The Parts That Work
I caught myself in a self-sabotage this morning.
Over the past few days I have lucked into a routine that working. As a girl who requires a lot of sleep (!), and being someone who routinely finds herself trying to function on not enough sleep, I read something this weekend and it spurred me to really take some action. Like for real.
So starting on Sunday night (and again on Monday and Tuesday), I did the following:
- Turn off computer at 9 pm.
- Go for a walk outside in the fresh air somewhere I’ve been before so that it’s pretty routine. No ipod, no music, no phone. Just head out in one direction for 15 minutes and then turn and come home. Use this time to think about the day. The Parts That Worked and the Parts That Could Be Fine-Tuned.
- Come home and go straight to bed at 9:30 pm. Don’t stop to do anything.
- Get into bed, no book. I have turned on the pink fairy lights in the bedroom before I left for my walk.
- Now that I’m in bed with the pink lights, no book, I can just rest. Looking around.
- Asleep by 10 pm. I then sleep for (no kidding) 9 or 9.5 hours straight.
- Get up whenever I wake, which today was 7 a.m.
- No computer. Run first thing (even if only for 10 minutes which is my magic amount to feel better).
- Home to shower, make coffee, eat breakfast, write 2 pages of morning pages.
- No TV while eating lunch (I’ve been reading instead).
- No sweets during the day (lots of apples and raisins), saving dessert for after dinner. I had gotten into the habit of having dessert with lunch and dinner (!)
- Turn off computer at 9 pm.
- Repeat 🙂
This particular routine has given me the best, even moods since … forever. This isn’t a magic cure-all formula, but it’s working really well for me. At least this week. I’m also symptom-free on new medication but only for the past 3 days. Coincidence? How much of my general well-being is linked to self-care? Probably a lot more than I’m willing to admit. How important is enough sleep so that I feel competent the next day? Huge.
So here’s the self-sabotage. You do this too, right?
Remember, I’ve found something that’s really working for me (like in early sobriety, reading lots of blogs, emailing penpals, removing ourselves from temptation, going to meetings, whatever).
But because Mr. B. was up with me at 7 a.m. this morning, he made coffee.
I usually make coffee after I run, after I shower.
But once he had made the coffee already, my brain went like this:
Oh look there’s coffee, I can just skip my routine today. I don’t have to do this whole thing today. I can have sugar for breakfast – how about banana bread and coffee right now? And some coffee right now. Just skip the run. Skip the sugar before dinner thing. Yeah that sounds amazing. I’m sure it’ll be fine.
And RIGHT when i started to think like this, i thought holy this is just like early sobriety. We get a mini-routine going, we figure out what is working. And instead of doing more of the same, we often immediately start to pitch the parts that are working.
In favour of what? In favour of the unknown?
Sure a bit of adventure is fun. Change things up a bit.
But if the goal on my nightly walk was to review the Parts That Work and fine-tune the other parts, nowhere in there would it make logical sense to toss the parts that work.
You’re newly sober for 10 days. You think “I’m good. I don’t have to follow this so carefully. It’s been really easy for me. (Or the hard part is over already.) Maybe today I’ll go have lunch in a bar and order water.”
So that’s when it hits me. Just because we know what will make us feel better (my sleep routine / implementing sober tools) doesn’t mean we actually do them. We fuck ourselves up all the time. All. The. Time.
Did I have to drink coffee because it was there? No.
Do you have to meet your girlfriends for drinks on a Friday night at 9 pm in a club? No, you don’t. Can you maybe get by and survive? Sure. Maybe you can.
But why fuck with something that’s already working.
Being happily sober is kind of a fragile thing in the beginning. Sort of like being happily symptom-free and sleeping well is for me right now.
Did I drink the coffee?
Nope 🙂 I went for my run. Came home and showered. Did my morning pages. Had coffee after. No banana bread. yet.
am i a moralizing preaching wannabe? maybe. but i’m writing to myself. and my message to me is “for fuck’s sake, stop fucking with things that are already working ‘just to see what happens’ … there’s no great benefit in finding where the edge of the cliff is. Lest you fall off.”