Been there, done it, got the bloody T shirt! That’s how I would feel if I had the guts to admit I’d drunk yet again. Well meaning folk suggesting that I rest, drink water, walk the dog, exercise, read quit lit, journal, meditate, listen to a podcast, count your days, don’t count your days, do a challenge, have coaching, go to an AA meeting, go to rehab, post, be honest, sit it out because this too shall pass…
And all these tools are great. They can and do work. The only thing was I had convinced myself that none of this could work for me. I had all these tools and more. I no longer had a small discrete toolbox, I had one of those massive chests on wheels, full to the brim, and far too heavy for me to cope with.
Knowing that I wasn’t the only person with a dysfunctional relationship with alcohol was freeing. It made me feel there was hope, even for me, only when the glitter and shine fell from my first stint of sobriety that hope started to wane. I threw all the tools at myself, picking more up to try on the way. Each time I fell, it reinforced the belief that none of this could work for me.
I think this is where addiction can be so cruel. The slippery slope to addiction is so similar for all. Some slide down further than others, however when you are talking to someone else who has been down that slope, no explanation is needed. They know, they understand… however the path away from that slope is such an individual thing. There is no definite route to be taken. How can there be? Alcohol takes our individuality away. The slope is easy, it’s the same for all, we are all slaves to the poison. It’s only when we break free from the grip of the evil trick, do we see a need to carve our own path. The path that will take us to our version of a happy sober life and let us take back our individuality.
I started my new path by chucking away the old tools and trying something different. I was sick and tired of trying so hard with no result. Fed up with battering my head with quit lit and counting each miserable day. I booked a coaching session. This was big for me. Previous attempts at therapy had put my drinking into hyper drive, only sober coaching is different, isn’t it? I knew I needed to try different.
That first session of coaching was okay. Nothing to be afraid of, only the usual advice was proffered. Look after yourself, post each day and maybe try and journal, it might just help with all your emotions! So, there I was, posting each day, the usual stuff about sleep and anxiety and wanting to get sober. Becoming accountable was grand, only I knew deep in my heart, this wasn’t trying different enough for me. I needed something to help me get all the daft thoughts out of my head. I needed a tool that would allow me to be honest, open, and willing.
And that was when the Alphabet Alkie was born. A letter a day, one word a day, concentrating my thoughts, allowing me to start the process of clearing all the debris that had accumulated in my mind.
A – To count days or not count days…that is the question. For me counting can be a little overwhelming, so I’m giving myself an alphabet challenge. Each morning I’m going to start the day with a letter, so today is brought to you by the letter A.
A is for anxiety. Anxiety is not something I felt I had to manage, however the further I walk down my recovery path, I am realising that anxiety has been there all along. I have used ethanol in an attempt to fill that feeling of an empty stomach. Only problem with that is the emptiness becomes greater. Time to explore other ways to fill my soul.
That was my first alphabet alkie post, and 26 days later I had travelled through the alphabet from anxiety to….
Z – Zen is my word today. To be peaceful and calm and not worry about things I cannot change. Am I completely zen? Am I heck! Am I more zen than I was 26 days ago? Absolutely!
26 days ago, I was less than a week off the drink. My head was a shed. I felt scared, confused, and empty. In 26 days I have posted and been accountable every morning. I have spent an hour or so each day on wakening giving time to my thoughts and typing them down. In 26 days, I have started a yoga class going two evenings a week, giving my body and mind the exercise it needs to start recovering. In 26 days, I have started to eat well, drink more water, and sleep better, even allowing myself a nana nap in my lunch break if I need it.
In 26 days, I have learnt that looking after me creates a greater feeling of calm and peace inside.
Am I completely Zen? Heck no! I still get irritated, frustrated, and anxious. Will I ever be completely zen? Heck no! I can get on a soap box with the best of them.
Am I more zen than I was 26 days ago? Absolutely! Baby steps.
I’ve been through the alphabet a few times now. Mixing it up with a scrabble challenge and an alphabet lotto. The yoga classes were cancelled, and it’s got too darn cold to be drinking water up here in the North, however the cheeky little lunch time nana naps are here to stay and so is the writing and the coaching.
I’m not going to tell anyone which tools to use. Try them all, see which ones suit. Don’t be afraid to throw tools away that have stopped working and try different. Take all the support on offer and embrace your individuality.
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