When I was drinking I had my habits. Mostly my drinking habits. In the end, my life revolved around when and where I could drink. My nerves were so frazzled, my self-esteem so fried, I had to know when the next opportunity would avail itself that I would be able to get that drink. Just to “take the edge off,” I would say to myself. I found myself scheduling my day around it. It is hard to believe now that was how my life was, but it was. Once I stopped drinking, going to a lot of meetings and doing the Steps -has really changed everything.
In my first few weeks of Recovery, one of my friends told me about how important a routine was to filing some of the edges off alcohol abstinence and mental detox. He told me about the acronym HALT (Hungry Angry Lonely Tired). I had no idea what that meant and like most things, I thought it was silly. But I began to notice eating something healthy (Hungry), getting enough sleep, (Tired) were 2 things of the acronym that were vital to my first 90 days. The “Angry and Lonely” were unavoidable for my first 6 months, but in meetings, it did make me aware of how normal I was to feel that way.
Even though my routine isn’t rock solid, I do try and go to bed at the same time every night, get up about the same time every morning. Grab a nap in the middle of the day when I can – usually the weekends. I have said in meetings when I got sober, I turned into a toddler. I need my sleep. When I don’t get it, I’m screwed. I get impatient, frustrated, overly sensitive. All feelings that get me closer to a drink. When I do get my sleep, the whole day seems to go smoother.
I can wake up in the night and not get back to sleep a couple of times in a week without problems, but if I go to bed later than usual a couple nights AND my dog gets me up and I can’t get back to sleep, I really feel it and need a nap! I have mentioned before in this blog, when I was drinking, I was hardly sleeping at all and hadn’t slept well for years, but that stopped 2 1/2 years ago.
A New Day
I love mornings. I love the quiet, watch the sun rise, I am not in a good mood particularly, but I do have time alone and get up early to have time alone. I pray, meditate (like cross-legged on a cushion) and ease into my day. Get dressed and hit my morning meeting at the local Homeless Shelter. I get my dose of gratitude and fellowship behind me prior to most people arriving at work. It starts my day off right. This can’t happen every day, but most days, even weekends.
The idea of a routine, soothed my body and head early on and today it still does. I think subconsciously my system started trusting me again. “Yes” we will get some sleep, “Yes” we will get some lunch. Small routine tasks keep my mind from carrying on by itself.
Give It a Try
If you are new to Recovery, take the next week, make an effort to go to bed at the same time every night (within a half hour), get up – set the alarm if you have to – and get out of bed, start your day. Don’t just lie there and be lazy. Let your system know you are up for Recovery today. This Day.