Day 1. The first day is the worst. It’s a day of bargaining. You say to God, “I can’t do this.” and “How can I live without this.” Sometimes you say “Help.” every two minutes. The attacks are worse than ever because the Devil knows this is the first day and he wants tomorrow to be the first day as well. He wants you to be stuck on the first day. So the best thing to do is not make an announcement. The saying, “One day at a time” really makes sense to you. If you think you are going to be without this THING for your whole life you think you will die but if you say, “Today I will be free.” it makes it easier. Anyone can fast from something for one day.
Day 4. You feel the victory yet you still suffer. It’s like the sun pierced out of the dark clouds for a moment and gave you hope. You are learning perseverance. This is not something you wanted to learn but you are getting the hang of it. This is the first day that you get the idea that you will actually conquer THIS thing. There are hours of freedom and there are moments of fighting for that freedom.
Week 1. It’s been a full week. It is a miracle. You have, through desperation, learned new things to do that take over your habit and made your life seem less dull. You have found that exercise helps to get those endorphins working and bring physical release. Hopefully you have found an exercise that you enjoy. You may have found some creative outlet that keeps your mind focused for long periods of time because you need emotional expression. This is important because that THING was so soothing or emotionally stimulating and you don’t quite know anything that equals it but if you search you can find some healthy expression. In this way you learn not to be so hard on yourself. You’re been addicted to something because it felt like love – but it was a lie. It made you feel empty. You find something that can hold your attention the way THAT did and so now you need something intense to stimulate your mind. Perhaps you are reading poetry. And yes, you have found the most important expression which is worship. You finally find some musician that can cater to those grooves in your brain that are being re-plowed. It doesn’t matter if you are just soaking. It doesn’t matter if you are just tapping your finger. You are engaging in intimacy and this is the thing that will be the most helpful in recovery. You are getting into a God groove.
Week 2. You know you are not home free but you have moved into some new habits and so you know you can live again. Life can be good. It is no longer about death – death – death. You are feeling the life now. You cried and cried like a baby when someone took your pacifier away but now you’ve let it go. You feel like a big girl/boy but you know you are not an adult in this area and so you still need some boundaries. Even though that THING is not as big of a draw, you know this week you really do not ever want to go back to your old way of life. You know just how long you can ignore the craving before it goes away. You know you are still vulnerable but you are not a push-over. You have some strength and momentum.
Week 3. The withdrawal from this THING is mostly out of your system. You may have some moments but they are not traumatic. You have a back-up plan. You have can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The triggers are less intense and not as long. The memory of the high is fading. The shame issues are surfacing but you know God has even covered that on the cross. He covered everything.
Week 4. You feel pretty good. You look around in awe and think: “This is what normal is like.” You are grateful and at peace. You weren’t seeking peace. You didn’t think you’d be this grateful either. You thought you wanted excitement but now you realize this is better. You feel wholeness. You are learning to really be kind to yourself again. You had to be strict for awhile but now you are letting that go. You are tapping into loving yourself and not just loving God. You are taking care of your needs and you understand those needs. You are not a loser because you have needs. You can start talking to people about your victory because it is a true victory.