Feeling good

I feel good at the moment, and I’m really focusing on enjoying that feeling because I know how fleeting my moods can be. I’ve also been pondering why I feel good now. What is it that’s working at the moment? Am I doing something differently than I was before, or did I stop doing something? Can I keep doing something to improve my chances of continuing to feel good?

Well, after mulling it over for a bit, I think there are a few things. Since the new year, I have been working out. Admittedly only on my cross trainer, which apparently is the worst machine going for cardio, but it was the most cost effective and small-space friendly item I could get at the time. When I realised, years ago that my money ended up being the only thing that went to the gym, I cancelled my membership, and didn’t work out for a few years. I’ve had the cross trainer for about four years, and I can honestly say I’ve never used it so much as I am doing now. I’m not really worried that it’s an unnatural exercise, and I’m not training my body for any actual activity (such as running on a treadmill, or cycling on an exercise bike). I already own it, it fits in with my routine, and it seems to be working for me. Sometimes I don’t have time for it, and sometimes I just don’t feel like itΒ – in which case I either make myself do it anyway (75% of the time) or I don’t do it (25% of the don’t-feel-like-it times). I think it has helped in improving my mood. I feel fitter, and better about myself. So that goes on the list of thinks I’ll keep doing.

At new year we also bought a juicer. I forget whether I mentioned it before, but we watched Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead again, with Joe Cross, and Hungry for Change, over Christmas. Something must have struck a chord, and buying a juicer seemed like the right thing to do. I haven’t done a juice fast, where you don’t eat solids, but have four or five juices a day. But I have had a green juice most days. I’ve heard several criticisms of juicing since, for example, the machines supposedly breed nasty germs because of the hard to clean areas. Also, juices are full of sugar, so you should just eat the fruit instead. Not sure about the first point, but I put mainly veg in the green juice, and A LOT goes into one juice. I just wouldn’t sit down and eat that many vegetables. And I know that by juicing, you’re missing out on a lot of fibre, but that’s not what I’m after, really, it’s the nutrients. And I drink the juice straight away, so the nutrients won’t just dissipate because it’s sitting in the fridge for 24 hours. I’ve gone all round the houses there, but basically, I do think that the green juices help with my energy levels throughout the day, even though I have just one in the afternoon. And I’m basing that on not having any for about three or four days last week, when two snow days completely disrupted our routine, and I ended up not working out, or drinking juices. So juicing also goes on the ‘keep doing’ list!

I’m enjoying my interests again. Before my current job, I spent ten years working in a shop. I enjoyed the first couple of years, but it really went downhill after that. Partly due to my drinking, partly due to the whole atmosphere of the place changing, my role changing, and then eventually, I was forced to change to a position that I hated. I had virtually no choice, and me doing that job was like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. I ended up off sick with depression, it was that bad. The point I’m getting to is that fact that for the vast majority of my time – outside and inside work – throughout all this, I felt I should be looking for other work, applying for jobs, re-writing my CV. I would go through phases of this, and then become despondent, comparing myself to others who earned more than me, or who had ‘proper’ jobs. I felt like a failure, and I barely ever let my guard down, by which I mean that I never let myself enjoy my life. There were moments, obviously – especially when I met my Husband – when I forgot to beat myself up all the time, and let go enough to have fun and enjoy myself. But a lot of the time this nagging feeling was at the back of my mind – ‘you’ve no right to relax, you don’t deserve it, you failure’.
I think it’s a combination of me actually succeeding at getting a job I love (school science technician) and reaching a point in sobriety where I’m starting to feel more at ease with myself, that means I can finally let myself spend the time on things I enjoy. For example, working out would fall in this category (win:win πŸ˜‰ ) and so would anything crafty – currently it’s sewing. Mr W bought me a full sized machine for Christmas, so now I’m raring to go. Oh, and Great British Sewing Bee starts on Thursday – more inspiration!! Also: Chemistry homework. Self assigned. Revision of A-level. I love it. I did Biochemistry at uni, which I also loved. But going back to straight Chemistry is brilliant. It will hopefully come in useful in this job, plus in the future, should I ever be lucky enough to be a technician at a university or similar.

