Managing energy is a really important part of recovery. Productive, workaholic, perfectionist professionals (who me?!) especially fall into the trap of go-go-go all day long, then pour a glass of wine to slow-slow-slow for the evening. That, over time, is what develops the “witching hour” -which will be that first obstacle in trying to cut down or cut out drinking. I remember the first few times I woke up and felt pretty crappy after too many glasses of wine. “Oh man, never again! I won’t drink tonight for sure”! Then I’d run off to work…where I put out all the fires…managed all the divas…catered to all the special snowflakes….ALL. DAY. LONG. Then I fought through rush hour traffic to get back home, and then I felt… exhausted…and… just… couldn’t… turn off ….my brain! “I know I said I wouldn’t drink today, but the thing is, I didn’t know how bad today was going to be. OBVIOUSLY a glass is ok after today“! And there, my friends, is how it all begins. Also, how it continues….over and over and over.
So, when you give that all up…when you say enough is enough…that particular cycle is so very important to break immediately! In the sobriety school I attended, they focused quite a lot on that. At the time, I was all “How the fuck is lemon water or bubble baths gonna make wine cravings easier”? But guess what? It just does! And then I was like “I’m all stable now and don’t need to worry about that hippie, lovey, self-care stuff anymore”! But guess what? I still do!
It’s been a little over 6 months, and I have learned how to ease my way into my day, how to take small few-minute breaks throughout the day to recoup, how to balance myself to avoid those peaks that exhaust me (and inevitably make me think of having wine to slow down), and yet today I found myself completely and utterly exhausted. I was basically a temper-tantrum-throwing, snotty, 2 year old on the inside, screaming “me me me me”!!!! The thing is, I didn’t recognize that I had been depleting my daily energy really quickly all week, that I’ve been basically starting my days with an energy deficit and then wondering why my patience is running out super early each afternoon. But I’ve been doing all the hippie, lovey, self-care stuff – so what gives?! Well, what I hadn’t considered is that sometimes, it takes more to fill back up than other times. Like, say I’m a car, and I drive once a week. Now say this week, I drive every single day. I’m going to need more gas this week than last week, right? So in this not-so-creative scenario…the driving is my go-go-go and the gas is the.. lemons and bubbles (heh)! It sounds pretty simple when I put it like that, but believe me… it’s not always easy to see it in the moment.
I need to remember to work hard, but not to the point of exhaustion and depletion. But sometimes I don’t completely control that, right? Sometimes, that needy client just doesn’t care that it’s Meditate’o’clock or that my energy resource bar is blinking and running low! So when I have to use up all that gas that I normally don’t have to use up, I need to remember to give myself extra fuel. Maybe lemons and bubbles aren’t gonna cut it – maybe I need a chick flick, warm and fuzzy pajamas, a nap, and a hug! Whatever it is – I need to remember to get what I need, when I need it …or pay the price tenfold later.
We all have schedules, responsibilities, people taking up pieces of the pie – so it can be so easy to say “I’ve got too much going on. Today, I will skip the hippie, lovey, self-care stuff”. When in reality, those are the days we actually need that stuff the most! If I’ve got so much going on that I think I need to cut things out, I can guarantee I’m probably already sleeping less, eating unbalanced, and dealing with people that test my patience. If I want to survive that gracefully, I need to break out the lemons, the meditation, the tea, the what-the-fuck-ever-makes-me-happy stuff… and even if I only have a minute to spare, that’s a minute worth sparing on ME because it pays off for EVERYONE around me!
So ok, I forgot all this stuff and became a snappy, crabby, bitch. I am new to this stuff and still figuring it all out! At least I recognized it and can course-correct now. What’s important is seeing it and doing something about it -so that one day, when all the shitty stuff hits the Roomba…I’ve already practiced enough self-care to be able to take it in stride and quickly move forward!