How I Got Past My Motivation Problems and Other Things

This was the problem…

I was never as bad as a ‘functioning alcoholic’. No, I was a social drinker. When you are around someone every night, then that’s being social right? When you’ve suddenly drunk three bottles (Large European size) and the effect has suddenly and surprisingly worn off too quickly, theres no harm in buying another if you are only having a third of it, is there? Then of course the next night you buy the usual three and happily find that you have two thirds of the other bottle left ofter from last night as well – bonus! “Oh no, I better not eat that or I won’t get drunk. I better start drinking first.”

That’s how it started off as fun and escalated into something quite the opposite.

Luckily, my heightened emotions and a rather volatile relationship and some very good – if rather biased advice, halted me in my tracks before I developed a real habit.

The underlying issues…

Without going into details, with my Dyspraxia and someone else’s issues combined Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 19.41.39there could often be mood swings and miss-commnuications and very high emotion when we were together. Sometimes I was using the alcohol as an emotional crutch which was actually resulting in an emotional car crash. I wasn’t able to handle the situation well when I was drunk. I should have been capable of doing so without ugly crying for hours and feeling gutted and angry in equal measure. I should have been able to walk away and calm down, rather than feeling like the world was falling down around me.

As it happened I was also going through a hard time feeling like I’d kinda lost who I was. My 35 birthday was approaching and I didn’t feel young anymore but I wasn’t middle aged, I was just me but who the hell was that!? When someone would ask me what I’d been doing lately my answer would be “We both went” or “We all went”, never “I went” because I was never motivated enough to go out and do stuff alone. It wasn’t any kind of social anxiety, more that I kept finding I couldn’t be arsed and it was just easier not to.

I tricked myself into thinking I was managing to keep my head above water, when in reality all I was doing was treading water until I was emotionally exhausted and had nothing left.

How I got my shit together…

I  started taking more responsibility for my actions. I deliberately focused on adjusting Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 19.27.02my attitude and letting the little things go. I realised we all have to accommodate other people’s moods whilst realising they aren’t always a response to our own behaviour. Essentially it’s not always our fault if someone is suddenly annoyed or sulky. I also realised that we don’t have to react to every negative with which we are presented and can choose to remain calm until we have decided exactly how to deal with the situation. This can be a lot more beneficial than an initial emotional gut reaction.

Practically speaking…

I bought a planner to take some pressure off having to think about everything that was going on in my life. It included a diary and a year planner and I created a To Do List and also wrote down all of my medical stuff. I bought a bunch of new clothes that were Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 19.45.38more like the ‘old’ me just a tad bigger and started gently exercising again. I started making smoothies (a practical task that I was dreading) and it turns out I’m a natural at knowing which ingredients work with each other. I started going out to town alone again, even when it was busy and people were impatient with me. I started regularly getting more involved with Twitter chats. I started playing music that I loved, rather than just listening to whatever anyone else chose to put on. I also made an effort with my appearance Every. Single. Day. It made such a difference to my confidence and outlook. I was no longer thinking of ‘reasons’ not to go out (even to the local shops) because I looked a mess, or was tired, or it wasn’t totally necessary.

So now I’m on the other side…

It’s been two months since I’ve had a drink and it feels more like six! I did it incredibly begrudgingly at first and made all sorts of excuse as to why a myriad of allowances should be made. I fully agreed with it eventually when I realised I had no idea how it had been since I’d spent an evening sober and knew things HAD to change.

Result…

Now I’m much more upbeat, I’ve gotten my silliness back and I’m smiling more. I’m even talking with more confidence and feel like I hold more of a presence in group Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 19.35.19conversations, rather than being accidentally talked over. I’m naturally waking up and feeling refreshed at around 9.00am some days which is wonderful! I haven’t lost weight but I feel so much better in myself and have more energy (my condition allowing), positivity and motivation. I’m doing chores without letting them pile up and even offering to do them when it’s not my turn, if someone is in need of the help. My memory and concentration are back to the level they were last year and I don’t let the ‘brain fog’ demoralise me like I used to. It does vary wildly due to my MS but overall I feel like I’ve gotten my personality back with some added adulting to boot, ha!

Back to the alcohol – literally…

These days I have a few beers if I go out for food (the cinema doesn’t count) or if I’m on a night out or at a house party etc. I’m celebrating with it again, rather than relying on it for my entertainment every evening. I’ve gotten used to processing my emotions in a more even way and I either stay calm or keep my annoyance/upset to a controllable level, even if I’m really being pushed to my limit. I realise that the situation is only for that moment and it will pass and that’s life and that’s ok with me.

Chrissie

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