Next: I’m starting to notice my thought patterns, and really explore and question them if I think they might be lying to me. I notice that if I start to feel a certain way, it can and will begin to dictate my thought processes, and change my mood. It’s true, we do create our thoughts with our feelings. And I’m working on determining whether what I’ve come up with in my head is a true representation of the world around me, or whether I’m actually just making it up, as part of my self-destructive tendencies. I’m not blaming myself for doing that, I just want to get to the bottom of where this stuff comes from, and can I change it for the better instead of letting these thoughts run wild and consume me.

Occasionally I’ve been furiously thinking away (that’s exactly what it feels like) about someone or other thinking a certain thing about me, or putting myself down for whatever reason, and I’ve spoken up. To my husband, who perhaps isn’t always the best choice of sounding board, but he can be very supportive in the right frame of mind, and luckily this was indeed his reaction when I told him what was on my mind. I’ve just listened to the Bubble Hour podcast on PAWS, and they talked about this in relation to coping with the symptoms of PAWS. Do I have an underlying depression and anxiety going on or are my issues PAWS? I don’t know, and in any case, I think there is probably some overlap to these things. But what they said on the programme was that the important part of sharing these feelings, in order to diminish their power over us, is speaking the words. As if the thought/feeling is transformed into something less powerful by the words we use to describe it. In our minds, it can go on and on indefinitely, causing havoc and controlling us. But say the words (even though it can be hard – sometimes I feel sort of like I don’t even want to put the words out there, as though they’re dirty words) and it stops there. Gone. Maybe not forever, but out of your head at least for now. So that will keep on happening!

Lastly, I am trying to stop berating myself for not doing a thing ‘properly’. The all-or-nothing mentality is something I don’t even think I was aware affected me, until I found the sober blogging world and heard people talk about perfectionism. ‘There’s no way I suffer from that’, I thought, ‘I never do anything perfectly anyway!’. But that feeling of not being able, for whatever reason, to do something the way it is supposed to be, and therefore not bother at all – well, yes I get that! So, having spotted it, I’m trying not to let it get in the way. I try to tell myself it isn’t pointless to have a go. It doesn’t matter if I don’t complete something, or maybe I’m not an expert straight off. More often than not, I will get something out of it, whatever it may be. Plus, nobody is perfect, so my idea of how something should be done might not be possible under normal conditions anyway.

This has been a long post – thanks for reading if you’re still with me!
I’m just happy to be happy, a high on a long rollercoaster of ups and downs. I’m more than familiar with the downs, and if I forget what ‘up’ looks like, I can always come back here πŸ˜‰

 

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Today is my day 100!!

Yes, that’s right – me, the girl who loves (loved) her wine! I have successfully reached 100 days sober.

I’m so proud of myself – I set out to do this thing, at a time when I felt shaky and vulnerable. I wanted to stop comparing myself to others and let go of the anxiety that seemingly held me back at every turn. I was also afraid for my marriage, which I was all of about seven weeks into.

And how did I get here? Just by taking it one step at a time. I’ve had highs and lows, times when I’ve felt like a drink because I’m sad, times I’ve felt like drinking because I’m happy. If I’m honest, I don’t think I ever got very far down that thought process though. I was enjoying the process of recognising myself far too much for that. ‘Oh hello, waking, I’ve not seen you properly for years – how are you?’ I’m getting to know the real me.

And there is still so much to know. As I move past day 100 and continue this sober journey, I want to pick up all those threads of my life that I had left behind. Some I can see clearly, others just glimpsed at. I have a feeling that I will be able to twist them all together to create a life with more meaning. Meaningful work, a meaningful contribution, more meaningful relationships. And I can do all that with what I already have inside me – it’s me, just me. I don’t have to try to be something I’m not. What I have to offer the world is worthwhile. I just needed to get sober to realise it πŸ™‚

I’ve found that being sober doesn’t fix everything. Which is a shame, but hey. Maybe I am getting better at fixing stuff. And what I can’t fix? Well I guess there are some mountains you just have to live with πŸ˜‰ I could stick the serenity prayer in right about now…:)

Speaking of which, I will just add that that prayer reminds me of my late Nanna. She was a truly amazing woman, full of love, and would do anything for anyone. Of course I would say that…but so did many other people, not just family. Everyone knew of her generous, loving nature. Anyway, she always had in the lounge, a little stained glass window ornament – you know the ones, with the hinge so they stand upright – with the serenity prayer written on it in coloured glass. I wasn’t aware of its significance to the recovery movement, until a friend pointed it out. ‘That’s funny’, I said, ‘My Nanna has been a Methodist all her life and has never once touched a drop of alcohol’. A very wise woman! She was 99 when she died. I think she might be proud of me, too. πŸ™‚

calm is my favourite

I had a much better day yesterday. In fact even the day before, just after I wrote my last post, I started to feel better. I ate some homemade soup and watched some youtube videos of Brene Brown.

