blatantly nostalgic image here. how I loved all these books as a child. Cinderella, Snow White and Rose Red, The Princess and the Pea…

am resigned now to the fact that whenever I think of an image to accompany something I want to say, what springs to mind is so frequently one from a children’s book. either I am an excellent mother who has devoted many hours to reading to her children, or I have a mental age of between 6 and 11 πŸ˜‰

I am sure you know this story, in which an impoverished shoemaker and his wife see a turn in their fortunes when two elves take over the night shift and create beautiful shoes. even as a child I could see massive holes in this business proposition. what happens after the elves put on the clothes created by the grateful couple and skip out of the shop forever? can the shoemaker himself keep up with the demand they have created, even though his stitches will not be the tiniest you have ever seen? will he be able to afford to keep his wife in preposterous hats, or will they sink back into penury?

I may have been a worrier, even as a child….heigh ho, on with today’s story….

….which is about how I am planning to stop leaving one of my responsibilities to the elves. who, take it from me, have been extremely stubborn about their non-performance of the duties I have tried to allocate to them. for, like, forever.

this has been boiling up for aΒ month or so. I’ve posted about wanting to findΒ a new option for dealing with all or nothing behaviour, about strategies which I could employ to do that, and about changing my fundamental attitude toward those responsibilities.

the two key areas which have been troubling me have been housekeeping and paperwork. not because of any still-lingering drive to perfectionism, but because both of these cluttersome areas are sapping my emotional energy, and I am trying really hard to replenish that energy at the moment.Β and to be quite honest, the fact that I have been wishing I could deal with the housekeeping first is the thing that has convinced me that actually, I need to tackle the paperwork πŸ™‚

because I have realised that if you think you need to change a behaviour – then you do. it’s one of those smoke = fire things. and why I have got so cross when occasionally people have said to me, “Oh, but you didn’t drink that much, did you?” which is one of those questions it is actually impossible to answer. “It’s not about how much (more than anyone else knew, you complete and utter fuckwit) it’s about how it made me feel.”

so, here’s the plan. incorporating various strategies I’ve already identified:

having an acceptable range, rather than a single target: between 7 and 14 hours paperwork a week.Β I think that my weekly paperwork ‘should’ take me about seven hours a week. although, actually, it could be 4. or 10. I have no idea. I have never been on top of the paperwork in my entire adult life 😦

doing something towards it every day: I will be doing 15 minutes minimum every day.Β 

doing it early in the day, like my morning run: I will do that 15 minutes worth as early as is feasible every day.

having a set period for the plan, like Team 100: I will do this for 70 days. 10 weeks, a bit like half-marathon training. this gives me a chance to really break the back of the backlog that has arisen in particular over the summer and the first half of the year. and by complete non-coincidence this also takes me right up to my one year soberversary πŸ˜‰ and then I will reassess how long/much I need to do on a weekly basis.

because I dare to hope that this could be the start of a new approach for me. that this could be a supporting pillar and not a gaping pit of fear beneath my feet. and I can only believe that because I haveΒ experienced the truth that radical change is possible, because I am sober today.

have you noticed that when sober bloggers go through the pain of relapse, they sometimes only come back when they have a respectable amount of time under their belt? which I often feel is sad, that they feel they can only hold their head high again when they have ‘proved’ themselves. because there is nothing to prove. well, that’s what I’m doing at the moment. so I understand that a bit better, now.

as I am already on day 6 of this paperwork thing. what shall I call it?

unfuck your desk*, did you say? love it, thanks πŸ™‚

five days of desk unfucking, Β and I have been feeling as vulnerable and emotionally naked as I can recall since the first days of getting sober. and any doubts about whether I should blog about this were dispelled on day 1. it had been pouring with rain all day enabling me to get off to a flying start – thank you, Universe! – and after four straight hours of paperwork I was just finishing off Β when the thought popped into my mind, “I would love a drink now…” for the first time in months. bloody HELL. where did that come from and how can I send it back there? is this really such a drinking trigger for me? apparently, it is. so, here I am. wobbly, terrified and determined.

do you know the theory of the four stages of competence? these are the psychological states we go through in acquiring any skill:

and these could be applied to getting sober, or driving, or any other behaviour. we have to go through the terrifying kangarooing-along-the-road stage before we get to the point of being able to wend our way through city streets without conscious thought.

am not going to bore you with details of the UFYD project. I am aware that this is probably as interesting as watching someone giving up biting their fingernails.

“Look, they’re much longer than they were last week! this one’s doing particularly well. look how nicely shaped it is! think I might start wearing nail polish soon…”Β 

what I may do is give you a weekly running total, in the spirit of counting up. wish me luck!

and again in the spirit of counting up: am 300 days sober today πŸ™‚

have a great weekend, my sober companions! xxx

* pinched shamelessly from the brilliant unfuckyourhabitat