Yesterday I celebrated twelve months sobriety of this, my second shot at recovering. I spent a lovely day with my youngest offspring and my boyfriend, received flowers, gifts, cards and a whole bunch of wonderful messages from a whole bunch of wonderful people who have all shared with me in this incredible twelve months. I am appreciating you all.
It has indeed been the very best year of my life. EVER. FACT.
In all fairness, this time it’s very much for real. It feels more real, I’m experiencing far more clarity and I’m so much more committed to the divorce from alcohol than ever I was that initial separation.
Imagine my surprise, therefore, when drinking thoughts entered my mind earlier this week.
Before you all jump to the edge of your seats and await a tale of woe and before my phone starts bleeping off the scale with messages of concern, I really need you to know that I’m about as close to drinking as I am to completing my marathon challenge in under two hours. No; really!
However, it also needs to be said that this can be a fairly difficult subject to even discuss, let alone write about. Funnily enough, it isn’t actually a subject that’s so difficult for me; it is more that it seems to be challenging for the audience, who quite rightly, become concerned when such matters are brought into the open. Bearing that in mind, I thought long and hard before deciding to publish this entry; predominantly because I do not wish to worry any of my readers about my state of mind.
I hope you all know by now; I got this.
Onto the drinking thoughts. It has to be said that I had a right old shitty week. It was no great drama; just a shitty week spent arguing with the gas provider, going without heat, greeting a flat tyre when I needed to be on a training course and discovering my locking wheel nut missing yada, yada, yada. Yeah, just general life shit and nothing special. Much like most other humans of this planet, I simply did not want to feel the way I was feeling. I was irritable, touchy, short-tempered, not to mention cold and not very properly fed for the days I didn’t have gas.
I think it goes without saying that my brain is somewhat hard-wired to engage system ‘alcohol’ as the go-to prescription for ailment ‘change the way I feel please’. It perhaps similarly goes without saying that it may take quite some time for that hard-wiring to soft-wire over to an alternative prescription.
Long after the drinking thoughts had been left in a bowl of ice-cream, I began to fully explore what it is that now makes me not drink. What on earth has changed me from the person who, on such similar occasions, would have taken great pleasure in self-prescribing three bottles of wine?
We all know that truth exists in the notion ‘this too shall pass’ and I’m not unveiling any fresh, earth-shattering universal truths in discussing ‘the spaces in between’. However, I have found great clarity in fully appreciating these at this time.
Consider this for just a moment; HOW many steps might exist between the moment of the thought in my head and the moment at which I might actually take a drink? If you have a pen and paper at hand, why not even go ahead and make that list?
I’ve had quite a lot of fun this past few days writing and re-writing the list; adding more and more steps; creating more and more space in between the thought and the action.
It has been a wonderful revelation for me to embrace just how deeply rooted my recovery is in these spaces in between and that strengthening each and every one of those steps is my daily groundwork. Not so revealing, but as interesting, is appreciating just how many other aspects of life we can use to adopt the very same analogy.
Your goal for this week, should you chose to accept it, is to consider your own life challenges and to maybe try a little harder to stay in the space in between.
Are you struggling to lose weight and always reaching for the biscuits? Write your own list of the number of steps required between thinking about wanting the biscuit and actually eating it. I might even place a bet that you will have forgotten that you wanted the biscuit by the time the list is finished?!
Are you struggling with a difficult relationship and facing routine arguments? Why not try and spend some time in the space in between before firing back your reaction in an argument. This couldn’t be more relevant in our millennium world where text replies are fired off at the push of a button and often little to no consideration is given to even what has been written. I’d like to guess that by simply exercising a little more caution in the space that exists before the ‘fireback’, you may find yourself existing with a little more peace and harmony.
‘what makes a fire burn
is the spaces between the logs;
a breathing of space.
Too much of a good thing,
too many logs
packed in too tight
can douse the flames
almost as surely
as a pint of water’