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What is it like to go through early recovery?

What is it like to go through early recovery?
I am interested in learning what it is like to go through early recovery. Month by month I would like to know your experiences.

For example during the first month of being clean did you sleep most of the time or were you active? Were you grumpy angry...

Did you feel better by month 2 or 3
When do the lies stop?
Re: What is it like to go through early recovery?
To be honest, I can't give you a summary month by month because it's been almost 21 years now since I went through rehab and got clean. It's been over 16 years now since I relapsed and got clean again.

I was very emotional my first year. The biggest part I remember was going to meetings, meetings, meetings. There wasn't any excessive sleeping involved because I had to go out and get a job right after rehab, and I was raising a daughter on my own.

I did a lot of white-knuckling that first year in spite of meetings, fighting a lot of urges to use. I did not sleep well. I couldn't sleep unless I left the light and the tv on. I ate better than I ever had in years.

That's about the best I can recall for you 
writerjp Re: What is it like to go through early recovery?
I remember the first month, I got sick all of the time. I was so scared to go to sleep because I thought that I would die in my sleep. I was ultra paranoid, hearing things, seeing things, etc. By the second month, I slept a lot and could start eating more. By the third month, I got a job and it was a stressful crappy job but I worked A LOT to keep my mind off of meth. I am almost at 3 years and some days I do not think about it at all. I hope that was an okay answer.
sabino2 Re: What is it like to go through early recovery?
I was very lucky.....

I had just gotten out of jail, jobless, homeless. An ex-employee of mine who is a recovering alcoholic/addict, scraped me off the ground, took me into his house and took care of me for a month. (he has 16 years of sobriety under his belt!)

I remember sleeping a lot (after pretty much sleeping 15 hours a day for the two weeks I was in jail). I went to A LOT of meetings, average two a day (some days 5-6). I ate all the time, like a bottomless pit. The guy I was staying with kept a lot of "recovery food" around. Chocolate, cheese, beef, peanut butter. I really "pink clouded" it. We would bike ride a lot, he was always around to talk, listen....

Things pretty much got better from there, started working again, got my own place on this awesome cattle ranch.

I do have my up and down days, but I think we all do, if nothing else we are human.....
vctry7 Re: What is it like to go through early recovery?
I slept a lot the first week. After that, I was running around full force. I was very emotional and had little or no control over the emotions. My paranoia didn't wear off until I was about 6 months clean.

I was crazy for the first year. I would be hysterical and angry at the drop of a hat. I was on the verge of suicide.

2-3 months is just when the pink cloud started lifting and I actually started feeling worse. I got worse from 3 months until about a year. Even at a year clean, I was still insane.

I had expectations that I should feel better as time went on. The opposite was true. I felt emotionally better at 4 weeks clean than I did at 4 months.

I didn't see significant improvement in myself until I was probably 18 months - 2 years clean.

I'm sorry I can't give you a month by month time. The first year was pretty much a blur of craziness.
Re: What is it like to go through early recovery?
Lies stopped for me the night I surrendered meth. To me, that was the most humiliating thing I've ever admitted.

Month one-I pushed myself beyond all reasonable limits for my physical health-I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia. I had the opposites: no sleep without doctor prescribed meds, no energy to go to work without doctor prescribed meds, I did eat, and eat, and eat. Food tasted good by months end.

Emotions: raw, mad, down, guilt, shame, resentment, feeling like a loser, feeling incompetent, et. al.

Month 2-my 2 illnesses were okay on the meds. I still worked, did therapy, started my 12 Step program, but I started vacillating between feeling and not feeling. Very sensitive. Holidays approaching too-so, mixed emotions during this time anyway for me. Increasing guilt, shame, remorse.

Month 3-4: I'm losing my ability at work, at home, I did too much, too fast. I did not let my body heal. I seeking answers to all my undealt with past. I'm caring again, emotions are like a waterfall. I can back away if I feel angry and not harm those around me better now.

Cravings still hit. I know how to reach out instead of going for self-medication. I'm learning to play well with others-a big one for me. Still feel lots of guilt, shame and remorse.

I know my worst day clean is better than any day on meth.

I know for today-I will not use-it's not an option.

I hope this helps.
Re: What is it like to go through early recovery?
I don't remember mine either - not month by month.
Been too long.

I remember the first couple weeks. That I recall very well.
I didn't choose to quit- I ran out and there wasn't any to be found.
The first few weeks were hell on earth. I jonesed big time.
Calling people in the middle of the night - asking them to hook me up all crying and crap.
Got so bad no one would even take my calls........

That is what helps to keep me clean. That is so humiliating -even now.
My inside work has just begun - after 10 years clean.
I did a helluva job substituting addictions- I did good though. I chose plants. Relatively harmless except for the summer months. Don't get in my way of the clearance rack at Lowe's.

