Be Kinder To Yourself

92 Days Alcohol Free

This morning I was reading The Kindness Method by Shahroo Izadi, I’ve mentioned the book several times recently.

This line really stood out to me:

Expect it to be hard.  You knew it would be a struggle to change and you've voluntarily decided to do it anyway.  Shahroo Izadi

The idea is to prepare mentally in advance of those hard times. Have a plan in place for when they come.

I did struggle with the temptation to have a few beers on a Friday night after work – something I’d been doing for 28 years. It was a deeply embedded behaviour. My plan in this case was very simple, but effective. Buy alcohol free alternatives.

The plan doesn’t have to be grand or mind blowing.

Positive Change

As the title of the book suggests, its about changing habits in a kinder way.

I’ve spent years trying to change things I thought were wrong with me. Always falling back in to the bad habits or behaviours I was trying to change.

I’ve often found myself thinking “you’re fat, pathetic” and tried to use that as the base for change. Now I am trying to flip that thought to “what caused the weight gain?”. What is the main habit? Now I am looking at the behaviour itself, not beating myself up.

Rather than look at my habits as failings, character flaws, I am looking back at how they formed. They all served a purpose at some point – grabbing sugary foods was comforting, for example. Once I have that in mind, I can ask if they’re still serving their purpose. Is the sugary food still comforting?

Once I have answered that question I can decide what change, if any, I need to make.

What can I lose by trying this approach? The alternative, negative, beat myself up method wasn’t working.

Thats just a small part of the approach suggested in the book. For a better crash course in Shahroo’s approach I recommend Episode 28 of the OYNB podcast she appears on.

I Go To Work

Alcohol Free Day 86

Back to work today. I’m very fortunate to get a good amount of time off work during Christmas – sites close, there is no work to do.

I’m oddly excited – who am I? Can’t wait to get back in to a productive routine. Without structure I tend to veg out to the max.

Only a short blog post today – my brain is filling up with the day job to do list, not much capacity left for creative stuff like blogging.

But I will leave you with Kool Moe Dee.

Short Circuit – No Resolutions Here

85 Days Alcohol Free

I just want to take a moment to look at that number. Its more than double any previous attempt I’ve made at giving up drinking. 90 days is the next recognised milestone – OYNB do 28, 90 and 265 challenges. But I’m taking a little detour just to admire the number 85.

Right, now I’ve had my moment with 85. On to the blog.

Johnny Five

I watched Beatrice Caruso’s new vlog yesterday. If ya know, ya know. But if ya don’t know, she’s currently on a weight loss journey to lose 100 pounds.

I’m a fan, she’s funny. Plus she doesn’t shy away from the actual struggle of trying to achieve something.

The point? The vlog I was watching was the typical new years resolutions vlog. Cut short – she has a very long list of goals for the year.

It made me think, do I have a short circuit? Am I Johnny Five? I never make new years resolutions. Never have. Not because of some mindset of change can happen at any time bs. More, I just don’t see the point.

Blah, Blah, Blah

As a fat person – even when I was five stone lighter I was still considered fat – I hated January in the gym. The personal trainers would be falling over themselves to get to me. Which is part of the reason I started working out before they were out of bed – you want my money, come at 5am.

By February, my fellow fat people were gone and the PT’s were too. The resolutions had fallen by the wayside.

Blah, blah, blah. There are a million and one vlogs and blogs on why resolutions don’t work.

The point of this blog post? I noticed my period of change (thats a clunky set of words) starts in October. I don’t even know why. Do you know?

But it does make life easier.

The gyms are emptier.

I can spend more time looking at different options, making an informed decision. Then wait until the discounted January offers to buy. Assuming the change I want to make involves some form of course.

Its nice to have a head start. I can do all my floundering and initial mess ups out of view. But the time January comes, I sort of know what I’m doing. I’m not looking at gym equipment, for example, with a face full of bewilderment. Or, I’ve already researched the course and can hit the ground running on it – knowing what to expect.

Plus, no one is doing change at that time of year. It sort of takes the pressure off. I know I shouldn’t compare myself to others, but I do. Having no one to compare to, as they’re waiting for January 1st, makes it easier. No one to keep up with.

Maybe I’ll mix things up this year and try some change in July.

