when you feel itchy and shitty, and wolfie is yelling ‘maybe now, what about now, how about now?’ you KNOW you don’t want to give into the voice or else you create the candy in the grocery store syndrome.
but as that rumble of feeling crappy builds, we cannot think of what to do. our favourite coping strategy (Alcohol! The Solution and the Cause To All of Life’s Problems!) has been removed.
you think: what would a parent do for a temper tantrum wielding 3-year old. they’d distract, offer something, suggest not now but maybe later, and move attention to something else. put on a sock puppet. blow bubbles. something else to look at, to think about.
you think: what would a parent do for a sad (“but mom, none of my friends like me”) 9-year old. They’d suggest that you have pancakes for dinner, perhaps even as a picnic in the backyard. Let’s make a tent and ‘camp’ for dinner. Nine year old is unimpressed. Mom shifts tacks. She doesn’t give up. She doesn’t try the same thing again. She tries different. You go and have a bath with big bubbles (you can use some of my special mommy lavender sfuff) and then we’ll make hot chocolate, and you can teach me how to navigate that next level in the Live Action Thriller with Cupcakes video game (clearly not my generation). You want me to braid hair like Jan on the Brady Bunch (that’s more like it). Oh and sweetie, remember when you hear the words “none or always or all or never or forever or nothing” in your head, then it’s not true. It’s not that NONE of your friends like you. It’s one bitchy uptight girl you’d be better off ignoring. It’s not that you’ll feel crappy FOREVER, it’s that you’re having a moment that honestly if we timed it with my old fashioned clicky stopwatch (none of this digital shit), you’d see that your crappiness lasts less than 1.5 hrs at the worst of times, and is usually done in the space of minutes.
and yes. inside of you right now, there is perhaps a 3-year old or a 9-year old. in fact, the “drink now” voice may alternate between the two voices, looking for purchase. it will yell “why can’t I, you’re mean, this is unfair, I want a doughnut right now” (age 3) and if that doesn’t work it’ll flip to “this is always going to be hard, I will never feel better, nothing improved when I got sober, my life is still ALL shit” (age 9).
apply strategies above as appropriate. repeat as necessary. if hot chocolate worked yesterday, it may work today. if it doesn’t, then move to hair braiding.