So, I joined an Intensive Outpatient Program.
It’s 4 days a week, for a total of 9 hours. There is group therapy, individual therapy, lecture, and a mindfulness class. If my boyfriend can make it work with his work schedule, it will go up to 10 hours a week with the addition of family (couple’s) therapy.
I’m really loving it so far. I was really nervous about the group therapy at first. It felt really unnatural to share my feelings in a room full of strangers. And after listening the first day and hearing them share, I felt like my problems were so minor. I felt like the older, uncool kid in the room (though I’m not the oldest). I just drank and smoked weed, I didn’t have a problem with pills (fortunately!!) or other drugs. And I was mostly functional. Actually I had already quit smoking weed the year before so it was just alcohol now. And only every three weekends, or every other weekend, or maybe sometimes every weekend.
But I still have my job. I’m not court ordered to be there. And I haven’t been to inpatient treatment. I started the program at 8 days sober – and that only because they told me I needed to be a week sober before starting. I still don’t know if that is actually a requirement or just my therapist’s strategy to prevent me from having one last binge before starting therapy on Monday. Which I certainly would have done! In fact, I had done that the weekend before THAT, in preparation for the IOP evaluation, but I have no doubt I would have repeated the ritual, just to be thorough.
So it’s been two weeks since I started and I’m so glad I decided to do it. I feel fairly confident about it right now but the first two weeks of sobriety are often easy for me. I usually feel so physically and mentally great that I barely even have cravings. It’s week 3 when the cravings start to kick in. Usually around 3pm on a Tuesday (can you tell I’ve done this a few times). I’ll pull out all the tools in my box to get through them but they keep coming back day after day until I talk myself into it. I tell myself it’s just one night and that won’t ruin everything I’ve built in the year I’ve been trying to get sober. I tell myself I’ve set it up to be contained – not that I’m going to moderate that one night, oh no. I don’t want that. I just want it to be one night and not the next day too and the next day after that.
It doesn’t work out that way though. As the habit tracker on my phone shows, I rarely contain it to 1 day.
It’s not in my control. I’m an alcoholic. That’s how it works.
So I’m trying to be as open to this process as possible. I’ve been very resistant to AA but I want to try it. I’ve wanted to try it for a few months now, but couldn’t get myself to go to a meeting. So that’s part of why I joined this program. Now my therapist wants me to go to 2 meetings a week. Eeeek. But I’m hoping to make my first one this weekend. I do think, since I’m finding group therapy both helpful and enjoyable, that I will like them. It’s getting my butt into that chair the first time that is hard for me. The unknown and all that.
The program brings up a lot of thoughts that there isn’t time to share with everyone. So I’m hoping to blog more on some of those thoughts and my journey in general. Something different than what I was originally doing when I got sober so easily, but so precariously.
I’m trying to do the work this time and make it count.