Then yesterday I went to see my counsellor. I told her about the wedding, and I came out feeling really positive. I did exactly what I felt like for the rest of the day – some Netflix (turns out Orphan Black S2 is only available on Amazon, damn my addictive personality!), some reading, a nice dinner (I would call it tea but you might not know what I mean πŸ˜‰ ).

I felt so much calmer, having talked about things with the counsellor. I really love that feeling, and I do seem to feel much more calm than anxious these days. It’s at times like this that I am so sure there is no going back to alcohol. I want sobriety for the rest of my life!

And then… some tiny little thing happens, and I’m anxious again. All that peace just gone!! Another social event is being arranged, and I worry how the dynamic will be again…

But you know, that’s not for several weeks. It doesn’t matter now, right this minute. It wont even matter when it happens, I shouldn’t think. I’ll just go, get on with it, and have a nice time for the most part….

Is it just me, or does anyone else experience this – it feels like very pronounced pendulum swings from up, to down, then back up again. I think my personality has always been like this if I’m honest. But if the last few weeks are anything to go by, I do think that it’s evening out slightly, as I build up more sober time. As I said, more calm than anxious, definitely, than when I was drinking wine all the time.

Being sober is sooooo good. πŸ™‚

100 days won’t be enough

I’m feeling good about 76 days sober. But I’m nowhere near where I need to be.

Maybe this is justΒ how sober life IS. I bob along fine, until a small ripple catches up with me, and I think ‘oh yea, I never dealt with all that stuff…no wine toΒ cope stuff down feelings….what happens next? Help?!’

Is that just life?

And then suddenly, I feel all calm and relaxed again… That stuff is still there, still needs my attention, but I feel calm. I love being sober. Life feels new but comfortable, yet challenging and rewarding. I want to do my best at everything.

Sometimes I don’t have the energy to do everything I feel I should be doing… and sometimes there aren’t enough hours in the day.Β I haven’t got an Action Plan, like I wanted. The heavy stuff is still heavy. But now I get to put it down and have a rest every now and then.

I want to let the heavy things go. That’s where I want to be.

I want to be my best version of me. I want to be loved, and to love, as that person. Nothing more, nothing less.

It helps immeasurably to know that I’m not alone πŸ™‚

More me

Day 60.

I’m feeling really good πŸ™‚

Things are up and down, but I’m slowly getting better at not identifying so much with passing feelings. I mean, relatively. I still have a long way to go but I definitely have improved!
So does this mean I am closer to being ‘joyful’ and not just ‘happy’?

I saw my best friend tonight and really enjoyed spending time with her. I was worried that we would have less and less in common, and our friendship won’t mean as much when she has the baby. But I was wrong. If anything, it makes the whole thing seem more possible to me, spending time with her. There will be a child in my life in a way when she has her daughter. I might even be able to have one of my own if Mr W and I decide to go down that road and if it happened to be a success.

Either way, life will never be all ‘up’. That wouldn’t work. There are always going to be ‘downs’ whatever they may consist of.

I think a big factor in feeling a bit calmer about all this was revealed to me yesterday when I saw my counsellor. She said what she was picking up from me was a desire to be clearer. ‘No shit’, I hear you cry! Getting sober, seeing a counsellor…it’s obvious I want to get clear. But I also want to be free (as much as I can be) from the other influences that were pressing in on me. Like the biological clock. The desire to fit in with other women I know who are, or are going to become mothers.

I want to be more me. To express more of myself. I like being me, I think, on some fundamental level. And I want to make sure that important stuff – decisions like this – come from me. Not pressure from outside, or my faulty thinking about my own worthiness or whatever. Authentic, real, me.

Tomorrow… I can almost guarantee more stress at work. It’s crunch time. Confronting my colleague. Well, my manager will be doing. But I have chosen (so far) to bring up the subject initially.
I don’t want to feel anxious, because logically, I don’t see why I should allow her that power over me. But it’s kind of a physical reaction and I do feel that way.
Let’s just hope I can be the authentic, real, me!