What Others Must Think – Who Cares? Right?

84 Days Alcohol Free

Yesterday, I posted the following to the OYNB Facebook group:

It is completely different to what was left to clear up on Jan 1st 2020. Back then it would have been bottles of beer and Prosecco. With the added bonus of a massive hangover.

This got me wondering, what differences are outsiders seeing? What must they think?

To be honest, what they think doesn’t really matter to me. Giving up booze isn’t about them. But I thought this might be a “fun” little exercise.

Here’s my list, in no particular order. Looking from their perspective.

The dog – Why don’t I go to the pub anymore? I liked the pub, we would walk miles and then I’d get treats and fusses from the people in the pub. I like these chewy bottles though. Good toys.

The corner shop – Has he died? He’s not been in for months to buy booze. In fact he rarely comes in anymore. Should we check up on him? Look at our profits, they’re way down since he stopped buying booze.

The bin men – Thank God we don”t have to lift all those glass bins. These plastic waste bins are far lighter. Must be new people in the house.

The neighbours – His alcoholism must have got so bad he’s now hiding it from the world. Who drinks that much sparkling water? Did he finally bankrupt himself with his drinking? Did he die and no one told us?

The bank – Was he kidnapped? His account isn’t getting as much use. Do we close it down? Contact him to make sure he is ok? Call Liam Neeson to use his specific set of skills to find him?

The reality is that no one has noticed. Part of it, as I said in this post I Don’t Drink. I Will Never Drink Again – The Covid Blessing, is due to not being allowed to socialise. Unless I’m in a particular situation, people are too busy going about their lives to notice.

I guess I’m saying that if you’re considering giving up the booze and are worried about what people will think. Don’t. They have more important things to worry about at the moment. Sounds dismissive, but thats the reality at the moment. Unless you drinking is directly impacting their lives, or they’re close to you, most people won’t notice.

If they do notice and have something negative to say about it, or aren’t supportive, then maybe question their place in your life. They’re probably not the people you need around you.

Here endeth the lecture.

The Nothing Blog Post

83 Days Alcohol Free

Two huge milestones achieved. Getting through Christmas and New Years Eve alcohol free.

To be honest New Years Eve was a doddle, its not something that I celebrate anyway. All that changed was the number at the end of the date – we change the number at the front end everyday.

Christmas Day has traditionally been all about the booze. Starting Christmas Eve. Then in the morning, after walking Murphy, I’d have a whisky or two while prepping the dinner. Then on to the beer – sometimes going to the pub.

Thats how it always was from the age of 18 – well not the cooking bit, that came later.

Not this year. Breaking the hold of alcohol on that one day is probably the biggest achievement of 2020 for me. To be fair though, the bar was pretty low. Putting trousers on most days was an achievement – we’ve all done web calls in PJ bottoms, or just underpants. Haven’t we?

Whats todays blog about? Nothing. I’m tired, grumpy and Murph Dogg has the shits.

On to tomorrow.

I find your lack of faith disturbing – Darth Vader. That Meditation Blog Post

82 Days Alcohol Free

Lots of thoughts bubbling away in the old noggin today.

Oh, look New Years Eve. Should I write about how I don’t set resolutions – siting all the evidence that they don’t work? There are plenty of other blogs for that.

The one I like at the moment is the feeling of not being unique. That is actually comforting. Knowing I am not alone in the struggle to quit drinking, or the lack of control around food, or being a general emotional wreck.

Meditation

But the thought I am going to settle on is meditation.

I know it works. I know it brings a sense of calm to my brain. Sometimes it even feels like a natural high. So why the bloody hell am I not doing it more often?

Somewhere in a dark recess of my mind I believe its all woo woo, is one reason.

Also, sitting with my thoughts/feelings and not getting wrapped up in them feels alien. Its uncomfortable not giving in to what I’ve always done. But what I’ve always done isn’t working. Getting wrapped up in the negative thoughts, the worry, the anxiety etc hasn’t worked.

There is a fear that no longer being the person who worries unnecessarily will take a huge part of who I am away.

Meditation means changing who I am. Thats why I don’t do it more often.

But, like Luke did on Dagobah, I need to go in to my Cave of Evil and face what is there. Face who I am and change what is no longer working.

