I came late to driving and view it very much as a means to an end – i.e. of getting from point A to point B. one thing that has driven my husband insane with irritation ever since I got my own car is that I never used to know what mileage it had done. I knew it had a mileage counter, but what purpose would be served by keeping that number in my head? so when very occasionally when discussing our household motoring requirements he would ask what the mileage figure on the Prim-mobile was, I wouldn’t have the faintest idea. 75,000? 180,000? some? many? lots?
eventually I decided that the purpose of knowing the mileage figure was to stop myself looking like a flake when my husband asked me 😉 so now I look at it occasionally and know roughly what it is. that knowledge has probably evicted some other vital factoid, such as the lyrics to a Bucks Fizz song.
hurrah for velour sweatshirts. and is that an ankle chain?
since getting sober I have discovered that I also possess a self-care-ometer. I literally never glanced at that, either, for my entire preceding life, ricocheting instead between gratification, denial, and self-destructiveness – shuddering at the memory, here….
the idea of doing things every day to keep myself on an even keel was not one that I ever got to grips with. and then I stopped smoking, then stopped drinking, and where was my safety valve then?
I had already started running, so that came to the fore. checking into the soberverse daily, blogging, and emailing with sober pen pals helped enormously in the early days of sobriety and continues to do so to this day. I have learnt – often by blogging about how low I feel, and then realising why – that when I feel lowest, I often feel least like doing self-care-y type things, just when I most need to do them. so I haul my arse off my emotional if not literal sofa and go and do it – mostly, anyway.
things are still low around here generally in the period after my father in law’s funeral. I am finding many implications of this bereavement inappropriate to talk about here so will not do so in detail. one specific thing relevant to my recovery is that the night preceding the funeral I had an absolute thumper of a drinking dream. the usual format for me of ‘realising’ that I had been drinking on and off for the last few months and that I am therefore not sober. the crashing regret, sorrow, anguish – I have not relapsed in real life and therefore my brain sees fit to imagine it in the most vivid detail. I wake shaken and uncertain for a few moments what the truth is. yes, there is relief when I realise it is only a dream, and I recognise that it is my subconscious putting swathes of yellow incident tape around the huge hole that relapse would be for me, to protect me from it. but it is so painful to go through, when I am already feeling vulnerable.
pavement art at its most stomach-curdling.
so, we are trying to get back into normal life. Verity recently commented hoping that we could ‘gently re-group’ which is a lovely way to think of it. as part of that I have been consciously upping my self care and in doing so have been taking a refresher course in the topic. I found a number of new resources which I thought I might pass on in case they were useful to others as well.
My experience of the earliest days of sobriety is of walking around in a haze, not really knowing which way was up in the absence of my previous force field of alcohol consumption. at that time I would have found this cogently named interactive tool helpful:
You Feel Like Shit: An Interactive Self Care Guide
‘This is meant to be an interactive flow chart for people who struggle with self care, executive dysfunction, and/or who have trouble reading internal signals. It’s designed to take as much of the weight off of you as possible, so each decision is very easy and doesn’t require much judgment.’
The tool leads you through a series of very gentle questions, which I find surprisingly powerful. When we are at our lowest even thinking of the right question to ask can feel impossible.
(If you do have a play with this guide, I’d love to hear what you think of it.)
I started drafting this post a month ago and the need for self care is still pretty high! There are more great resources to add but I thought I’d make this a two parter, so as to actually press publish before Christmas 😉
More soon, sober compadres! Prim xx