If you’ve had a drinking problem for a while, you’ve probably heard again and again about how much better life will be when you stop drinking.
That sounds great, but the real issue that people want to know is just how long it’s going to take for that to happen.
First of all, it is important to state that everyone is different. There is no “right” answer for how long it will take you to recover because everyone is different, has had different drinking habits and has different circumstances.
Everyone is different.
Because of that, there is no way to put specific timelines on your recovery. If we say it takes two months and you aren’t happy yet at two months, you would feel like you failed and the program you’re following isn’t working. If we said six months, but you went 7, the same thing would happen.
On the flip side, if we said 4 months and you started feeling better after just one month, you could get overconfident and stop paying as much attention to your recovery as you need to.
It takes as long as it takes.
There is a saying that is repeated in AA meetings and treatment facilities all over the world. It goes like this: “my worst day sober is better than my best day drunk”. That is what is important. How long it takes to really heal and start living life again will be different from one person to the next, but regardless… being sober is better than being drunk and every day gets you closer to when you will feel like “you” again.
Of course, the first thing you have to do is to really commit to stop drinking. Many alcoholics take much longer than necessary because they hold on to the thought that they can still drink in moderation or only occasionally and have it work. It doesn’t work.
When you stop drinking, you will notice relatively that the chaos that usually surrounds your life will start to go down. Of course, you may still have to deal with the remnants of your actions from when you were still drinking, but you won’t have any new drama due to your drinking and your life will begin to calm down.
When you drink in excess, it actually does damage to your brain. It is likely that your drinking also brought with it other bad habits like not getting enough exercise, eating poorly and smoking as well.
When you stop drinking, your body instantly starts to repair some of that damage. As we said (yes, several times), everyone will recover at a different rate.
The important concept to take from this isn’t how long it will take for your life to be better, but that is will absolutely be better. Every day is one step closer.