I’m writing this at the end of the weekend and it’s been a nice weekend with no dips in mood or sense of missing out. Hooray! It’s just C and me at home this week. My daughters have been here on and off the last few months which has been lovely but maybe having some space and more time to myself has helped?
I’ve been thinking about time quite a lot lately. What we do with it; how we perceive it and how that’s changed for me since I stopped drinking nearly 150 days ago. That’s a long time in some ways and a drop in the ocean of my whole lifetime too.
One of the things I’ve noticed is that I’ve slowed things down a lot. I’m more inclined to take my time. I’m not in so much of a rush to finish whatever it is I’m doing and move on to the next thing. If I’ve got something to finish off at work I stay and do it. Take my time walking the dogs at the weekend. In some ways I was living life as a series of tasks to be completed – in order to what? I’m beginning to realise that the what was to drink, or rather get drunk and ‘relax’. Other parts of the day rushed through to get to the drinking part. Never fully present as part of my mind was occupied by the alcohol gremlin’s whinging. Not consciously but that inner restlessness and inability to fully relax into what I’m doing has more or less gone now.
I really noticed this on holiday with my girls a couple of months ago. We took our time doing things, savouring the moments, and I realised that on previous trips I’d always got half a mind on when we would have a drink. It was the best holiday we’ve ever had together. I was relaxed and fully present like a non addicted person! One of the biggest motivators for not drinking is how my relationship with both of them has improved since I stopped drinking. They’ve been so supportive I really don’t want to let them down.
Another reason time changes when you stop is that not drinking means learning new habits and rituals and keeping to them; whilst processing old and new emotions; re-evaluating your past, your present, your future (I might not die of liver failure now so what’s the plan for when I’m old kind of thing). All this mental work takes time; needs time – lots of it.
The time freed up from not drinking of course can seem like too much time at first . It can be hard to fill with new activities and new routines – the first part of the task.
For the whole re-evaluation part I think we need time to just be, to think, to process. Making time to write this blog is a big part of that for me.
I’ve also noticed that taking my time with life generally has created a space to properly notice things; what makes me feel happy, makes me laugh but also what irritates or angers me and how I react.
I’m slowly learning that I can pause, take a little time for some rational thought and then choose how I want to react. When I’m busier and more time pressured I don’t do this so well. I didn’t do it very well when oscillating between hungover and drunk either. I’m noticing what I’m telling myself and what emotions that leads to and I can check it and question it. I’m less inclined to get caught up in someone else’s downward spiral thinking as well. I’m in control of my mind more of the time but I have to take it slow. I’m still learning.
I saw this posted by a friend last night after I’d been writing. ‘That’s it!’ I thought. I’m taking time to heal.