I have been spending some time thinking about what has really helped me so far on this little exciting journey of mine.
I’m not saying I have worked it all out yet but there are definitely some themes coming out which sit under different umbrellas – cue Rihanna ela ela ee.
I’ve been so busy that this post has taken me a number of weeks to write – sorry. Anyway, on with the learns:
(1) Acceptance or more dramatically and “flower-powery” – surrender!
What do I mean by this? There lies in me a fundamental understanding and belief that something had to change for my well-being and those around me. A realisation that whilst I don’t have all the answers there is a way and that small voice that we all have inside us (yes you too – and no I am not loosing the plot) that can steer us in the right direction. It’s the little voice on your shoulder that says – those weren’t very kind words I used to my friend last week – or I should not have eaten that 1 KG chocolate bar! It’s quite clever really. Most times this little voice is really helpful – yes sometimes it tries to mislead us – but in one word I would describe it predominantly as being authentic. Authentic to yourself and not trying to create or build a character that you are not or an image which is not true. I realised this years ago – but it has taken me a little while to act! Alcohol simply doesn’t have a place in my authentic self.
(2) Movement and Breathing
By movement – I mean any kind of movement. This could be a run, a walk a swim, a game of tennis – anything that increases your heart-rate and gets you sweating. It’s not new science but sometimes what is coming sense is not common practice. In my freedom this movement has been so important in making me feel good about myself and increasing the old dopamine (the brains chemistry that reward us an makes us feel good) – here is a link for a bit more on dopamine –
A good guideline for the amount of exercise per week is 5 x 30 minutes every week – again remember if this sounds a lot it can be achieved in many different ways. Sometimes it’s better when you almost don’t realise you are doing it for example by playing a game of football with your children or taking a brisk walk taking in the scenery.
If you really struggle to move then just changing scenery can help especially if you are feeling demotivated – get close to some nature – it’s proven over and over again to benefit our well being.
(3) Be Calm – and yes Be Mindful
Yes I am asking you to become a little Buddha like! I have found myself coming out with annoying statements to others like “breath” – which when someone is not conscious of my positive intent with saying such a thing can come across as £$ck&ng annoying – I must learn to be more mindful of my words!
It can seem very strange at first and again a little bit flower power however bare with it and you will be rewarded – little and often everyday. I’m not going to be able to communicate the “how” here efficiently or succinctly but there are far better sites that can do such a job like http://www.headspace.com.
Below is a link to some information on mindfulness. To be honest I learn about this everyday and my current focus is to do this more often more consistently but what I do know is is has a place to play in my everyday life.
(4) Learn and Re-programme
Develop yourself through learning and action. I’ve constantly read, absorbed and (mostly) acted upon good advice and experience from others.
I’ve also learned that a lot of my movement forward in well-being is around understanding and recognising that I am have to re-program my automatic thoughts around how I perceive myself, what the true facts are around alcohol and how this impacts my decision making. This also applies to other areas of my life including perceptions on how I look, feel and act.
So develop a routine of learning and become wise about the facts around alcohol. There is so much misinformation out there because of the alcohol industry propaganda and also cultural and social expectations which are warped when you start to be able to see through them.
Just a word of caution though (and I challenge anyone who says they are not guilty of this at some point in their lives) – learning without action gets you nowhere.
And finally and importantly – support.
There’s no excuses in this day and age to find people who will cheer you on. Whether it is close family, friends or something more recognised like Mind or SMART Recovery.
It doesn’t matter how positive or up for things you are you’ll need somewhere or someone to bounce off when things are tricky or you don’t know the way forward.
I hope this has served you in some small way.