My first instinct: “I’ll feel like doing it tomorrow”
some days i wake up and think that my dreams are not realistic. i’m not going to achieve what i want, so why bother trying. i’ll just start my day with a bagel + cream cheese, i’ll skip my run, wear my pjs until mid afternoon.
[some days i think that sobriety isn’t realistic. i’m not going to be one of those success stories on belle’s blog, so why bother trying. i’ll just start drinking at noon, have more after lunch, plan where to eat tonight based on the booze selection, fall asleep on the couch again.]
some days i wake up and it’s sunny, i’ve had enough sleep, i get right into my spandex and am out the door before I check my email. some days i eat quinoa and dried cranberries for breakfast, work away productively on my piles of things. I search online catalogs for imaginary furniture for my imaginary café. I listen to inspiring podcasts (TAL). I clean the living room windows. I empty my inbox before bed.
[some days i wake up and i think today’s the day, i’m going to be sober today. I really am. I do some yoga or go for a run. I read things that support me – online blogs – books. I have sparkling water with my lunch, I plan my replacement drink for dinner. I don’t put myself in any weirdly tempting situations, i just focus on today and do what needs to be done. I listen to inspiring podcasts (like belle’s, ha!) I change the sheets on my bed as a self-care treat.]
Yes, there are Down days and there are Up days. But most days i wake up somewhere in between. I’m not excited, but i’m not depressed. I’m not really motivated, but i’m out of bed so that’s a start. It’s not sunny but at least it’s not pouring rain. I don’t really have any rose-coloured momentum but i haven’t ground to a halt either.
‘I’ll just wait till tomorrow when i feel like it’
My first instinct is to wait until tomorrow, hoping it’ll be an Up day. “I’ll do this tomorrow when I feel like it.”
But really, there are things I can do now to fix this day, to improve it. I can start right now.
you’re going to laugh but that’s ok. here’s what i do. I cut up some small slips of paper. I write one task on each. Some tasks need more than one 25-minute session (for me, that’s my emails). And the slips of paper change based on the day… I decide on 12 bits of paper (representing 6 hrs). I put them in an envelope. I set the online timer to 25 minutes. I pull out one of the pieces of paper. I do that thing. When the timer goes off, i pull out a new piece of paper, and I do that thing for 25 minutes.
[most days when I wake up feeling in between, I decide i’m going to jumpstart my sober success. I make some tasks, and then I do them one by one UNTIL I FEEL BETTER. My pieces of paper might say: read blog, listen to audio, reach out, journal, take a bath, cry, go to bed, read, write a letter from my future-self to my today-self.]
Even if i don’t feel like it, using pieces of paper with a timer makes it into a game. I like the randomness of the tasks. I like the fact that there’s no right order. I really like the fact that the task will end in 25 minutes and then I can do something else.
Some days I do 12 pieces of paper (6 hrs), some days I only do 3 hrs. Some days I don’t need this at all. You can’t put “eat lunch” on the list, because it might not come up until 5 pm. But if you’re a stay-at-home mom, you can put: laundry and fold clothes, clean, read, food prep, go outside, clean, laundry, read, sober podcasts while exercising, watch bad tv.” And if you’re at the office, you can put “professional reading, email inbox, planning for future strategies, return phone calls, write draft of report, sober podcast while filing.”
really large realization: when i draw the ‘clean’ piece, i go into the first room and just start tidying everything, then i go to the next room and start in one corner and work my way out. What’s AMAZING to me is that i don’t resent doing it, i never think “this is my husband’s stuff” or “I should save some of this for him to do when he gets home.” Something about the timer and the finiteness is enough for me to just barrel through it, seeing how much i can get done before the timer goes off. It’s like i’m 9 years old. (Which really, I am.)
I guess I’m talking to myself today.
You don’t have to wait to feel like it. You can make it into a game with pieces of paper and a timer. Your brain just isn’t that smart.