Day 50: Ten lessons from the halfway mark

Fifty days behind me. Fifty days ahead of me. It seems the perfect day to stop and reflect on the things I’ve learned so far.

  1. Each of my past failures contributed something to this success. I learned a little each time and if I had spent more time working out what the lessons were, rather than beating myself up, I might have come to this point sooner.
  2. When there is something you want more than the thing you’re giving up, it’s easier to withstand the cravings.
  3. One of my biggest mistakes in the past was to fight my cravings or try not to have any cravings. It’s not about eradicating cravings and negative feelings, it’s about accepting them as a natural part of the process and carrying on anyway.
  4. A thought can’t make you drink.
  5. Having hobbies helps occupy my mind when I get ‘twitchy’. Anything that can draw your attention away from the cravings for a few moments makes you notice them less and less.
  6. Writing helps. Seeing the patterns in thoughts, moods and reasons for drinking has helped me understand the role of alcohol in my life. Knowing that has helped me work out how to free myself for good.
  7. Nothing lasts. The lows pass. The highs pass. The cravings pass. It’s all temporary. I am learning to enjoy the ups and pay attention to them so the lows don’t feel as long or as large – and when they hit, I remind myself that they, too, will pass.
  8. It’s easier to shut up the doubting voice in your head when you talk about your success as though it’s a done deal. It helped me trust myself to get it done.
  9. Looking back at how far you’ve come is a great little motivator and it also helps to keep reminding yourself of why you’re so committed to succeeding.
  10. Learning to be ok with discomfort was one of the most valuable things I did. I take a daily cold shower and every day as I turn the water cold, it shocks me but within seconds I am calm. I’m pretty sure this practice is what has helped me get through the discomfort of any cravings I’ve had.

I’m not sure I’d have picked up on all of these lessons if not for this blog. The discipline of writing it has helped me stay strong and kept me from questioning my decision to stay alcohol free for 100 days.

When I’ve had bad days, I’ve thought, “This might make for an interesting post!” Instantly it made the situation more bearable – and also made me reflect on what I was feeling and why.

Writing has helped me let go of some of those feelings too – I would sit down at the keyboard agitated and tense but a short while after starting, I would feel more at ease. And let’s face it, when you’re giving up a habit you’ve had for over two decades, anything that puts you at ease is blooming marvellous!

Photo by Helloquence on Unsplash

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