Making time for yourself is so important, especially so in early recover where you are extremely weak and vulnerable. At all costs you want to avoid anything that could potentially lead to relapse.
During the 28 days I spent in rehab I learnt many things about myself. Some of which I am still developing, for example, self-care and being self-less, (completely different to and often confused with selfish).
However, there are 4 particular things I now avoid. These are – being hungry, angry, lonely, tired, (H.A.L.T.), four potential triggers that could have me reaching for that first drink, and potential triggers for many people struggling to control their drinking.
Hungry – drop in sugar levels. During my drinking days I would stave off hunger by drinking, regularly replacing meals with booze. When I stopped drinking I developed an incredibly sweet tooth, this is perfectly normal as your body craves the sugar it would normally be getting via alcohol. Therefore, it is extremely important to EAT. I learnt how important regular food is, sounds silly but alcohol deprives you of more than self-respect, common sense disappears too! (I usually never leave the house now without a taking a snack and a bottle of water with me!!).
Angry – boy! what an opportunity for feeding emotions, either to quash or fuel it. My goodness did I drink if I was angry! In the latter days of my drinking career 99% of the time the drink would fuel my anger to an inferno. Neither is healthy or desirable as those feelings need to be addressed and dealt with. These days if I feel angry I back chain to try to uncover why something has evoked such a negative feeling or reaction in me. I’ve found that if I take enough time and a close enough look I can often find the reason why, and resolve it in a healthy way. On many occasions I remind myself of the Serenity Prayer – ‘accept the things I cannot change, and the courage to change the things I can’.
Loneliness (isolation) – this is particularly appropriate for me as I did most of my drinking alone and I isolated myself. I have asked my closest friends and family that if they ever notice me isolating myself that this should set their alarm bells ringing. I regularly see my chums, but in sobriety I have also learnt to enjoy my own company in a healthy, fulfilled and rewarding way.
Tired – I used to overcome tiredness by drowning it out with booze. Now if I’m tired I take a nap, (most days!).
No more drowning life out with booze! I now like to make every second count and enjoy life as best as I can, but I am mindful of the fact that it is important not to neglect myself.