Day 48: Pausing for thought

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.

Mahatma Gandhi

Some days I experience harmony. Some days I don’t. What the last 48 days has taught me, though, is that I never experience harmony when I ‘medicate’ with something.

Alcohol was a tool, a crutch, a habit, whatever you want to call it. I used it to numb emotions, I used it to feel better, to celebrate, commiserate, relax, you name it.

In exchange for giving it up, I’ve been given far greater access to my thoughts and feelings – but I haven’t yet developed all the skills I need to cope with them.

I’m anxious today and I’m struggling with it. Instead of simply sitting with the feelings, I’ve eaten my way through half a bag of Maltesers, some leftover birthday cake, crisps and a couple of truffles from Valentine’s Day. I am ‘medicating’ with sugar. Something has tripped an emotional switch and I’m running an old, unproductive pattern of behaviour.

Stopping to write this offers me a chance to pause for thought, to interrupt the pattern and address whatever is driving it. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been trying to do it all and have it all but I haven’t been following my own advice. I’ve just piled one thing on top of the other, not considering the impact on my energy, my focus or my stress levels. Now it’s catching up with me and I’ve reverted to an old behaviour.

The difference this time is that I’ve caught it. Not that long ago, days like this would send me into a tailspin that could last for weeks. I’d constantly berate myself and end up feeling so bad I’d medicate to feel better again.

My skills of spotting and interrupting the pattern are gradually getting stronger and I’ve learned to let these things take the time they need instead of scolding myself for not being able to change instantly.

I choose to focus on my progress and my commitment to the end goal. The rest will take care of itself one step at a time.

Photo by Caleb George on Unsplash

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