Tag Archives: #truth

Concrete goals

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goals

“You have to celebrate the successes. You’ve come such a long way.” So said a wonderful friend this morning when I admitted to her I’d had a slip. A bigger than normal slip, a four day slip. This one I might call a relapse as it ended with me drinking stealthily in the kitchen. Not hiding it exactly, but, yes, kind of.

Monday night, no reason or excuse other than the wine was in the fridge. Days of the week cease to matter once you’re in the grip of a drinking phase. That I can cope, still managing domestic tasks during and also the day after only makes it worse. Makes it seem less problematic, less invasive.

But the descent is steep, should the emergency plan fail there would be no stopping until the inevitable crash. But the rope seems to be holding. I have my toolkit handy and I am ready once again to start at the beginning. This is the beginning, the shameful sharing. Putting it out there I know is not to everyone’s taste but for me it diminishes the shame somehow. The loneliness of tackling mental health and addiction can be excruciating. By sharing I take back the power, I make the decisions.

Another great friend shared with me that it takes an addict an average of seven attempts – real, committed attempts – before they succeed in overcoming the demon. This is six for me I think. I am going to try and achieve a below average score!

My top three tools for the next week will be

  1. Get back to yoga – every damn day even if some days I have to crawl to my mat, click a button and allow myself to be baby-stepped through a meditation.
  2. Get more sleep – bed by 10pm latest, none of the internet surfing and browsing, allowing my monkey mind to flit from page to page of the labyrinth.
  3. Plan and prepare food well ahead of suppertime. My absolute worst time of day is, I suspect, the same time as everyone else’s. That end of day fatigue, the deep sigh once all of the running about is done. The loneliness of the kitchen sometimes as the domestic drudge has to be attended to again. Some cooking after lunchtime with a good podcast leaving the evening kitchen time minimal. Then I will take ten minutes to myself before rejoining my family feeling replenished. (Remember this is a goal – as I wrote that I laughed and laughed but without a plan I will certainly fail…)

So here’s to concrete goals, baby steps and sixth attempts.

calvin and hobbes sleep

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Faith and hope

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Faith and hope

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about hope. Having hope makes us human. Gives us reason to get up in the morning, hoping that the sun is shining and that today will be a good day.

We are encouraged to hope throughout life, hoping we get this teacher or that, that we get a spot on the team, a part in a play. We go on hoping for many things: a good job, nice friends, invitations to parties, pregnancy, promotion, recognition, fame, fortune, a luxury home, a safe home, the ability to make good choices, feel comfortable in our own skin, be appreciated, be loved.

It is perhaps central to life that we have hope.  But in order to have hope we need to have the belief that our hopes might come to pass. So we need to have faith. Faith gives substance to aspirations, allows us to believe in our dreams.

Faith isn’t always placed naturally or obviously. It is hard sometimes to know where to rest your soul. When it feels as though the world is demanding more than you can give it is especially so.

Some people, perhaps enviably, have an unshakable religious faith. This certain belief in someone being there through good and bad must bring strength. And comfort when that strength falters.

Some have faith in the universe; in forces beyond the realm of understanding but perhaps present nonetheless.

Faith in our family and friends, our practices, our ideas are paramount. The knowledge that people have our back, are in our corner, are rooting gives us confidence, gives us hope.

More than anything though we need to maintain faith in ourselves. We need to believe in our value, our worth. No-one else can give us the ability to say ‘I am great, just as I am.’ (Unless you are Bridget Jones in which case Mark Darcy seems to get close.) In this digital age, no number of likes or clicks or shares can equal the moment when we hold our head high with love.

This is so often what depression robs us of – remembering that. Faith and hope can get bound-up, buried so deeply beneath a blanket of fear, memories of past failures, guilt, remorse, indecision, self-consciousness, that it becomes an endless cycle of negativity from which emergence feels impossible.

But there are moments when the impossible recedes, the fog clears and our eyes are bright. These are the moments to hang on to, to file away and revisit. They form a kind of internal library and if we cherish them they can become building blocks, a staircase by which to haul ourselves out.

step ladder

Thank you to my wonderful friend Heidi for sending this picture featuring the amazing work of Nathan Sawaya. She knows me well. (I wish I’d been there to view it with you.) The caption reads:   ‘Sometimes when you’re looking for a step-up you don’t have to look any further than yourself. We’re all capable of more than we think.’