Reflection

Time for some self reflection I think. Life has gone a little awry recently. I’ve found myself engaging in a good deal of ‘stinking thinking’ (thanks Collette for this perfect phrase). My sobriety has been really tested, I’ve had periods of huge anxiety and my mood has dipped uncomfortably low on some days. This all seems to have happened during the past month to six weeks and I’m starting to wonder why that might be the case.

The obvious answer would be the antidepressants and the fact that around that time I started to wean off them and have been without them for almost 6 weeks now. My constant deliberation as to whether I should remain med free has come to no conclusion as yet. I don’t want to dwell on the whole antidepressant debate right now. Instead I’m going to look back and reflect on some successes.

  • I have maintained my sobriety for over 8 months now. I didn’t even realise I’d hit 8 months until the day after which in itself is petty crazy, considering I once thought about drinking ALL the time
  • I stepped up to take on a new role temporarily at work. It came with a significant increase in responsibility, leading a medical and surgical team at a time of great stress and anxiety.
  • I have done a good job in leading the team, maintaining our service and now resuming patient care.
  • I have become a yoga addict and since lockdown at the end of March (other than being away for the last week), I have practised at least 5 times a week and sometimes twice a day. I really do enjoy it.
  • I have maintained close friendships and formed new ones that have brought me so much joy and happiness.
  • I have cut ties with old ‘friends’ and people who had a negative effect on my mental health.
  • I have survived social situations that involved some of these people and I did so sober.
  • I have a lovely invisible shield. Granted I forget to use it some days and for a while it’s been stuck at the back of a cupboard BUT I’ve pulled it out, dusted it off and it’s back in action.
  • I have attended a christening in Belfast that involved a stay over and I spent a weekend away with a large group of people to celebrate my brother’s 50th birthday. Both occasions involved people engaging in a lot drinking for a significant amount of time. I enjoyed both events and remained alcohol free.
  • I have become a garden lover and enthusiast, gaining so much pleasure from pottering around and watching my plants and flowers grow.
  • I have realised many new things about myself. I am actually fairly introverted. I enjoy my own company. I can achieve peace and calm inside my mind and body, even if it evades me right now.
  • I have faced my ongoing battle with anxiety and depression and I will continue to find strategies and ways to deal with them when they come knocking. They will not get the better of me.
  • I play online scrabble and enjoy it
  • I have learned that kindness brings all kinds of positivity into my life
  • Eight months on, I am still living my life sober and free.

Looking back I am proud of the things I have achieved. My journey is not just about sobriety. It’s about learning to love myself. It’s about discovering what exciting things life might hold for me. I just need to learn to open my eyes and really see.

“sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tiptoe if you must, but take a step”. Naeem Callaway

Love Claire x

43 thoughts on “Reflection”

  1. Hi Claire! I’m just catching up on your blog. You absolutely should be proud, those positives are great and we don’t reflect enough on how far we have come.
    I’m still on my alcohol journey. I now chose to only drink when I don’t need to, this is so I don’t tie drinking to my emotions. I went to a big event yesterday and chose to drive and I loved it, feel fresh as a daisy today. I never drink if I feel stressed or anxious. It’s a working progress but i actually may have succeeded at moderation but at first I found it as hard as quitting drinking!
    Oh and your caravan experience, I hear you! That’s also us every time we go camping 😆😆
    Lots of love Claire, you are fantastic! Xx

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    1. Hi Emma. Good to hear from you. I realise my times of strong craving are when it’s totally the wrong reason to have a drink. That’s great you have found a balance. I’m not sure I ever will or dare to take the risk. We will see. I plan to go on until a year and then take stock of life and everything. At the moment I need to seriously curb my eating and that is now my focus for the next few months. Healthy choices backed up,with regular exercise. Thanks for the comment xxx

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  2. this is excellent! it seems similar to my own journey as far as timeline goes,difference being that we weren’t dealing with a pandemic then. My hats are off to you! I wish i could say that i have remained sober this month but i have not..been a few times when i have caved…i did well for so long( 15 months) and felt like i had conquered the beast. But this situation here in the U.S. is absolutely morbid and beyond any stress i have ever experienced. So far , i havent really “relapsed” but have had a few instances when i had a bit more than i planned.Yup- a slippery slope indeed. Soon, i am going to have to make a solid decision about the whole thing. Kudos to you for doing so well and focusing on the positive…very encouraging !

