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