On Self-Care…

In this moment I am sitting on a comfy couch, hedgehog in my lap, as a dog barks anxiously outside my doors. I’ve rented an Airbnb up north for myself and my hedgie for the weekend–just the two of us–as a thank you and congratulations to myself for completing the first year of internships without dying, quitting, or completely messing everything up.

Today, I got breakfast at a small town diner, hiked around a state park nearby, ate some delicious bakery pastries, napped, wrote, ran 6+ miles through rural farmlands and dirt roads, enjoyed a freshly cooked meal on the patio before sunset, and soaked in the hot tub for an hour as the stars came out.

This weekend was set up to be the ultimate exercise in self-care and relaxation. This is mostly because I’ve done so poorly with it over the last 9 months, as I’ve stumbled my way through the maze of professional and personal growth. Well, maybe that’s a bit harsh. I haven’t done poorly; I’ve been inconsistent, and I’ve been a little stubborn about doling out self-care until I start to reach a tipping point.

Now, finally, I feel at ease enough to pull the E-brake for a moment and take a much-needed respite from my day-to-day life back at home. Two full days and three full nights away from people, responsibilities (except the hedgie, but I wanted her here) and the loud noises of the city is so, so welcome. It also feels very necessary following a long, harsh winter full of stress, fatigue, deadlines, pressure, endless cold and late-season blizzards.

I won’t say it was difficult to remain sober during these past 9 months, but I will say that I’ve had more surprising flashes of desire to drink than I’m used to. There were a number of days after I finished up at my internship where some strange thought would come floating through my mind: “I have complete and total power over my decision to drink or not drink, and I could totally get away with it if I wanted to.”

Uh, yikes. How about no?

After getting over the initial weirdness of having a thought like that, it would start to cross my mind that those flash cravings weren’t happening for no reason–not after almost 2 years of sobriety. No, flashes like that seem to be intricately intertwined with how well I am in all spheres of my life. Coming out of this winter was really hard for me, I can’t lie. It felt like the cold weather and the stress of my semester combined with my less-than-stellar physical health to create a whole, big mess of me. And one of the results?

A fleeting desire to drink again.

I know I probably won’t ever be immune to those kinds of thoughts or desires. Even with all of the wonderful, beautiful, important things I’ve achieved through sobriety, there will always be some remnant of my past addicted self, lurking quietly ’til the moment’s right.

It feels so silly to say, but it also feels true. I could say the same about feelings of depression and anxiety; these days, I feel like I’m able to manage the emotional discord I feel pretty well, but sometimes I’m really not too good at it. The depressed voice starts nagging me from the back of my head, and the anxious voice starts wondering aloud if maybe something it wrong with me.

If I’m not careful in tending to my emotional, mental, and physical needs, I start to falter.

If I don’t take proactive steps to care for myself, my care falls to the wayside and I’m left to scramble a self-care solution together before I completely fall apart.

Someday I’ll get the preventative self-care routine nailed down and I won’t have to be so reactive to handling my stress, anger, frustration, and sadness.

But until then, I will so thoroughly enjoy these rare weekends of peace and solitude where I can recharge and start myself back on the right track again.

All while ignoring the cheap, shitty wine sitting in the mini fridge and sipping a cran-raspberry LaCroix instead.

5 thoughts on “On Self-Care…

    • okayishness blog says:

      Yes! It’s funny, when I first got sober, I would drink so so so much LaCroix. I reached for a can whenever I felt a craving, or if I felt anxious. Eventually the simple act of taking the first sip of LaCroix would help calm my nerves a bit…and it still has the same effect to this day! Funny how similar the effect is to actual booze, minus the drunkenness and horrible, dehydrating aftermath 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  1. truthbetold1111 says:

    I’m so glad you took some time for YOU. It’s a great observation that when you have a moment of questioning sobriety that it’s usually in direct correlation with where you’re at mentally. It’s easy to dismiss it or shrug it off, but man you could use it as a cue to dig in and take deeper look. Happy Saturday!

    Like

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