In retrospect, we saw that the first year of sobriety was a process — not one event but a long series of related events. At times we believed that early sobriety would never end. In the beginning we were always asking ourselves, “Am I through early sobriety yet?”

Everyone’s journey through early sobriety is different but there are similar experiences that many of us have shared. A common one was finding sobriety to be difficult. During this time, we would come to meetings thinking and saying, “I want to act out so bad.” But somehow, with a lot of help from the fellowship, we stayed sober one day at a time, one hour at a time, and sometimes one minute at a time. This was something we could never have imagined doing. (Some of us had slips and had to start over several times before this became a reality, but we kept coming back.)

Another experience was finding that sobriety came easily. During this period we were filled with new energy and vitality. We felt hope. We began to believe that our lives were truly changing. We thought, “This is what sobriety is all about.”

Whether our sobriety came with little problem or with great difficulty, almost all of us started to feel hope and a sense of well-being. But then there came a time when our good feelings seemed to be fading away. Many of us felt that the program was not working as well as it did in the beginning. It was a time when new and uncomfortable feelings started to emerge. We thought, “Something is wrong, it isn’t working anymore.” Our sponsors and others who had been through this assured us that this was a common experience.

With the support of the fellowship, those of us who persevered found something of immense value. We were showing up for our lives — we stayed with our uncomfortable feelings and didn’t run away. We started to realize we were on a path that was healing us in ways we could never before have envisioned.