It’s day 312 and I’ve just recently started feeling as though a new normal has begun. About 6 weeks ago, I felt a fog lift and a new routine emerged. I can’t pinpoint what caused the shift, but I’m grateful for it. Perhaps it’s a cumulative effect that is my reward for the work I’ve put in over the past 10 months.
I’m feeling calm, which is completely new to me. Anxiety, worry and panic have been a part of my brain since childhood. The day before Kindergarten started, I panicked: I grabbed a pad of paper and a pencil and went running to my big sister. “I don’t know how to write and Kindergarten starts tomorrow.” I could print, but I didn’t know cursive. I thought I’d be a laughing stock.
Adding to my calmness is that I’m going to cut back to part-time hours at work for a couple of months. The first time I talked about the possibility, it was with my therapist. She noted that my body language instantly relaxed when talking the idea through.
It’s good timing: my parents leave for Florida this week. They go every year for a couple of months and it’s always been my time to ramp up the drinking. I spend a lot of time at their house alone while they’re gone (my dog stays there during workdays so that I can let her out at lunch). My routine for years, while they’re gone, has been to drink whenever I’m inside their home. It’s a strong routine and I’m very mindful of the need to set myself up for success.
The day they leave, I will pack up their well-stocked liquor cabinet and store it at my sister’s house. I’m not struggling with sobriety at this time, but I’m wary of the potential triggers that will come when I’m in their empty house with even less accountability than I usually have.
Working fewer hours means that I won’t need to be at their house every day. Plus it will give me some extra time to work on myself – more time at the gym, more meetings, more self-care.
I’m looking ahead at a potentially difficult week: parents are leaving and my sponsor left today for a 2 week second stage treatment program (that’s a whole other concern I have…). My plan is to be open about the concern I have about the next couple of months. I’m asking for help and going forward with my eyes open. That’s new, too: being proactive instead of blindly letting time march on and having to later deal with consequences.
This new normal is feeling good.