Recovery doesn’t just mean not drinking – it has meant an entire shift in how I approach life. In essence, I guess the most prominent feature is how I no longer run or hide and instead face life head on and accept living my life on life’s terms, not my own. Glancing here (I don’t think it can be avoided, but then why should it?) at AA’s 12 steps, it once again illustrates how I believe these steps are what organically happens when you accept that you need to make a change. For me, it’s about living in a way that is very much centred on doing the next right thing, living according to a better standard.
There are little things that I approach differently, that is at direct odds with how I approached things before. Yesterday was run day. I didn’t feel like it and it would have been so much easier to just… …not. But I know in my heart that running is such a huge part of my self care. It has HUGE benefits and makes an enormous difference to how I feel inside and out. Not only does it mean my heart is happy along with my lungs, muscles, blood circulation and burning off energy, it also leaves me full of happy endorphins and a sense of accomplishment. If I’d not gone yesterday – it was SHIT, by the way, each step was heavy and I struggled to catch my breath – I would have ended up feeling I-should-have and then guilt too. Instead, I pulled myself together and as rubbish a run as it was, I ran the whole way and felt so virtuous afterwards. I chomped down a MacDonald’s large meal with zero guilt, which was Bambino’s dinner request when he got back from a weekend at his dad’s.
It’s all about doing things right, the way I see it. Balance, really.
Another little thing is washing my face before bed. I never used to. I’d pass out drunk in full black-out and just shower in the mornings (crouching, of course). Now it’s something I take pride in and something that makes me feel really good. It’s self care, being kind to myself and looking after myself. It’s treating myself like I really matter. Putting on quality face creams and serums to make my skin happy – sure, there’s a large dose of vanity in there, but mostly it’s about treasuring myself.
Whilst I on occasion have a MacDonald’s with Bambino, I mostly ensure I eat well. These days I ensure I put into action how I love me. It’s not just thoughts or statements, I do for myself what I would do for anyone I love. Like I take care to serve up dinners for my family that I know they’ll love with the best ingredients, I now also treat myself with the same care and affection. I’ve always made sure Bambino has his greens and fruit for the same reason, wanting for him to be as healthy and well as possible, and in recovery I treat myself and my body the same way.
Life in recovery is for me the present moment and doing the next right thing. Sometimes the next right thing feels like hard work, but I make myself do it because I know there’s great reward. Skipping a run may feel easier for a short moment, a short lived reward at avoiding working a little harder just then. But putting in that bit of extra work generates a solid and much bigger pay-off that has great impact on my well being.
Well. Time to carpe the lovely mid-January diem now. Off to see Wifey and later on make sure I’m prepared for tomorrow’s exam. Hubby is off to Sweden for a few days with work and Bambino is grounded due to a combination of messing around at school and behaving pretty poorly. Life on life’s terms.
And life is fucking beautiful. I wouldn’t change a thing, even when I have to roll with the punches. Hubby away – boo. Bambino misbehaving – boo. Exam – I nearly said ‘boo’ there too, but even though it’s a little stressful I actually love academic work and as geeky as it is, I’m looking forward to it. I’ve got this.
There’s one thing amongst life’s punches that never fails to fill me with boundless joy, however:
Today I’m not going to drink.