…I’m Keeping My Eyes on It
I have spent the first three weeks of 2019 talking to you guys about change in different settings; from boosting your health and feel-good, to cleaning up messes and how to turn dreams into actual hardcore goals.
Then shit hit the fan and guess what I did?
I forgot all of my own good advice for just exactly long enough to slip with the cigarettes and going back to old habits of trying to numb pain with excessive amounts of alcohol.
It goes without saying that this wasn’t really what I planned for when we crossed over to 2019 on January 1st – but rarely does life grant us the things we expect or prepare for.
So, where to go from here? Can anyone take me seriously now that I’ve slipped? Will my words lose their weight, now that a darker and less “together” side of me threw itself into broad daylight?
What Does the Rabbit Think?
When I woke up this morning it was my first morning in eights days of smoking, that I was without those beastly white things. So I decided to make myself a plateful of healthy snacks for breakfast. It was 3 carrots, half a cucumber, one apple, one banana and an handful of raisins – oh, and a bottle of water rather than coffee (don’t worry, I had my coffee at 7am after feeding the greedy furballs, so I’m not going completely hippie-kay-yay on ya!) – I figured that this would give me a bit of a boost and, you know, that feel of: “yeah, awesome, I got this – who even cares about cigarettes”.
Instead it left me feeling like a genetically modified rabbit with huge tantrums, stomping the ground as I was hanging up the laundry and cursing at every item that wouldn’t hang straight….with a little bit of “healthy” on the side! I said “a little bit”!
Nevertheless, this little gen-mod of a rodent is very well aware that this was a set back. And when I have set backs, I start analyzing, trying to figure out what happened. You see, the death of my father-in-law can’t cover it. What I found myself in, was a mix of financial stress, worries about one of the cats that might not make it out of 2019, the death – but also being and feeling alone, with no one to talk to or hug, keeping me grounded, essentially making my brain spin off its rails.
We learn from set backs. And so did I.
I learned a lot of things.
Some of the more important things are the answers to the questions I asked just before:
So, where to go from here?
Can anyone take me seriously now that I’ve slipped?
Will my words lose their weight, now that a darker and less “together” side of me threw itself into broad daylight?
The answers being:
One step forward, one step at the time!
Seriously, it doesn’t matter – not to anyone who got what I was sayng in the first place!
My words will be the same, because essentially while everything changed, nothing changed at all.
I didn’t change!
My brain, my mind, my psyche is and has always been a battlefield, with wins and losses. This strike was one out of many, and all this is, is a ceasefire until the next attack of the clones.
Ultimately I can deal with it, because I am used to it.
I know the drill.
Counting the fallen, who’s still standing, how does our food supplies look like and taking note of what I have learned about the Clone Army.
Did they reveal a weak spot in their line up?
Does the surroundings offer shelter for an ambush?
It may sound like some multiple personality disorder, but it’s really just my mind, visualizing my subject, because it allows me to be more objective.
Think about it this way:
When you have a problem you can’t figure out, someone comes around saying: “What would you advice your best friend to do?” – and suddenly you know the answer!
I just visualize a Clone Army instead!
You see, I have been making so much progress lately, that I forgot to keep my safety cards in mind. So when I went into grief, all the things that I once put down on little cards, things to remember when things get rough, all of that was no longer up front in my brain. I forgot to pull the cards out, like I usually do. I forgot to talk – properly – to someone. I forgot the need of hugs. The need of company. I forgot the medication I can take in emergencies. I forgot my soothing mechanisms, like e.g. tangles and puzzles.
But more importantly – I forgot that I three months ago gave myself the job to figure out how to cope in healthier ways than cigarettes and booze.
Because things were going great!
Keeping the Eye on the Ball
One thing, the most important thing was re-learning that bad habits never really leave. As I told you in my Dry January post, I was never really “re-programmed” to deal with emotions in any other way, leaving a door slightly open for the bad habits to enter at will. The important thing is that those habits should never reach any further than the hallway before you kick their asses out again.
Maybe you can’t keep out the intruders – but you can keep a baseball bat under your bed and cover the hallway floor in mouse traps.
Contemplating for too long on the fact that I slipped, would be counter-productive – and quite honestly besides the point!
It doesn’t matter that for 8 days I was a smoker again.
It matters immensely that for those 8 days I knew that VERY soon I’d haul their beige filter derriers out of my house again. I knew that once over the funeral and giving myself a few days to settle, that smoking again would be a thing of the past. And sticking to it!
Not that it’s easy, though. 3 months of nicotine cleanliness, 8 days of weakness, and I found myself right back where I started. Pissed, annoyed, angry and short-tempered. Why bother? Oh, the hours I have spent thinking about buying a new pack, because it seems so much easier. To be honest, I couldn’t even promise you it wouldn’t happen. But like any other change in life that brings a few set backs to your door step, it’s about keeping the eye on the ball. About reminding myself that I’d actually rather NOT smoke. That I’d rather NOT be binge-drinking my sorrows to oblivia.
I want a healthier and stronger life for myself – and quite honestly, at the age of 40, I’m beginning to feel like I’ve bloody earned it too. So I am re-reading my own advice from my latest “No Smoking Field Report”, I am reminding myself that I deserve better than what cigarettes and alcohol has to offer.
Translating the Rabbit
So having rambled a bit with pieces of carrot between my teeth while the coffee got cold, maybe it’s time I tried to make a little bit of sense. What I am really trying to say is – we have just passed New Year. A lot of us has made ourselves some promises – things we’d like to change, things we’d like to achieve.
Some of us are off to a great start. And some of us are struggling and maybe even in a sharp turn, loosing control of the vehicle, we are driving.
In moments like that, we must keep our heads cool. Remember back when we took our drivers license and practised manouvering a car on ice? If you panic, things go bad – if you keep your head cool, you ease on the breaks and gas and softly hold the stearing wheel in opposite direction – well, that was then, actually. Today, it depends on the features of your car, such as an ESC system. In that case you gently point the wheel in the direction you want to go…..
I’m drifting off topic: the point is that panic doesn’t do anyone any good.
So if you have slipped in your endeavor, whether it’s eating healthier, exercising more, being more structured with your blog or get a good house-cleaning routine…, acknowledge and accept that you’ve slipped.
You can’t change what happened anyways – you DO however influence how you want to face tomorrow. If you are able to, and if there is a reason at all, try to identify what happened, preferably without too much blame.
Think of it this way:
…if your best friend had a wish to exercise more and she one day embarressed told you, that she hadn’t been to the gym in two weeks and she felt like a failure – what would you do?
You’d encourage her to forget about the slip and tell her to go to the gym tomorrow instead.
If you are a really good friend, you might even offer to join her to get her off to a good re-start.
There is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t get the same kind of support. So if you slipped, cut yourself some slack – all it really means is that you are human, rather than a robot.
How has 2019 treated you so far?
What went great and what went not so great?
Do you know why?
What have you learned about yourself so far?
I’d love it, if you’d share a few of the answers to these questions in the comments, to inspire future readers, to help courage and sunlight along, as reminders that above the darkest clouds, the sun always shines.
Next time, you and I bump heads again, I’ll be introducing the Stress Less Blogging-booklet that I’m writing right now, which will be replacing the New Year Meditations as welcome gift for subscribers. Old subscribers will automatically get the chance to download it, so subscribe today – and get both the Meditations and the Stress Less Blogging-booklet (when it’s ready, still working on the details).
A gen-mod rabbit is morse-stomping the words:
LUV YA :-*