty bad. I could not stop shaking and it would not subside for almost a month. Not being able to connect a couple of words together would really get me down. Something that has always been so easy to me was now almost impossible. It was so bad that I would not want to read the readings at meetings because I was so self conscious.
I thought that this would never end. I did not know what was happening to me. Would I always be like this? Would I not be able to read and hold another persons hand without them giving me a strange look?
I learned in the Beacon House about P.A.W.S….. Post-acute Withdrawal Syndrome. This was pretty much everything that was going on with me in one nice simple package. It explained pretty much everything that was going on with me. It was a diagnosis for the some of the reasons that I was feeling the way that I was. There was obviously other mental things that were going on in my head also… but this was a pretty good start.
What the heck is Post-acute Withdrawl Syndrome, you ask?
Here it is in a pretty basic easy to understand nutshell…. When I was drinking and using for all of those years I did a lot of chemical changes to my brain. My body is trying to compensate for the lack of the drugs and alcohol. My brain has to take some time to revert back to its natural, normal state. Of course there is much more to the definition then what I just explained there but Im not a doctor… I’m and alcoholic.
If you look at the symptoms that come along with PAWS… it pretty much reads like a picture album of the first couple of years of my recovery. Lets really quick go through the greatest hits list.
- Emotional Outbursts or Disturbance
- Pessimistic Thoughts
- Inability to think clearly
- Memory problems
- Lack of initiative
- Problems with multitasking
- Impaired concentration
- Physical coordination problems
I came across a really great article that really explains what P.A.W.S is and what it means for alcoholics and addicts in recovery. It breaks it down in really easy to understand terms.. because that is what I needed in early sobriety. Most importantly it talks about different ways that you can help your body recover through diet, meditation, and physical activity. Check out the article and tell me what you think
Why We Don’t Get Better Immediately: Post-acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)
What I am trying to get across with this post is that it gets better. Look… I am writing this now so I can obviously read again. I can connect a couple of words to make a sentence. Your everyday life will improve as time goes on.. but there are things that you can do to improve your situation. You can be proactive in helping your body recover.