When the rat race in my head is in full throttle, I’ve learned to ask myself 2 questions that get me back to being present.
1. What’s really important right now?
Answer: My family, people, relationships and helping others
2. What is the only thing I need to do perfect today?
Answer: Not drink and not use.
Sounds simple, and it is. I complicate every little aspect of my life sometimes, losing the focus of what truly matters.
About a week ago I was sitting at Starbucks with the one person who showed up to my once a month, “How to create a podcast” group, ( I know, my life is so freakin exciting that your literally foaming at the mouth word by word), when the “Love Song” by the Cure, cover song came on. No, I’m sorry it was a Chris Isaak, “Wicked Game” cover song that came on, (I know, I can’t believe you’re following me either) and it immediately triggered my mind to find the girl who was singing it. I was like OMG, that sounds so good! So while I was ignoring the only member of the group babble on, a familiar hot flash came over me as I was searching the gallows of Itunes. The obsession of desiring and seeking a song that would somehow make my life perfect merged with the obsession to drink and use just one more time. The taste of that “dark freedom” took my current reality back to a time where the only responsibility was no responsibility. The innocent moment of searching for a pretty cool song, quickly vaporized into a feeling of extreme urgency to watch the movie “Spun”, which for the 3 days prior to my last relapse in 2012, I obsessionally watched over and over. And over. This all happened in a period less than about 3 minutes, however it felt as if I took a trip for years.
Back in Starbucks I realized where my mind was, and where my feet actually were. Then I weighed my options. 1. I could ride the wave of old memories being that well, all they really are is thoughts. 2. I could blow off the entire ordeal and act as if nothing happened. 3. I could take action.
I picked 3, and I texted a few members in my recovery program. At over 3 years sober, I actually had to tell someone I was in a bad place emotionally as if I was back on day 1. And for that I stayed sober another day. The morale of the story, which should really be, “Don’t go to Starbucks and listen to cover songs from Chris Isaak,” is no matter how far along you are sober, picking up the phone and calling or texting someone when your life feels a little weird can save your sobriety. And your life.
I am huge on morning routines, however I am a little embarrassed to say my own personal routine has swayed a bit. And I can tell because when I am all pissed-off and it is only 7:16am I realize something has to change. First, I give myself a little credit to recognize I am in a state of “pissiness” (not sure if that’s a word), and that I need to change something. In the past, I would have teased the morning until I put some type of mind altering substance in my body. And well, that is my recovery program working in my life today. So thumbs up to that.
And to be honest, I am not 100% sure how I am going to replace the little bad habits of the morning with good little habits but I am sure of one thing, and that is Four Ways How Not to Start Your Morning ritual.
- Facebook: I literally roll over, grab my “mini-ipad” and check out my social media. And I can guarantee you, there is going to be a post, picture, comment or a “campaign ad” that I do not like thus starting my day upset.
- Email: Now this one takes a little effort. I actually have to get up and walk. And before my first cup, I stumble to my desktop and check my email as if I am someone of importance. In prison this would be called “pain-freaking.” As in, I love to torture myself. When I check my inbox, nothing but spam, social media notifications and bills. And I know they are there before I even open my mail. “Pain-freaking.”
- Skipping Meditation: This one has just got way out of control. There is prayer and there is mediation. And even though I can always whip out a 30 second prayer anytime-anyplace, that is not the same as a “reading” and ponder in a place of serenity. In other words, skipping a few sentence in the morning to whatever book I choose and neither reflecting on it, sets the stage for a really bad morning.
- Coffee, or lack-there-of: For some reason I’ve been skipping my morning cups. To my defense I am trying to cut back on the contest of how many cups of black coffee can I drink in a day, but the mistake I am making is I’m not replacing the cups with anything good. I have some research to do this week.
So that is it, how not to start your morning. And for the next step, well that’s going to take a little work and effort. Finding the solution to morning woes. However, I’m on it!
Pain-Freak: When you know your team is going to lose, but you sit there until the last second of the clock ticks-off anyway. Pain-Freak.