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    1. Thanks Lovie. I do feel my sobriety is vulnerable right now. I’m sure that as time goes on you forget the ‘addiction’ to it and wonder why you ever needed to give it up in the first place! X

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  3. Claire, your list of successes are just wonderful and yes you should be very proud. It is a wonder how productive we can actually be when sober, for me I didnt realise how unproductive I was, as it was such a regular pattern! I have done more gardening in the past few months then all the years i have been in my home, and ‘big jobs’ on my list were actually so easy I had to laugh at myself for the procrastination! But yay for you on all your milestones! Mental health is such a journey and so personal for everyone. Each person so different, but you should find peace to know that you are actively seeking the good frame of mind which is already healing you each and every day! Thank you for your blog, it is a comfort share your journey.

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  4. Thank you for sharing this list. I am SO proud of you, reading throughout it. You are competent, committed to your health and personal growth and navigating life with with an open, caring heart. It is so important to remind yourself of these things when life gets difficult. Congratulations on 8 months, sober sister! 💕xx

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    1. Ah Collette it isn’t easy but I realised I’d started heading down the path of the ‘glass is half empty’ and I’d forgotten all the things I have accomplished and achieved. I don’t agree with ‘false’ positivity but to its so important to remind ourselves of the small wins along the way. Thanks for your lovely comment 🥰

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  5. Claire, Good to see you listing all the positives. There’s a theory that for some depression arises from the discrepancy between actual self and an ideal self that can be either yours or others perception of what you could or should be . You list all the positives about your actual self, and what a great list of achievements. If you truly see the discrepancy isn’t there, realise your actual self is pretty fucking awesome maybe the feelings of depression may recede a little? Just a thought x

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    1. That’s a really interesting perspective and is actually why I decided to write the post. I felt like I was looking at everything through a negative lens and I wanted to put down some stuff that I have achieved and that has gone well. As I was writing I thought, wow Claire, you are doing ok actually and have a lot to be proud of and grateful for. I need to find a way to switch to the positive lens sometimes. That’s not always so easy to do. Thanks for the comment Jim, really good to have advice and ideas. Claire xx

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  6. Wow! You are really kicking ass on your goals and really getting to know yourself! So awesome! I read your list before work this morning and then again now. I couldn’t be happier for you! Your hard work sure if paying off! ❤️ I am thinking I should try yoga. Have any suggestions for a starting point?

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    1. I downloaded an app called ‘daily yoga’. It was recommended in top 20 apps for lockdown in an article I read. There’s lots on there you get fit free. It does ask you to subscribe but you don’t have to. They have beginners programmes and that’s what I started with. After a month I download full years subscription which is about £4 per month and I’ve used it daily. There’s guided meditation on it too and play around a bit and you find loads of variety.

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  7. This is from your 5 day sober post, Claire: “I gave up alcohol on 17th November 2019. This is my 5th day and I have no idea how I will get on.”

    I’ll say it… you’ve gotten on frickin fantastically💫. I’m so happy for you and very very very proud of you🤗

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  8. Hi Claire! Sorry I was away on holiday for a few days. I was SO HAPPY to get back and read this post. All these achievements are HUGE and the mere fact of writing them all down and acknowledging them here really gives them so much substance and power and brings the to the foreground in a way that our pessimistic minds don’t always do as we skim over the positive so easily. Congratulations on 8 months, that is HUGE. You’ve come such a long way! I hope you are really proud of yourself 🙂 xxx Anne

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    1. How was the holiday? Did you manage to relax? I’m going to do the keto for 30 days and then see what I think. The one I have been reading about does a cycling keto approach after 30 days where you have more carbs. I feel I need to do something very drastic to break the high sugar and carb habit I have created … due to not having wine I think. I’ll see how I get on. I am feeling petty proud to be honest xxx

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