Sometimes I feel very pessimistic about the world, and the only way I feel I can keep sane is by acting where I can. It might be as small as a donation to a person I want elected, or to a non-profit I support. The act of doing something helps, even in a little way, rather than just getting angry and doing nothing.
I used to have resentment about so many things and people I had no control over, such as animal abusers and terrorists. I learned that just getting angry didn’t change a thing. I needed to act.
I have no control over so many things. The one thing I can control is not taking a first drink.
As I slowly come up to 4 years and 11 months, I realize that the number of days or years does not mean I will never have a slip or a relapse if I am not careful.
The things that are helping me today, are honesty, volunteering in area of recovery, supportive people, being aware of my thinking, self-compassion, and gratitude.
Today I told a friend I wanted to have a drink when I was 80. She said I need to eat a whole cherry pie instead. I probably will choose Moose Tracks ice cream, but it was good to share that thought with her. It’s hard for Mr. UT to hear that I have thoughts of drinking pop up now and then. I need to keep honest, however, so I don’t start hiding those thoughts.
Volunteering at Steve Rummler Hope Network, making kits with Narcan/Naloxone, is a cornerstone of my recovery. Most people I meet there are in recovery, or have had children who are in recovery. Some people have had children who have passed away due to overdosing on opioids. I have such a deep connection with these people. A few people just volunteer because they want to help! We share stories, but laugh a lot! We are happy because we are living and helping other people. I am amazed at the parents who can still smile even after losing a child. I learn how to be resilient, and how to live with grief.
My Twitter friends in the #recoveryposse, my real life friends, my family, my husband and my AA buddies all help support me. In fact, I know I have many people I could text at a moment’s notice to get help if I needed! I also reach out to other people, knowing they might need a kind word.
My thoughts are not always true, and so to question them is important. If I feel frumpy, or unloved, I have to challenge those thoughts. Are they really true? Many times they are not. (Like asking Mr. UT if I look old. He always says, no!! Smart man! LOL) Drinking thoughts come, and I blow them away. Like the wind, thoughts come and go.
When I started learning about self-compassion with a wonderful therapist when I was going deaf, and during my first cochlear implant, I realized just how hard I was on myself. Being your own best friend sounds corny, but it is important to my mental health as well as keeping sober. I had to learn to forgive myself for not being perfect. I had to realize I was loved.
When I first started getting sober, I was still stuck in a victim mentally. It was hard for me not to feel sorry for myself, wish I could travel like some of my friends, wish I was somebody I wasn’t. Wishing I could still hear music. Slowly, starting with a gratitude journal, reading other people’s stories, I started to change my thinking to one of all that I have. Not all that I lack. This has been one of the most life-affirming habits, that has made me, my marriage, and everyone around me happier. I work on this daily, however, as it is easy to start grumbling again.
Just today I am not drinking. I am loving and living.
With a cup of coffee or ice cream,
On Day 1781,
PS – I am healing nicely and got to play a round of golf today! Mr. UT and I traveled by car to see some of my family and visit Chicago for several days. We had so much fun!