29 Feb Getting Sober or Just Cutting Back?
Most mornings I try to wake and get the day started before my two toddler-aged girls rise. I love the morning time. Nowadays for me it’s the time when I’m most clear, fresh and energized to take on the world. It flies by so quickly it seems so I do my best to squeeze in as many productive and meaningful tasks as possible. I hop out of bed and go right to starting a load of laundry, emptying out the dishwasher, straightening up the house here and so on. I’m often trying to squeeze in a 10-minute guided meditation which is something I’ve wanted to adopt as a regular practice in my life. During my flurry of activities I usually listen to an inspiring podcast from one of dozens I subscribe to. I find that a positive message and lesson first thing in the morning gives me something constructive to reflect on throughout the day.
Today’s message came from Lewis Howes’ podcast called “The School of Greatness” where he interviewed author, Jack Canfield. Jack is the man behind such incredible works as the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series and so many other epic and inspiring writings. The focus of the discussion was his latest book on alcohol addiction. I was really drawn in to the talk when Lewis described Jack’s new book and how it focuses on a 30-day program to begin dealing with alcohol addiction in addition to so many other addictions such as eating, drugs, sex – you name it! Why would this be so appealing to me? I can’t say I’m an alcoholic but I do know that there is a laundry list of behaviors in my life that have a death grip on me. I’m talking about excessive drinking, horrendous eating habits, unreasonable caffein consumption, spending beyond my means and other destructive patterns. I don’t know if I qualify as an addict or not but I can honestly say that I’ve used each one of these things to numb myself from the discomfort I feel from my life circumstances. I regularly indulge in these self-medicating vices to side-step actually dealing with my day-to-day stress, anxiety, and emotional pain.
Ever since the birth of my children I’ve struggled with depression. While I love being a mom so much I was not expecting the identity crisis that ensued. Virtually every element of my life changed at that point including a major career shift, new parental responsibilities, body, hormones, marriage and more. I got lost and have been trying to find my way back ever since.
I’ve come to discover that this is where I’ve gone wrong. I’ll never be able to go back to who I once was. It’s a futile pursuit that has left me utterly frustrated and broken. That chapter is closed and a new adventure awaits. This self revelation tells me it’s time to befriend and accept the new me. It’s time to reject the behaviors that are no longer serving me and those in my life. The abuses and excessive tactics unleashed a circular formula for failure.
What I mean by this is feeling frustrated and insecure about my body and in turn eating comfort foods to feel better which of course evolves in to weight gain and on to yet more insecurities and dissatisfaction with my body. It’s the same cycle of pain and disfunction in my relationships so I turn to a glass of wine to soothe my mind from reeling in self-doubt and paranoia and it inevitably turns in to an entire bottle of wine completely numbing out any possibility of thinking clearly and working through the problems. Nothing has a chance to improve or get fixed. It’s not working.
But how do I discover and embrace the new me and put an end to my destructive addictions?
I believe it’s simply starting. It’s putting just one foot in front of the other. It’s adapting small changes and new habits every single day. It’s building on the things at play that are already working. It’s a matter of questioning every false belief I’ve held on to for far too long. It’s strengthening my gratitude muscles. It’s practicing thoughtful care and awareness in everything I do. It’s a “knowing” that there’s someone great in me that deserves a chance to live and give. I matter. I’m worth it.
I’ve already experienced success by applying these changes in a practical manner. As I mentioned in the beginning, I’ve picked up a meditation practice. It’s not 100% consistent yet but it’s getting there and I’m feeling better and more in control over my thought life. I also mentioned that I’m building on a morning routine that is highly efficient and sets the tone of my day. I feel on-purpose and productive. I’m working on being kind to myself rather than flushing myself down in a shame spiral when I’m not perfect. I’ve kicked dieting to the curb. It’s never worked for me and it never will. I’m making changes one by one and fostering new eating habits that will last.
And now, thanks to Lewis Howes and Jack Canfield, I downloaded the audio version of “The 30-Day Sobriety Solution: How to Cut Back or Quit Drinking in the Privacy of Your Own Home” by Jack Canfield and Dave Andrews. As the book says, I’m aiming to –
“achieve my goals – whether that’s getting sober or just cutting back – and creating positive, permanent change in my life.”