It’s 6.09am on Christmas Eve. I’ve already been to the shop, to pick up the last bits. There are always “last bits”. Bits we never need on any other day of the year and can live without easily.
I came to the realisation, a while back, that part of the reason I’ve struggled for the last 18 months is lack of control. This just got worse during lockdown.
Every time I tried to get a routine going, something happened to upend it. Thats what I mean by lack of control. I don’t need total control over everything, just the ability to set my own agenda for certain things.
What to do about this? Its the small wins, pretty sure every self-help book talks about those. This is where I started. Simply by reading again. Gathering ideas, re-learning forgotten knowledge. Reminding myself what works.
What Works For Me
Every morning, for the last few weeks, I’ve been doing a combination of three approaches to goal setting and self-care.
This was the starting point. It invigorated me and gave me some fresh ideas, mixed with some I’d used to stop drinking. This kick-started a new morning routine of journalling.
This is what I end up with most days – I never thought I’d be doing stuff like this, but then I never thought I’d stop drinking either. Thats working out pretty good so far, so why not try different things.
Before I started those numbers were mostly 2 and 3. They also help target where I need to focus next.
A book I read years ago, but decided to re-visit. Lots I forgot. This helped me evolve the morning routine. I now have structure in the morning and have regained some control over a part of my life. I start each day in a good place now, which helps me cope with whatever happens after.
I’m not totally there yet with coping, but I am a lot better.
Sitting here a bit smug. Seeing the aftermath of the Prosecco drinking, so happy I didn’t drink any. It started with the fizz, then moved on to vodka. Yesterday, well, no one was much good for anything. Zombies have more life about them.
I won’t experiment with booze – some courses suggest doing so. I’d rather not. Seeing the effect it has on others is enough to make me realise I made the right choice.
There wasn’t the temptation to say “I told you so”, they were suffering enough. Plus, being like that helps no one.
On another note. I realised this morning I woke up genuinely happy. That hasn’t happened in a very long time. It took a moment or two to realise what the feeling was – the realisation that I’ve been a miserable bugger to so long did put a chink in the armour lol.
It’s more that subdued “yay” happy rather than the fireworks ecstatic happy. But I’ll take it.
During the week I post on the OYNB Facebook group, just random thoughts about how sober life is. It helps to be accountable. To hive mind problems and to get the feedback that I’m not alone – hopefully, some of the posts help others.
I thought I’d turn those daily thoughts in to blog posts – just mini posts.
Of course this is for purely selfish reasons. Christmas is coming up and I plan on staying sober. These mini posts will help give me another reason to, on top of the many I already have. You never know which plan b you need to help get through some situations – so the more the better.
Today we have this gem (written on sober day 66). For context, I tend to write these thoughts at about 4am wearing just underpants and socks. Recently I introduced a dressing gown – it was getting cold.
I’ve decided to go back to underpants and socks for my morning writing attire.
It’s my version of the Wim Hof Method. The door is open for the dog, its cold. It’s waking me up. It reminds me of when I had no choice but to be cold – when I was in housing with no heating (somehow this was a thing in the first two houses I rented/owned). Which I never want to go back to on a permanent basis – it was miserable. Also, no one needs to see a fat man shiver. I’m linking that mentally to alcohol and how miserable it made me. I don’t want to experiment with the booze – so I am finding alcohol free alternatives (as it were).
On the day I am writing this, I am 22 days sober. This week, more than any before it during my sobriety, I have been ground hogging like a champ. There has been a distinct lack of coherent thought and focus on achieving any goals.
The new lockdown, about to hit the UK, has hit my mood pretty hard.
The thought of working from home is the stuff of my nightmares. Hours spent on my own, looking at a screen, took me to a very dark place last time.
I was barely functioning and had daily thoughts of suicide. My drinking also hit its worst.
Hello Mark, Its The Universe Calling!
I don’t know if I believe that the universe sends us messages. But the last few weeks it seems like it has has something to tell me. It hasn’t been subtle, either.
I get the message…..human connection is vital to my wellbeing.
When I went back to work my mood lifted. It felt good to be around other people.
Getting back to a recognisable routine also helped. Having a reason to get dressed, commuting, face to face meetings. It all helped. Seeing people, not just hearing their disjointed voices on a Teams call, was a massive boost.
My Recent Reading List
Every book I’ve read recently has advised that connection is vital to living a good life.
Each one of these books has made it loud and clear, I NEED HUMAN CONNECTION!
Thats all lovely and the universe can send me as many messages as it likes. But its ignoring one major problem.
I don’t like people. Don’t trust them. Don’t make friends easily. I am crap at maintaining the friendships I have had. The second someone lets me down its a big goodbye – ironic because I am usually the one doing the letting down.
Its all part of being an introvert.
It’s also part of being uncomfortable around people.
If I am going to get through this new lockdown sane, then it’s time to get out of my comfort zone. Time to make more connections. Time to stop being a dick head.
Before I turn my goals towards physical health and nutrition, connection must be my main focus. Its the one thing I have been terrible at all my life. The return to work demonstrated how much being around people helps my mental wellbeing. I need to remember that.