I’m sitting here and staring at the keyboard, feeling like I want to post something today, but not quite sure what it is… And the more I think about it the less I am coming up with. I’m feeling a little distracted and in one of those moods when I cannot fully focus on one task in particular. I find that sometimes the idea of buckling down and completing a job that requires any level of thought and concentration are way beyond me. The idea of grinding away at something that will only bring gratification in the long term, rather than being instantaneous, is more than I want to deal with. I have a long list of things I need to do even though it’s Saturday. From tasks as menial and mindless as attacking the big basket of ironing that is glaring at me from the corner of my bedroom to spending a good chunk of time working through my coaching notes for my final assessment in a couple of weeks.
What I’d really like to do is lounge next to a crystal clear ocean, preferably in a hammock, quietly whiling away the hours with a good book and languorous conversation with my guy. It’s not going to happen today, especially considering that I am surrounded by thousands of kilometres of desert, being scantily clad is completely forbidden and the man I mention is on another continent. And then I start to feel a little guilty about the fact that there are so many things on my to-do list and I really just don’t feel like doing any of them. But I need to stop now and remember my own advice and look for the positive intention that the lack of concentration is bringing me and there it is… My brain is tired! I work a normal(ish) 5-day work week, but my weekends and evenings are taking up coaching and studying. And by sitting here and looking at what I should be doing and making myself feel bad about it, I should rather just accept that maybe I need an afternoon (or at least a few hours) to mentally recuperate.
This is something I never learned to do while I was drinking. If I hit any sort of resistance to the things I was trying to do, I’d simply push through and then get to the stage where I was utterly exhausted. Generally what would follow would be a good binge session to reward myself for all my hard work, to be tailed by at least one day of feeling high levels of physical and emotional remorse, only to complete the cycle by pushing myself extra hard to make up for the days I’d lost drinking and recovering. A vicious, unhealthy pattern of overwork and complete avoidance thereof. So if I have to be honest with myself I guess that there are still times I begin to enter into that negative cycle. Except now instead of getting to the point where I throw up my hands and grab a strong drink (or ten), I am learning to identify that I am in need of some downtime and do just that. Because sitting at my desk and not getting anything done is just fooling myself that I am actually working.
It’s taken me years of personal development and introspection to understand these elements of self, and sometimes I am still incredibly hard on myself. But truthfully I have my coaching work and personal coach of the past six months to thank for these insights. I may think I am being lazy or unproductive, but now I’ve started to see that I need to listen to these “negative” feelings and see what they are trying to bring me. What’s wrong with being lazy once in a while? What’s the harm in taking a Saturday afternoon off to enjoy a good book? It’s a whole lot better than dashing off to the bar with the first person you can find to accompany you, and then spending the night getting steadily inebriated. And we all have a version of how that story ends…
It’s so easy to get caught in insane patterns as a recovering alcoholic, replacing previously destructive behaviours with new “healthy” ones. But addiction comes in all shapes and forms. It’s a case of being constantly vigilant with myself and picking up the early signs that I might just be tending towards getting into a dark vortex of extremes. Working too much, studying too hard, being too needy in my relationship or any other kind of extreme behaviour. I guess I have to accept that this is part of who I am and be aware that replacing one addiction with another (even if it’s not the kind that’s tied to a toxic substance) is something I need to keep in check. I’ve even gone through stages where I’ve become obsessed with exercising or healthy eating at the expense of everything else. What I’m constantly striving for is sustainable balance and I feel like I am getting closer all the time, but I cannot ignore the “Little Professor” inside me who is constantly trying to remind me what I need to do to maintain this long-term equilibrium.
Writing this post has made me realise that I need to switch off from my work, grab a cup of tea and find a sunny spot to enjoy a few hours of reading. That perhaps the best time to relax is when you don’t have time for it. Then I will be able to come back to the things I need to do refreshed and mentally relaxed, feeling good that I honoured my need to just be.
‘Til next time