A lot of what happens in our lives is about control – whether internally or externally.
We all, I believe, have a strong desire to regulate and influence our overall life experience. Then there’s the flip side to the coin of wanting spontaneity, surprise. change and the little miracles of excitement that just sometimes happen unexpectedly.
I’m guessing most of us have experienced one of those days where you wake up having planned absolutely nothing and it turns out to be the most exciting day of the year. The alternative being that something tragic or unexpected happens.
Somewhere in between I believe resides a happier medium and it is this that is so tricky to control. Indeed, there are just some things that we have to accept as being out of our control.
So, what if something unexpected happens and this effects my journey to alcohol freedom – you may rightly ask? A tragic event, a trigger – somebody shouting at me when I least want it.
I experienced this just the other day. I believe it is about how we choose to respond to this that is key. The meaning and response that you bring to such a situation is something I believe I have complete control over. It simply takes some practice to respond in a way that means that you remain headed in the right direction.
This last week I have continue to progress on my freedom journey and also my 30 day challenge. I’ve said this before but progress is significant without the beautifully packaged poison in my cupboards. Some benefits and activities this week from freedom include:
- ongoing improved clarity of mind.
- better use of time in the evenings.
- being present for my children – where by present I mean “in the moment”.
- swimming with my daughter and wife
- progressing projects at work more briskly
- better ability to deal with confrontational situations where I have been able to respond more level headed.
- of course more energy
I have experienced some foggy mornings but I put this down to a recovering body and to be honest eating too late at night. I’ve tried to eat my evening meal earlier where possible but this cannot always happen.
I suppose the thing I remember is that the mild discomfort, for example in the morning, or the fleeting thoughts of “I would like a beer” do not outweigh the benefits of being free from alcohol.
One of my regular routines I have introduced is some form of mindfulness before bed and also where possible reading in the morning. I find this is a useful reset for the morning and “stop” for the evening.
I’ve not had as many cravings this week but my desire to drink does increase throughout the day. I’ve found the “Sober Technique” quite useful (although do not like the name of it. It works as follows:
S – Stop: Whatever you are doing immediately, albeit if you are shopping, out socialising, in doors etc.
O – Observe: your surroundings objectively. Imagine you are standing back from the situation like sitting on a wall observing whatever the events are unfolding in front of you but you are not a part of that scene.
B – Breath: Gently in through your nose and hold for 3-5 seconds and gently release your breath through your mouth, hold 3-5 seconds before you breath back in through your nose again. Repeat this action 5-10 times.
E – Evaluate: How you now feel and note how your perspective on the situation has changed. The external situation may of not changed but your thoughts and feelings are more likely have positively shifted.
R – Respond: Rather than react. You will feel more empowered to make a choice rather than panic and stress more in order to deal with yourself and the given situation. If you can at this point find a safe place for you that brings comfort. This may be sitting by a tree or near water, it may be a coffee bar or a particular room in your home or garden.
It all goes together but the most useful part I have found is the evaluating part. It gives you the opportunity to check in with you feelings and maybe question them if you feel strong enough.
Questions and statements I ask are:
- what is going to happen if I continue on this route?
- why am I doing this again (this is why it is so important to have an emotional “why” that you are connected to.
- what are the benefits so far that I have experienced – I don’t want to forfeit these do I.
- this too shall pass as it has many times before.
- I am in this for the long term and the short term discomfort is worth the long term gain.
I hope this has served you in some small way.