For me recovery is all about a bridge to normal living, but with the current world events and Covid-19 I do now wonder – What is normal?
Before recovery my normal was going to bed every night in blackout. Waking up in the morning with a pounding headache, nausea and fear of what I had said or done the night before. I would quickly force down the pint of water I always left at my bedside and tentatively start my day.
My morning would be periods of hating myself, beating myself up and swearing never to repeat last nights behaviour. Going towards lunchtime I would then find some resilience and almost “dismiss” last nights drinking as I would question colleagues on what they had done, to discover nearly all of them had some alcohol in one form or another.
This would then lead to some reassurance that I was just like everyone else; I was just having a couple of drinks to wind down from a hectic day at work.
My afternoon would then be spent defending my actions, almost justifying them and then allowing space in my head to plan for that evenings drinking. After all I deserved a drink, didn’t I?
Driving home from work I would then calculate in my head what I had left at home and find good reason to go to the shop. Of course, I would go to the shop that had offers on and amongst the bread and milk and chocolate – there was always wine or beer or cider or, towards the end, vodka.
That was my normal.
Now my normal is about managing the thoughts in my head that tell me I am deserving of a drink. Why would that be? I know that one drink will just lead to another and another and then that old mindset that was so exhausting.
I have the support of fellows around me so they are now built into my routine, reaching out, talking, listening it all helps and stops me thinking about what I need and focusing on what others may need. Likewise, I know that they are all there for me.
Right now during this surreal time I am finding my new normal. I am taking my 1 hour exercise and walking my dog, I am noticing nature – I saw so many butterflies yesterday and they were beautiful.
We are lucky that this has happened in Spring and the sun is shining and the birds are singing. The whole world seems quieter and the hustle and bustle of daily life has slowed down to a much more manageable place.
I am lucky, I can work from home and I recognise that there are a lot of people with financial and emotional stresses on them but all I can do I right size my mind to cope. I am healthy so have minimal risk of being hospitalised but still I have to ensure that I do the next right thing.
I am stubborn and really don’t like being told what to do but during this time I see that there is real value in taking advise and not fully understanding the outcome. We have to trust what we are being told – via official sources – and act on it.
For the first time in our lives we are being asked to slow down, be with our family and trust that the scientists and government are getting a handle on all this.
For me fighting this and trying to rebel against it is not going to make a bit of difference. All that will happen is I will raise the demons in my head again and create chaos and carnage and that is my old normal that I want to keep hidden.
You see everything that I see as normal is all in my mind, my normal is what I chose it to be and that has to be peace, serenity and acceptance for me right now.