These are some of the things that I do to ‘work’ at my recovery, the things that keep me 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’m not a natural exercise person but I figured out some years ago that I feel immeasurably better when it is implemented in my life. I have a gym membership and go 2-3 times a week when I can. I walk the dog most days and go to a yoga class once a week. When I stop any of these things for a length of time I start suffering physically and mentally, so I don’t ever let that happen for too long.
#2 Diet. 95% of the time I live wheat/sugar free. I struggle with these foods and it’s definitely related to my drinking problem. I respond to these foods in a very ‘alcoholic’ fashion and can easily fall into a cravings/binging/regret cycle with them, so with the help of the Bright Line Eating programme I cut them out last year. I feel sooooooo much better (lighter and cleaner and mentally free) when I don’t eat bread, pasta, biscuits, muffins or cakes. Or fudge. Or crackers. Or chocolate. Or coconut ice. You get the picture.
#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/frustration/disappointment, these feelings arrive more often and sometimes hang around for a while. Over the past couple of years I’ve learned a great deal about mindfulness and use those techniques regularly to quiet my mind and keep me grounded. 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, pop music and books… these are 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 a lot of Reality TV (I am an unashamed fan of junk TV!) and some drama series and documentaries, and I read novels and non-fiction when I can. Call them distractions but I love all these things and they keep my life full and rich.
#5 Sober Treats. I buy myself fresh flowers and treaty non-alcoholic drinks. I also treat myself to nice scented candles, face creams, bath oils and fancy teas (when our household budget allows it). I never feel bad about the cost of these items ($$$ saved not buying wine!!). These items things are important to me and I am very conscious when buying them that they are ‘sober treats’ i.e. little gifts sending myself a message that I’m proud of myself for being sober.
#6 Friends and Family. I think of the 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 work hard at my job mothering our three sons 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, things you do and actions you take to keep your sober self happy and content. Everyone’s likes and dislikes are different, but by sharing what works for us we can all get ideas and make each other stronger.
Love, Mrs D xxx