Terrible Two

Recovery Alcoholism Sobriety

In our meeting last week, my sponsor pointed out that the second year of recovery is a real bear.

The first year, all the alcoholic has to do is focus on one concept:

i don’t drink no matter what.

In the second year, sobriety permeates more of our day to day and our lives become larger. With more recovery comes more responsibilities. The trick now is to power through difficult situations and make it through to the other side.

You see the diagram at the top? The Reality line is squiggly, but it still finishes better off and going in the right direction.


About Al K Hall

Like a battered drinker or a punch drunk boxer, i am here for another round. For those of you who don’t know me, i’m a semi-professional writer on the rocks and a non-practicing alcoholic (if after 30 years of practicing, you still can't do something well, it's best to just give it up). For those of you who do know me, thanks for stopping by anyway and where’s the ten bucks you owe me? Welcome to my Bar None. A hole in the wall where we can hang out and trade the kind of stories you swap only when you’ve had one too many and either can’t find your way home or are afraid to. Hell, it’s cheaper than therapy and plus the pictures are prettier. Here we’ll crack open bottles and jokes and ‘last call’ are the only dirty words you’ll never hear. Pull up a stool and make yourselves at home.

Posted on September 15, 2012, in Alcoholism, Lessons in Recovery, Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Oh, I want to know more about this .. heading as I am into my second year…

  2. Agreed. The first year is spent identifying and coping with triggers while digging yourself out of the hole you dug yourself into while drinking that prompted you to get sober. It’s more about getting back on track, reprogramming your life without alcohol, and keeping your head above water. There is little room for “self-actualization” other than realizing you can live without alcohol.

    Remember how when you were drunk you’d say “If I weren’t burdened by alcohol, I’d be a superstar” and then pour another drink? In the second year, you start wondering whether you could be a superstar now that you’re sober. And you will find that you can do much more than when you were drinking. But you will also learn the limits of your abilities. There will be times when you have to realistically tell yourself “I am not as strong at this than I hoped.” But that’s OK. The important thing is to roll with the punches and adjust your goals so that they are realistic but still challenging.

    • Hey ITSB — first off the bat before I respond to Al, this actually made me choke up and get teary: “There will be times when you have to realistically tell yourself “I am not as strong at this than I hoped.” But that’s OK. The important thing is to roll with the punches and adjust your goals so that they are realistic but still challenging.”

      This is a fantastic comment for co-dependents, too, and it really helped me out to read it. I think the teariness came from reading something that hit my heart with its truth.

      That, and I have been done knocked on my ass by life of late, and it helps to hear that it is okay to not be as strong as I had hoped I might be, to roll with things, and make adjustments. It’s a relief to read what you wrote. Thank you.

      For Al —

      Well, I guess it is a good thing that you are 2/3 of your way through the second year then, and will soon be on your third! Okay, so there are four months in there where you have to keep using the toolbox to build something strong and good. The tools are great, but if you just keep them sitting around in the toolbox and don’t actually use them to build sobriety, then they are kind of useless, huh. It works if you work it.

      And you are absolutely, positively worth it. Your life and being are so worth it. ♥ So keep staying sober no matter what.

      Your sponsor is a wise man. Keep connecting with him and others to help you through the squiggly line parts.

      Mrs Hall

      • Thanks for the kind support, babe. There’s a lot to deal with, but the idea of keeping my expectations realistic and goals simple and reachable makes a lot of sense. i have a lot of tools in the toolbox, like you said, now it’s a question of remembering to take the right one out when i need to!

        Keep coming back,

        Al K Hall

    • What a great comment! This says exactly what i’m going through. You’ve touched on the same thing my sponsor and i are working on, which is to be ‘right sized’. To put myself in the right perspective. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your insights, brother.

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  3. My experience is that the reality line gets a little less squiggly each year. But I was reminded by my sponsor, who has 25 years, that expectations will never parallel reality. Progress….not perfection. Thanks for the post! Always informative and on point.

  4. I don’t know how you manage such succinct, beautiful posts, but it’s a gift. And yes, I am relieved every time I make it through to the other side, and it does feel better. But, fuck, year 2 has been a real bear so far. Thank you for the comfort and hope.

    • Wow, thanks for the encouraging comment! Glad to hear i’m not alone thinking Year 2 is a bitch; knowing others are going through the same thing makes it a little more bearable. Thanks for your comfort and hope!

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  1. Pingback: It’s all about the expectations « What I see, what I feel, what I'd like to see…

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