The Highs & Lows of Recovery


I don’t think I have particularly extreme emotional highs and lows. When I was drinking I would have a door-slamming moment where I went from normal Marilyn to scary Marilyn (my husband used to call me Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde), but since I’ve been sober, I am pretty even-keeled. I don’t do that thing anymore where I go happily into a bathroom and come out like its round two of a bare knuckle fight.


But (there is always a but isn’t there?) I am curious (and if the truth be told a little annoyed) by those people who get sober and win the emotional jackpot. Suddenly everything is amazing and they never have a bad hair day again… I am here to tell you, I have bad days. The chart above is like my recovery. The red line is an average day where I look in the mirror and say something like, “You’ll do nicely,” the high arches are, “I’m on top of the world!” and the drooping lows are all Eeyore, “I might just as well eat that entire, stale pie in the refrigerator…”


I have always hated the Eeyore character, by the way…


Everyone has bad days, but I think when you’re a recovering alcoholic, the emotional lows have an added bonus – there is the soul stealing regret and the real threat of relapse.


On that bright note, I will get to my point. No matter what I feel and write about my recovery from alcoholism – my fears, chagrin, occasional anger and genuine downer days – in the final analysis I always get to a version of the same thing. My dad used to say, “A bad day fishing is better than a good day working.” It’s all about the median: the place where the red line is drawn in your chart. In my drinking days my red line was lower. My highs were lower. My lows were much lower.


And there is no question a good day sober is better than a bad day as a drunk…


Today I’m not drinking because I’m on a high!

How come you’re not drinking?