Tuesday, 24 July 2012


 “Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines”
- Robert Schuller

In recovery, we have a few slogans which mean certain things.  I have not been well for the last few days, so I thought this one would be fitting.  HALT stands for hungry, angry, lonely and tired – a few instances to look out for because they could lead to negative emotions and maybe even relapse.
In our drinking days, we alcoholics had the tendency to skip meals or not eat at all.  When we start recovery, it is suggested that we try and eat whenever we feel hungry, preferably something sweet as the body starts to crave the sugar that is missing from alcoholic drinks.  Speaking for myself, I have gone from an alcoholic to a chocoholic! 
We also find that our bodies tend to be undernourished from ongoing alcohol intake.  Any good food in the stomach will make us feel better physically. If we are diagnosed with depression or anxiety, we should always eat something first before taking our medication.  Vitamin supplements are suggested to help build up vitality but plenty of water, fruit and vegetables are also necessary.
I know that I bottled up anger inside over the years.  Some people are able to express their anger physically which is not good either.  Resentments are known to be the main cause of relapse in alcoholics.  These issues are examined in the fourth step of the program in detail.  Once we know where we have gone wrong in the past and we learn our character defects, we have the tools to make amends for past hurts and deal with anger and resentments on a daily basis.
If someone says something to us that makes us feel resentful, we must remember that the other person’s behavior or opinion is theirs.  We do not have to react in the same way but rather show forgiveness to that person.  In forgiving others, we learn to cope with our own feelings and in turn love ourselves a little more.  I do not believe in an eye for an eye, but rather turn the other cheek!
I have always felt that I am different – that I don’t really fit.  When I drank with others it changed that perception.  I felt part of the scene and thought I had many friends. But when the party was over and I sobered up, I felt even lonelier than ever.  When you stop drinking, you find out very fast who your friends really are.  They are very few and far between.
Most people who join a recovery program go to face to face meetings.  It is easier to relate to others who know where you have been and how you feel.  It is also suggested to choose a sponsor when you start the steps.  So there is always opportunity to talk to others, give and receive hugs and feel a great sense of belonging.  There is strength in numbers
I do my meetings online as there is not much opportunity here for face to face meetings.  I have met many wonderful people from all over the world but in reality they are just names without a face.  I still have the opportunity of signing onto the internet and chatting to someone when need be.  I do feel a sense of being part of a group and have made a couple of very close online friends.  Fortunately I keep myself busy and I am learning to like my own company.  If loneliness creeps in, I write or read or do something constructive.  The time will come when I feel more secure in socializing normally but for now it's just me, myself and I.  I am content with that.
Insomnia is common when starting recovery.  At first it worried me and I would lie in bed tossing and turning and counting sheep all night.  I have learned that it is better to get up and do something useful rather than get agitated. This is normally when I love to write.  Eventually the body will tell you it is tired and you will sleep well for a good number of hours.  I am in a fortunate position of not having a steady job.  So my hours are my own.  I have also started listening to webinars in the States which are in the early hours of the morning so my sleeping schedule is very disruptive.
When you are tired, that is when you normally feel grumpy and self-pity starts creeping back in.  There is no need to panic and I certainly do not suggest getting sleeping tablets.  I had a bad experience with those in the past.  Rather let nature take its course and you will be back to sleeping regularly after a while – speaking for others of course!
In conclusion, even with life’s little hurdles, one day sober is worth the sum of all my last days drinking.  As Albert Einstein quoted:

“Insanity is:
Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”  

No comments:

Post a Comment