Conversations with Trev

By: Andy Sullivan

Andy Sullivan is a 39-year-old British father of two based in South Africa. After 25 years of denial in active drug and alcohol addiction, he surrendered to his illness in September 2014 and learned that there is a whole new world out there. He blogs about his recovery journey at

Conquering the hurdles of early recovery

(not rated)

Mar 16, 2015

In the first few weeks of recovery, I was bombarded with a sensory overload that was completely unfamiliar to me. Over my active using years I had been able to regulate and anesthetize my emotions through the use of alcohol, marijuana and various drugs. But all of a sudden, in the absence of my self-medication, I had to experience these emotions without a filter. This led to incredible highs whenever a breakthrough was made, and unbearable lows when the realizations of what I had done, and who I had affected, hit home. In every sense of the word, it was a roller coaster ride and I just had to strap myself in.

After a few weeks and months, however, things startled to settle down. Each step that I took away from the day that I took my last drink seemed to bring with it a new awareness that enabled me to understand why I was feeling high or low; and a level of acceptance that made managing these fluctuations so much easier. It seemed like every draft of new information that came my way could be heard, translated and implemented into my new way of sober thinking; another piece of the broken jigsaw of my mind could be put in the right place. Even the painful days were greeted with optimism because I knew that it would pass, and in its place another opportunity to grasp and grow. After years of feeling numb, I felt alive. My sobriety birthday is the 28th September, and that date seemed like a distant memory. Recovery was coming easy to me, and I couldn’t wait to explore the joys that 2015 was to bring to my new doorstep.

Everything seemed great, wonderful, exciting. I had something which I never thought possible just a couple of months before – a great future. As I know understand it – this was my pink cloud.

 After reaching this plateau, the speed with which I was initially able to reach this level of comfort started to slow. The momentum started to fade. Going to meetings, connecting with fellowship members, and reading my AA and NA books all started to lose their appeal – I felt like I was hearing the same messages being delivered over and over again, like a broken record, and I felt I was being stunted. Slowly but surely, I started to force the issue in attempt to kick start things. Instead of asking my higher power and the people around for help and guidance, I held Q&A sessions in my own mind, and followed the instruction that my self- will decided upon. Remember – it was this incredible thinking that got me into rehabilitation in the first place. And there I was, entrusting that thinking with my recovery to see if it could speed the process along.

Before I knew it I was depressed, lonely and directionless. That bright horizon that seemed so close was moving further away.

I was fortunate. I found the courage from somewhere, I believe Trev (my higher power), to speak up and ask for help. Millions of others don’t, and find themselves trapped with the same dark thoughts that encompassed them for so many years in active addiction. The only temporary reprieve is to reach out for the substance that masqueraded as a friend for so many years, and a relapse occurs.

I realize now that this three to six months period of early recovery is crucial. When the pink cloud passes, the addict is still left with the same storm clouds, and if that can be recognized as it happens, and help is sought, then real emotional growth can start to take place without resorting to old horrible and soul destroying ways.

It is said in the fellowship that ‘a rude awakening can lead to spiritual growth’ and I have had my rude awakening. This recovery journey isn’t easy. In fact its the hardest thing I ever done in my life. But the last six months have seen me build my base; now the real hard work can begin.


No comments have been posted to this BlogPost

Rate this BlogPost:

2000 characters left


Advertise with Renew

Renew Your life, Better