Now when my husband quit a couple years ago, the first month really wasn't that hard- not really. Ate a lot of ice cream, ate a lot of candy- mary janes in particular .Kept his pot- that he stuck with.
That month was harder on me- I obsessed with his every move big time. Horribly so.
It wasn't until the 2nd and 3rd months that it got really hard and it hit him hard that yeah, he is an addict.
That was when I learned to let go of him and focus on me- fixing me. It made it a lot easier for him to focus on him.

The truth came out in bits and pieces.
The hardest truth for him to admit was that he was hooked. Out loud. That took about 4-5 months into it.

The depression hit hard for those first 6 months. He still isn't where he was pre-meth.
After 2 years clean, we feel it is probably a permanent thing.

The alcohol came back into play at a year clean. That one is better now.
The pot is gone- has been for a long time.

It's a long process. It gets worse before it gets better.
I think the hardest part though is that first year- especially the first 6 months or so. It really is hard to readjust - find the life - most of the time you just feel lost and dead. Like you are just a puzzle piece with no puzzle.
Hard place to be in.

2 years - that is when it really eases , when stability sets in- when the draw to stay clean is so strong- like breathing.

and abstinence is not recovery.
Re: What is it like to go through early recovery?
For example during the first month of being clean did you sleep most of the time or were you active? Were you grumpy angry...

The first 6 months I felt like sh!t all the time.
My mood swings were so outta control. I was up one day and then down the next. I felt like I was insane, but meetings honesty REALLY HELPED. My sleep pattern was always good, now after 3 years I can sleep normally. Sleep pattern has a lot to do with age too. I was 21 years old when I quit

Re: What is it like to go through early recovery?
well...once i got through the detox, laying in bed here at home, no med assisted detox, feeling like i just wanted to die, i slept for 4 days straight while...then i couldn't sleep for 3 months, I would get a little bit every couple days...i was still in psychosis and every time i closed my eyes i could still hear voices and noises so i couldn't close my eyes...i felt like shyt, i felt like i just wanted to die, but i put on a strong face, told everyone how good i was doing and went about my business...once i had been at NA for a few months the real happiness started coming through....but i spent alot of time both here and in the real world with a happy mask on telling everyone how good it was...it was shyt, it was hard, it was depressing, but it was worth it.
Re: What is it like to go through early recovery?
My son is on his 4th month clean and he seems normal emotionally except that he is a little more affectionate such as asking for hugs. No tears, do depression, quite optimistic, laughs when appropriate, etc.

I am afraid to ask about the next 4 months because he is doing so well. Is there such a thing as the 5-8 months being a lot different than the 1-4 months?

I found this in my saved file. It is called Withdraws List 1 and List 2. I don't know who wrote it and maybe the recovering addicts can tell you how accurate it is.


WEEK 1: Depending on how much the person had been doing up until quitting time and how many nights they had been awake, if any, the first couple of days will be spent sleeping non-stop. After that, the person will still prefer sleep but will eat and go to the bathroom whereas before they probably didn't. They will be moody, cranky, lethargic and sometimes violent. After the fourth day, the meth will technically be out of their system. However, it's the damage that the meth has caused that is where the problem lies and the fact that your system is clean of it, does really mean a whole lot. Cravings will be setting in towards then end of the first week and will more than likely intensify. Anxiety will set in around the third day, which can be unbearable especially to a long time user who is trying to quit.

WEEK 2: The person will still be moody, cranky and sometimes violent. The cravings will be worse than week one and can become unbearable. They will have no energy to do anything, sleeping is still preferred unless they break down and get more dope. The second week is where a lot of people slip up.

NOTE: If the person was experiencing drug induced psychosis while doing meth, these episodes will start to subside during the second week, if not the first. If it doesn't and last any longer than four weeks, that could be a sign of a real mental disorder and the person should see a doctor as soon as possible.

WEEK 3: Sleeping a lot should start to diminish although the user will not have a lot of energy and probably will not feel like doing anything. Depression sets in for the majority of the people around the third week, if not sooner. Anti-depressants really help if this happens. Cravings should be leveling off around this time.

WEEK 4: Every thing aside from the depression and feeling lethargic should start to subside a little. As time goes on from here if the user stays clean, eventually, all these thing will ultimately disappear.

It's important to note though, that different things can trigger cravings for years after the user has quit doing meth.


W+1-7 Days HIBERNATION: (Fatigue and Hunger) as your body detoxifies and violently downshifts from 10th gear to 1st - acute fatigue sets in. Periods of sleep ranging from 12-24 hours are not uncommon with brief periods of wakefulness still accompanied by lethargy and inability to perform the simplest of tasks.

