How I Made it Through the First 30 Days in My Recovery

a woman celebrating her success on her First 30 Days in My Recovery
This entry was posted in Inspiration, Treatment on by .

Thinking back to my first 30 days in recovery makes me shudder a bit. Quite honestly, I work hard so that I do not have to have another ‘first 30 days again’. Those days were uncomfortable, confusing and full of so many unknowns. However, as difficult as they were, the experience wasn’t as horrifying as I feared it would be either. I believe that it was the right amount of pain to want to never revisit it again and also full of unexpected surprises to help soften moments throughout.

When I first arrived at detox I was coming off of my drugs of choice, which I knew would ensure physical withdrawal. I was not looking forward to this. Honestly, the initial days are a bit of a blur of sickness and not leaving my bed for anything. The first memory I have of being in a 30 day facility was overhearing some of the other clients laughing while watching tv. I was alone in the bedroom trying to push through all of my hurt, and their laughter truly struck me. I was in disbelief. These were people who I knew nothing about other than they were clients in a 30 day treatment center; so at the very least, they had somewhere less than 30 days clean and had the capacity to actually laugh and interact with one another. It blew my mind. I thought I would feel as desperate as I was feeling for eternity, that the pain would never end. However, that moment of uproarious laughter I heard from them helped to shift my perspective. I thought “ok..sometime in the next couple of weeks, I will also be able to laugh and enjoy the company of others. I can do this.”

When I finally crawled out of bed and started to venture into the routine and structure of the facility, I certainly wasn’t feeling my best- but I also wasn’t feeling the worst. The transitionary period of discomfort was in full effect. It was the first time in … well, ever, that I had chosen to accept what my body and mind were going through instead of running away from it. I allowed myself to feel the way I was feeling, rather than suddenly expect anything more of myself. Once I had made a choice to come to terms with this being the necessary process of detoxification, it didn’t suddenly make me feel any better, but it made it easier to accept and even be a bit kinder to myself.


Sitting in groups with the other clients, meeting the different facilitators and participating fully in the planned days brought about all sorts of pleasant distractions. Initially coming into my first 30 days of recovery, every thought revolved around what *I* was feeling and how *I* was doing- but then, I became curious about the others- how did they get here? Why are they in treatment? Or, why does this person working here care to work here? It became exciting to interact with others and realize there were a tremendous amount of similarities. I was astounded at how much my story and feelings paralleled with others; clients and employees alike! I had felt so alone in the world for so long and to have a sudden feeling of connectivity was like medicine for my soul. I had no idea people like ME existed. I know that probably sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. To be able to start to build bonds with others made me excited to see what more was to come.

And more came! I had fellowship among me and I felt safe enough to process some thoughts and situations which I’d never been able to openly process. I was able to gather strength day by day to push myself just a little further than I had the day before. Whether it was an extra long walk outside, taking time to introduce myself to a newer client or even offering to help clean up around the facility, I was doing so much more than I had ever initially expected I’d be able to do in just a few weeks completely clean. There was so much hope for the future I gained in those first 30 days. I expected myself to be completely shut down, run down, broken and sick and instead I found sparks to new prospects in life. These sparks carried me through the duration of my time in residential treatment just enough to put one foot in front of the other, day by day.

Again, don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t as streamlined as ‘very very hard at the beginning and then BOOM 30 days later, cured and feeling great’. There were many ups and downs along the way- I was a very fresh and vulnerable human being in that first month. However, I chose to hold onto the hope I felt from that very first sound of laughter of others who could do it and I STILL to this day choose to hold onto that same hope through my daily ups and downs.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is that:

1) It wasn’t as scary or awful as I believed it would be,

2) I wasn’t alone in it and

3) Hope was to be found all along the way.

These 3 lessons I learned in my recovery genesis are still the exact lessons I apply to my life and recovery today. I am grateful for those early days and who they have allowed me to flourish and become. If you are fearful of starting your own recovery journey, I hope you can take a piece of this writing to heart and one day find yourself reminiscing about your own early days and sharing it as a message to others. 

Stairway Recovery Homes has multiple sober living homes located in Los Angeles, CA. We provide community-based recovery homes for both men’s sober living and women’s sober living. Recovery IS possible!

About Heidi Marcz

Director of Alumni and Case Management Heidi has been working in the field of addiction for the past 4 years, has a RADT and moonlights as a blogger and Brainpaint Neurofeedback Technician. If asked, there is nothing in the recovery field that Heidi won’t do to learn more or to be of service to the newcomers. As alumni and outreach coordinator, Heidi feels she has the unique opportunity to keep continuity in the community- even after people have finished their initial SUD programming. Events range from seasonal activities, fundraisers, service events and special interest activities. Heidi is excited to perpetually generate more community cohesiveness, fun & gratitude for others and herself.