Thursday, March 27, 2014

Sober Day #149- Alcohol and Kindness

I was in a bookstore yesterday, doing one of my favorite things- taking my time, browsing through all the different sections, looking for new sparks of interest or things to think about.  I bought one really fabulous book Why Olga Runs: about an amateur track and field runner, etc,-  which might seem less than fascinating until you realize she is 91 YEARS OLD-  a new hero for me.

I always look through the alcohol/addiction section.  What struck me yesterday was seeing several books on using kindness to help those trapped in unhealthy relationships with alcohol.    This flies in the face of the typical staged interventions with ultimatums, and the tough love concepts.  But it makes much more sense to me!

When I was drinking, nagging me about it would only make me put up more and thicker defensive walls:  Don't bother me.  Go away.  Leave me alone.  After a number of abortive attempts to moderate my drinking (techniques we are all familiar with:  only two drinks tomorrow night!  No more than one bottle of wine!  Drink only on weekends!)  I was finally again in a mood to change how I drank

This might have ended as all previous moderations had ended- resuming where I left off- had I not found Belle's blog.  And then Mrs. D.'s.  Belle's emphasis on treats (yes, imagine that, treating myself kindly rather than repeatedly bashing myself for being an inadequate person!) and Mrs. D.'s matter-of-fact pleasures of socializing without the protection/stimulus of booze-  these were eye-openers!

Suddenly, I could switch to seeing myself as a good person with an addiction problem to solve, rather than a low-life stupid slacker.  And what a huge difference this makes!!

And so here I am at nearly 5 months without any alcohol, observing, noticing and pondering how my life is changing and shifting, always focusing on today, leaving the big question of 'forever?', out there in the future.  And for today, that is fine.

 


9 comments:

  1. Yes! Leave that "forever" idea out of your life right now!

    I love reading your posts. Isn't it amazing how many of us ladies were/are wine lovers.

    Thank you for your words.

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    2. This community is far better than wine! I wish I'd known that a few decades ago - but I guess things happen as they should, and my experiences including wine excesses make me who I am today...

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  2. Hi Carrie, Great reminder of the importance of being kind to ourselves. I was very shocked when I realised how mean and negative my self talk was. (I was really down on my late mother for her negative messages to me as a kid, but here I was, unconsciously perpetuating that pain.) It was Tara Brach, the psychologist and spiritual teacher, who introduced me to the idea of being actively kind to myself. Felt totally weird at first, but now I'm really into it... I think of it as applying my own oxygen mask first, and then I can move on and help others. xx

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    1. Great analogy, the oxygen mask! I just looked on amazon for Tara Brach, and bought the kindle version of her book! Looks awesome!

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    1. Sorry, we aim to be gender-inclusive!! Excessive alcohol seems to be an equal-opportunity trap, doesn't it!

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  4. Thanks for the book recommendation Carrie - another one to add to my stack! :) xx

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  5. Mood and temperament are definitely key factors in any reception to rehabilitation and treatment. The mandates are objective, but people are a subjective lot, and vary in how they digest ideas. However, there are treatments that are responsive to all. We just have to navigate them well and learn how and when to administer them properly.

    Scott McKinney @ Midwest Institute For Addiction

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I'd love to hear about your journey, and hear your take on my journey. Comments are very welcome!!