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I just marked the three-month point in my sobriety. I haven’t had a drink since the day before Thanksgiving. But, I found myself dabbling in other behaviors that could be considered self-destructive, and even addictive. That’s the other thing.

In the aftermath and recovery phase of my latest relapse, I am prone to introspection. I slipped off the rails so easily. What happened? How did it happen? Why did I let it happen??

I go through the checklist, as many compulsives do. How can I do better next time?

Was I hungry? I think it best to define the word more broadly in my case. I would say I was hungry. But not for food. I was hungry for stimulation, mental, social, emotional. I was also hungry for guidance, feeling kind of lost, restless, undecided about major aspects of my life. So, yeah. Hungry. I was.

Strategy:  I know all the right things to do here. I just sometimes get overwhelmed with too many choices, opting to numb out online. In these times, I need to make a commitment to actually staying offline, doing more tactile activities, away from the house. I think the new job will help with that.

Was I angry? Maybe. But at myself, for not having “what it takes” to grow my business so I wouldn’t be led to consider closing. I feel like I’m taking a dive. Running back to mama, so to speak. Yeah, it’s humbling. I wish I could have embraced the slow periods, but I just couldn’t.

Strategy: This is a tough one for me. I think being honest with myself is the best way to manage expectations. I need to give up self-blame and be nicer to myself. Tough one.

Was I lonely? Exceptionally isolated. I painted myself into a corner doing  work that kept me alone much of the time. Living with a quiet, self-posessed partner didn’t help things, not that it was his fault. Just circumstances stacking up.

Strategy: I don’t know. I am still a devout introvert only politely engaging in the conventional rituals of society. Again, the job will keep me busy and away from home. Keep my hands from being idle. I will learn to be a better listener. Let others fill my mind with their stories. Try to connect with others socially in the real world. Maybe I will make a friend or two at the new job. I also need to reach out to my partner when I feel lonely. I keep forgetting to do that.

Was I tired? Sometimes. Sometimes I would numb out online when what I really needed was an ounce of pure rest. Maybe even a nap or a meditation session. My loneliness and boredom kept me picking at the keys, looking for even more stimulation…avoiding rest.

Strategy: Learn to discern the difference between fatigue and boredom and when I am actually tired. Stay offline when I don’t actually have something to do there.

The thread, of course, is the online time. Like wandering the streets looking for something to do. Of course I think the new job is the answer to everything. Maybe some of it. But, I know I need to put more time and energy into strengthening my life offline.

All I can say is I will do my best and remember that my best is changing all the time. Take it easy and stay present. That’s the plan.

 

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