I Don’t Drink. I Will Never Drink Again – The Covid Blessing

81 Days Alcohol Free

Isn’t this grand? There is a lady, in the One Year No Beer Facebook group, who starts her posts with the following line:

I don’t drink. I will never drink again.

Claire from OYNB

I like that. It sums up where I am with drinking at the moment. Will this change? I don’t know. But I certainly feel like drinking is a part of my past. It doesn’t serve a need in my life anymore.

I do wonder if this Covid situation has made things easier. Words I never thought I’d type. I appreciate the following is the slimmest of silver linings, in what has been a terrible year for most of us.

Without Covid, I’d have been confronted with social situations. In the past, this is where I’d struggle. Just one pint. Or the constant questioning about not drinking.

Me not drinking seemed to cause a big fuss amongst others. Especially work colleagues.

I haven’t had to worry about any of that. The restrictions we’ve had have allowed me time to build a resilience. They’ve allowed me the time to mentally prepare and get my mind in to a place where I won’t cave to have “just one”.

Let’s Eat

80 Days Alcohol Free

Blogging for 30 days seemed like a good idea at the time. Something to fill the hours when I used to drink. Ten days in, that idea got old quick.

Replacing Alcohol With Food

Alcohol was my crutch when stressed, bored, or when I needed to avoid my feelings.

I realised, early on, that it only made the stress worse. That made the stress drinking easy to knock on the head. Also I’d be mostly stressed at work – somewhere I would never drink. So, all I needed to do was make it through the evenings.

As for boredom. I replaced the alcohol with food. Thinking about it, at work I use food during stressful moments.

When it comes to feelings – just eat, its comforting when the feelings get too real.

All this to say. Food is the new/old crutch in my life. My ever expanding waistline is testament to that.

I’m working on it. Food is a harder one to tackle – its sort of key to keeping me alive. No doubt there will be more to come on my adventures in tackling my food crutch.

Do Or Do Not. There Is No Try (Spot The Yoda Theme)

Day 78 Alcohol Free

It’s silent and the dog is snoring. This makes me chuckle, not a bad start to the day.

The Yoda Bit

What follows is a bit of rambling, I think it makes sense. Let me know if I missed my point, or if my point isn’t obvious.

I’ve been doing a lot of trying. Trying this, trying that. Seeing what sticks. Thinking a whole lot, not just accepting at times I just need to stop and do.

A rolling stone gathers no moss

It’s easy to be the rolling stone, but I’d like to gather a bit of moss (knowledge, progress, learning). I can keep on moving on to the next thing, without really absorbing what I am doing right now. But that isn’t really productive. It’s a lot of energy wasted, with only snippets learned.

I think it is time to get out of my head and start doing. Do the damn thing for a period of time before I make my mind up on its success/failure, before I move on quickly without having learned.

With that in mind. Morning routine is locked in. I do my S.A.V.E.R.S. I do my Wim Hof Method exercises.

While I am doing those though, I am going to learn too. I want to get better at meditation/mindfulness. At the moment I am aware that I know next to nothing. Soundbite knowledge from several different books. I need to do some proper reading on the subject. Also learn as I do.

I also want to address my relationship with food. Currently working through The Kindness Method book and its various exercises. Again, doing and not just thinking/trying. Its a process, I just have to trust and keep doing it.

Not So Baby Yoda (Sober Yoda)

Day 77 Alcohol Free

There has been an upgrade to the morning writing gear. Grogu socks and dressing gown….Baby Yoda for the win.

Not so Baby Yoda

Disconnected

Christmas day was weird, for a couple of reasons.

I Stayed alcohol free, but had a couple of moment where I was drawn the the bubbles. But simply looked ahead to what that would feel like in the morning and that was enough to stop me.

The other reason it was weird was because I felt disconnected from those around me. I felt like the odd one out.

It was hard to have conversations with people who were half or fully drunk. It was a lonely experience if I’m honest.

I did question staying sober was worth it. Then I saw something on FB a friend posted (below).

FB POST

Once I saw that, I knew not drinking and feeling a little disconnected was worth it.

At least I was here, with my people, having at least some conversation. I wasn’t in bed, or being sick or regretting having drunk too much.

I Hope you all had a great day – or are still having a great day (wobbly wobbly timey wimey time zones and all).