I realise that, until quite recently, I didn’t trust myself. Why would I? I repeatedly made promises to myself and failed to keep them so there was little reason to believe in myself when I set goals or vowed I was going to change a habit.
Drinking was no exception. Granted, on three occasions I did “Sober for October” or some other dry month but holy hell, those months were ROUGH! The only reason I made it all the way to the end was because I made very public declarations on Facebook. I made those declarations precisely because I knew they would lock me in a little bit tighter and increase my odds of success. Of course, subliminally…”I don’t trust you. You need to shame yourself into sticking with this or you’ll give up,” was the message I repeatedly sent myself.
Last year I didn’t tell anyone and I didn’t make it all the way to the end of the month. Looking back now though, I see a significant difference between my previous and current efforts and it has a lot to do with trusting myself.
That trust is building because I have started making an effort to build a relationship between my mind and my body. That sounds weird, I know. I call it “Team You” – turning the conscious mind, the subconscious mind and the body into a team.
I knew about the mind-body connection before but it wasn’t until I started thinking about it more in terms of things I already understood that things began to fall into place. In my corporate training, a large chunk of my work centred on helping people build trust so that they created an environment that allowed all of them to do their best work. About a month ago, while I was practicing the Wim Hof Method, it suddenly hit me…I need to create that sort of environment inside myself – so my conscious mind can do its best thinking, my subconscious mind can do its best programming and my body can function optimally. As things stood, my mind and my body didn’t actually know each other that well – they simply didn’t know how to communicate with one another and certainly didn’t trust each other.
In all kinds of situations, communication between these three ‘entities’ failed. I dampened emotions with food and drink. I overrode pain or fatigue in an effort to achieve some other goal. I pushed, ignored, shut out and squashed whatever didn’t fit.
Where wine is concerned, there were nights when I’d think, ‘”ugh. I don’t fancy a glass of wine” but I’d force myself to have it because otherwise “I won’t get any ‘me time'”. That lack of relationship between my mind and body meant I didn’t really know how to relax, recharge or rejuvate. The whole system was disconnected. When one part of me wanted to drink and another part didn’t, there was this massive internal kerfuffle and it often just felt easier to give in than to keep the fight going.
Now, things are finally changing. Although I have a ton of work still to do to build that relationship, there is a willingness, a curiosity between mind and body. I have a long way to go to strengthen the relationship but I’m at the point of recognising the things that put up walls between them and make it all the more difficult to experience that connection. It’s the first time in my adult life when I’m abstaining from alcohol with anything resembling willingness and it feels so much better than all the fighting and pushing and mental beatings I took in the past.