Recovery – week 1. Emotional management

So, one week into ‘operation quit drinking ‘ phase 2. And i’m Feeling very mixed. I feel determined, confused, apprehensive and a bit sad.

I feel different emotions every hour or so, with varying degrees of extremity. Like my mind is yet to settle and become content. In fact, come to think about it, I don’t think my mind ever has been, settled. Not completely anyway.

I think that’s the nature of the mind, always active, always perceiving threats and reacting. Like a primitive animal. Like the chimp in the book, ‘chimp paradox’. It is powerful and needs to be respected, but also kept in check.

Dealing with this primitive animal mind, is one reason I used to drink. To sedate it.

When I had uncomfortable and intense emotions I had to deal with in the past, one coping mechanism was to sedate the beast. Generally, the chimp would settle after one or four drinks. And this new, carefree, fun persona used to come out to play.

But after 20 years of drinking, the chimp got smart to it. And actually, started to enjoy the drinking. And no one wants to be around a triggered drunken chimp do they. Not even me.

So now, I must learn to deal with these emotions.

I need to be more of the ‘watcher’, the keeper of the chimp, than the chimp. I need to keep this primitive part of my mind in check. I think this will be key to being alcohol free. Emotional management.

As I write this I’m wondering how to do this. I don’t premeditate these blogs, I just start rambling whatever is on my mind at that point. (You may have guessed that).

So anyway, how to manage my emotions. I think the goal is peace of mind, but also mental perspective. From experience I know that meditation works. Yet I often start a period of meditation and then make excuses and fade it out. ‘No time’ etc…

I need to prioritise meditation. That’s one.

Next I think, is protecting myself from negative triggers. People, places, subjects that frustrate me. I need to heighten my awareness of these and try to expect the challenge. Coupled with mindfulness I feel I can handle these situations. It when they take me by surprise that catches me out.

I think rather than trying to understand why they frustrate me. (My ‘should be’ mind), I need to practice acceptance of the things that are out of my control.

Conversly if there is something within my control that is constantly causing me upset. I need to have the clarity of thought and courage to do the right thing. Even if that means distancing myself from it.

Clarity of thought, again comes back to meditation/mindfulness!!

So number 2, meditation.

Next, I need a team of confidants, people that I can relate to, and that can relate to me. I need people that have trod the path, been through the struggle, understand me. It’s very difficult feeling alone in the world without anyone that truly ‘see’s you’.

But there are groups of people out there that are sober, that have been through the struggle and got sober and are living clean, healthy, happy and fulfilled lives. I need to seek this tribe out. And embrace it.

No3. Find my tribe.

I need to stay physically healthy. I know that a healthy body = a healthy mind. And right now, I do not feel like my physical body is anywhere near what it could be. So I need to focus on health. I need to prioritise exercise. And I need to be consistent with it. Right now, I feel that there is literally nothing more important than getting a few sober months under my belt. My life depends on it. And a key to this is exercise.

So number 4, focus on physical health.

I think there are other things I can do, and will do that will help, keep blogging, read books, be honest to myself etc. And I will do these, but I think the main three things to find my happy, are:

meditation/mindfulness, exercise and find my tribe.

I wasn’t consciously aware of this before I started this writing. So now I feel grateful, focussed and momentarily content 🙂

Now to put it into practice …

 

onwards snd upwards 🙂

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