that my perfectionism and self-critical way of being is receding as the booze ship sails further into the distance.
I’ve been thinking about this as I go about my daily routine and just noticing things that I do differently now. Count from here:
- I used to weigh myself every morning. I was a complete body fascist and very hard and critical on myself if I gained any weight. It was just another thing to beat myself around the head with. I’ve stopped weighing myself every day and have gained a few pounds and it doesn’t seem to matter like it used to.
- I used to wash my hair every day as I was paranoid about it looking greasy. Now I can go three days and even if it starts to look like it needs a wash I’m less bothered. Just tie it back and it’ll be okay.
- Same with eyebrow care. Waxed every 3-4 weeks and tweezed into submission in between – what would people think of me if my brows were poorly managed? The irony is my close up eyesight is getting worse so I can’t actually see now so I worry less! Same goes for other wayward body hair – used to be fastidious about this kind of stuff but MrHOF never noticed or cared most of the time.
- Clothes had to be pristine. Would wash things after only one wear if only for a few hours. Was equally paranoid about body odour. Just more relaxed about it – stuff gets dirty if we wear it!
- All of these rules extended to my poor family and home environment too. Chaos and mess used to make me really stressed and grumpy. I live with a 9 and 7 year old and a husband who isn’t bothered about it but me? Anal and overwhelmed if things weren’t just so. Have slowly noticed myself relaxing about all of these things that don’t really matter. Again this house is lived in – it gets messy and dirty and our newest kitten addition, called Inky, I’m sure has been sent into my life to make me get this stuff in perspective. Every time he comes through the cat-flap he leaves a trail of muddy paw marks from the kitchen up to onto our bed. Previously this would have driven me nuts – now I just have to laugh.
- The blog – again mistakes were not tolerated and I felt that they would be noticed and I would be thought less of if I made a mistake. I’m human – mistakes happen.
- Academic advancement – this continues to drive me. Partly because I feel safe when I am learning and growing. I don’t know why this is but suspect it is how I got reward and acknowledgement as a child and it remains a strong motivator. I suspect is also related to self-worth and proving that I am intelligent, something I consider important. Plus because I’m a maven 😉
- Fitness – running has become a pleasure that I enjoy and miss if I don’t go out and do. It isn’t a chore or something I feel driven to do – it’s something I love to do and it has the added bonus of keeping me healthy.
- Diet – has improved immensely. Yes sugar is still a battle point but generally what I put in my mouth is much more balanced, considered and healthy. I used to be really unhealthy both in terms of fitness and diet and this was something else to berate myself over.
- Financial impulsivity – now I see it! This was something that was well below my radar when I was drinking. It was fuelled by drinking – browsing online shops glass in hand. I used to buy clothes, so as to keep up the appearance that if everything looked ok on the outside I wasn’t falling part on the insides, right? Music and books were also high up on the overspending list – means to escape and feed my intelllectual cravings. Clothes I stopped buying almost completely. Music too, but partly as it had such a strong association with booze for me, that in these early days it has been a trigger so I avoided. Books I still struggle with, but I use the library more often, and rather than impulse buy them they go on to my wishlist and at birthdays and Xmas requests are made for them to be gifts or they become milestone sober treats. As a result all debt has gone 🙂
It seems when I drank because that felt out of control I sought to control everything else. If I could just keep everything else looking okay then there wasn’t a problem right? Thing is I constantly shot myself in the foot. Hungover I would eat badly, wouldn’t exercise, my weight would go up. My skin and hair would look like crap but if my hair was cleanly washed every day and my brows were perfectly shaped I was keeping my shit together. I didn’t look after the house past wine o’clock because I was drinking but if I yelled at everyone else for making a mess then it took the focus off of my lack not them being – well them. Drinking more cost me more financially so made our home finances worse.
The small almost imperceptible shifts that happen when you drink and then that reverse when you stop are so incremental that you almost miss them but they all add up to the bigger picture of how we feel and treat ourselves.
I hadn’t considered any of these things when I was thinking about stopping. Stopping drinking is like the tip of the proverbial iceberg. There is a whole slew of stuff under the water line that are more impacted than just the observable behaviour. It really is the most almighty of changes to make to your life and one I would strongly support and recommend. How many changes could you count if you stopped? 🙂
PS This is Inky 🙂 He’s a rescue home cat so didn’t join us until he was 9 months old so not really a kitten anymore 😀