W+8-21 Days - DEPRESSION: (Low and Lethargic)
you are indeed now much more awake, but you will find your current un-stimulated dopamine levels to be insufficient. Matter of fact, you could win the lottery tomorrow and still feel suicidal. Ride the storm out - this phase is short. Now might be a good time to schedule an appointment with a psychiatrist. Don't be ashamed. No one need know but you. One session costs no more than your average eight ball. And a psyche is still the only therapist that can prescribe medication if it is needed. Buproprion, Citralopram and Bromocriptine have all had good results in dealing with depression brought about via drug withdrawal from cocaine and amphetamines.

W+22-60??Days - FRUSTRATION: (Irritability & Anger) the length of this phase is somewhat proportional to how long and how much you've been using...But it is accompanied by irritability (at the slightest annoyances), "cravings", and absent-mindedness.
This period will be harder on those around you-than you! Be sure to remove anything in the way of visual "triggers" that can facilitate relapse.
If you find yourself tempted to use, go to NA meetings. Even if you just sit and listen and don't ever participate, you'll be surprised at what "rubs off".

W+60??-90??Days - READJUSTMENT: (Transition & Happiness) every day the cravings, depression and irritability lessen. But you're not "cured" yet. The use of meth carries with it a myriad of activities both mental and otherwise that may be loads of fun while you were on the drug but will seem about as exciting as watching grass grow while straight. Unless you replace these activities with productive and meaningful tasks, you are setting yourself up for relapse. Try and reinvigorate "pre-drug" hobbies, habits and activities. Try some new things as well.
Re: What is it like to go through early recovery?
Stan, FWIW, Hubby had a rough go at the 6 month mark.
He craved it something fierce. That was the time when he broke his hand and didn't notice after being down at the hole all day with his using buddies.
I still believe he used that day- he still says no so we just leave it at that.

For me, from what I observed, the dopamine coming back into play was a trigger for him. It seemed at 6 months he felt better and that wild hair returns. I can do this, I can control it , I am not an addict I just lost control kind of thinking.

I can't give you timelines on me. I do remember having thoughts - quite a few on days I felt good well wouldn't it be nice to have a line or 2 ?
They were quite routine of sorts that first couple years - I can remember that because we had moved to a crank town- drug haven.
For me, that is when I poured myself into my gardening. I obsessed with plants- obsessed with reading and learning all that I could.
That is why I see my plant thing as a replacement addiction because it is just that.
As much as I poured into copping that next bag, I poured into finding hard to find plants. Still pour- very much so.

Hubby chose computers 

I still get the occasional thought wouldn't it be - or I could and no one know - with my getting older, gaining weight, slowing down , yadda yadda yadda........
It has only hit hard once though - and I came here.

It is a learned behavior that can be unlearned. Honesty is key. That is the lifesaver.
Re: What is it like to go through early recovery?
First month...really bad all the time, extremely angry freaking out and sleeping 12-15 hours a night...
2nd month felt a lot better.....started noticing and change in health.
3rd month-5 months 'pink cloud' went away feel depressed and suicidal...slowly noticed body getting stronger. Start noticing a difference in thought...not always thinking angry meth thoughts all the time......but most....
Re: What is it like to go through early recovery?
I had a weird first month. I had been off of meth for one day when I packed all my stuff and moved to San Diego. I drove the entire way while going through withdrawals.

When I got to San Diego I was explosive and in a very manic state... I ended up crashing into a house and two vehicles over the course of one night, crying non-stop, walking aimlessly around, screaming at people. Every time someone would call the cops I would drive somewhere else in my U-Haul and raise hell elsewhere.

I eventually slept, but not much. I was still very much in a manic state. I was eating a whole bunch, and would fly off the handle over nothing. During that time the meth psychosis was slowly slipping away, and as I started to realize what things were real and what things were not real, I became very deflated and devastated. I had a lot of really bad hallucinations of being tortured and they traumatized me, and that realization that they weren't real just really screwed with my head. I began to feel like I was never going to get better.

I was very clingy and never wanted to be alone. An old friend of mine was a lifesaver. Whenever I didn't want to be alone she would come over and try to do something to cheer me up. I really really appreciate her making such an effort because she later told me that seeing me in that state was very hard for her, she would go home and cry afterwards. Which is SO NOT LIKE HER.

I put all my @#%$ in storage and sat around like a bump on a log for a couple weeks while people begged me to go to rehab. I was drinking obscene amounts of alcohol. I was shooting xanax, adderrall and anything else I could find just to.... get through the day. I finally went to a rehab and lasted 3 weeks before getting kicked out for having an attitude problem.

@#%$, more later. gotta go
Re: What is it like to go through early recovery?
Depression , depression and more depression the first few

months of being clean. I also noticed that I had a little

OCD problem too, and my anxiety got worse, but now it's

much better.

See also:

Recovery and Treatment of Crystal Meth / Methamphetamine Topics

What to expect of someone new to recovery

Worst part of my recovery, learning to live!

What is "normal behavior" the first month of recovery?

Back to Crystal Meth & Methamphetamine Questions, Answers & Advice

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