These are some of the things that I do to ‘work’ at my recovery, the things that keep my happily sober, the day-in-day out way that I look after my sober self and those around me (which feeds back to me of course). I got worried after I wrote this that I am sounding like a perfectly perfect saint who does everything just right and is bloody perfect! Believe me I’m not!!! But this is what I try to focus on and aim for… and when I put energy into these things – and of course never drink alcohol! – then I am a happier version of myself.
#1 Exercise. I stopped exercising last year for 6 months and I think it made a big difference to my mental health. I’m not a natural exercise person but feel immeasurably better when it is implemented in my life. I’m now back at the gym and am going 2-3 times a week! Bit of treadmill walking/running and 9 different weights machines – 45 mins to 1 hour. Headphones on throughout with my music blasting loudly in my ears. I’m starting to feel strong and ‘in’ my body again. It’s great.
#2 Diet. I aim to be mostly wheat/sugar free. Anyone who knows me knows that I struggle with sugar. It’s definitely related to my drinking problem. I tend to use it in place of wine to deal with stress/boredom/funky moods/celebrations/rewards etc. I am very mindful of this and mostly keep it under control. I feel sooooooo much better (lighter and cleaner) when I don’t eat bread, pasta, biscuits, muffins or cakes. Or fudge. Or chocolate. Or coconut ice.
#3 Mental Health. I think I’m a naturally optimistic/upbeat person but having avoided negative emotions for 20+ years (with the help of booze of course) I’m now having to accept and live with the rough phases of my mind. Sadness/anger/stress/glumness/angst… these feelings arrive more often and sometimes hang around for a while. I listen to Tara Brach talks which are hugely beneficial and I’m also working on new mindful/meditation techniques to quiet my mind. I’m also trying to simply accept these feelings as gifts, because they teach me so much, and make up the fabric of a rich, full, and sober life.
#4 Entertainment. Radio & TV. The things that make me happy. I have the stereo in my car tuned to 5 different radio stations so I can always find something fun to groove to, I have my iPhone loaded with favourite tunes that I plug into my kitchen speakers and listen to when I’m cooking, and I listen to a news station on the radio in the kitchen as well. I watch drama series on TV with Mr D (Vikings, House of Cards & Better Call Saul current favourites), we both also watch American Idol! I watch some other Reality TV and keep up with celebrity gossip on Channel E.
#5 Sober treats. I buy myself fresh flowers every week. Always a bunch of lilies for the hall table and another bunch of something colourful for the kitchen bench. I never ever feel bad about the cost ($$$ saved not buying wine!!). I also buy myself treaty non-alcoholic drinks sometimes when I’m at the supermarket (Hopt Soda or tonic water latest favourites) and I make mocktails from our ‘Drink of the Week’ archives when I’m in the mood. I also occasionally treat myself to nice face creams or shampoo (when our household budget allows it). These things are important to me and I am conscious of them being ‘sober treats’ i.e. little treats for me to let me know that I am proud of me for being sober.
#6 Friends and Family. I think of the immediate people around me as precious jewels and I try to be kind and generous to them always. I try to stay in touch with what’s going on for my family members and work on staying in contact with those that live out-of-town. I relish my girlfriends and take every opportunity to see them and share honestly about what is going on with me and listen properly to what is going on for them. I think about my job as a mother a lot and try hard to do a good job, and I appreciate and love my husband a huge amount and try to be a good wife to him. I’m not a saint, sometimes I’m probably self absorbed and not achieving my upmost with family and friends but I aim to be the best I can be because it makes me feel good and is hopefully nice for them in return.
Please chime in below with what you do to work at your recovery and your sober self. Everyone’s journey is different, but by honestly sharing we are all made stronger.
Love, Mrs D xxx