Day 17 – The Eternal Optimist Solution

I took a break from reading the book but did read Day 17 on March 17th. I have decided to pick it back up once I get back from my visit back home. I ended my AF streak on March 26th – so had 26 days in a row… and after that had maybe 3 more days. I have been dealing with a few things – and still believe this book will be a great tool to get me to a new level. Life is really changing for me – and the actions and tools will all be useful in my transition and change. I created a new vision board to get new focus and I’m going to maybe even sign up for a few life coaching sessions. In the mean time I share with you (and journal for my own sake) the great info from Day 17!

Mar20.2016 Vision BoardYou can’t predict the future or change the past. You can choose to be optimistic in the present moment and believe that everything happens for a reason. Even if something appears “bad” now, you do not know what positive outcome might eventually come from it.

Negative Drinking Thinking

Pay attention to what your negative self-talk sounds like to you. Your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all connected. Think of what “traps” you may be using that often lead back to self-loathing and anxiety-perfectionism, negative labeling, generalizing, deletion, jumping to conclusions, exaggeration/minimization, emotional reasoning, should statements, personalization, or mind reading. These traps cause you to focus on the problems and challenges of drinking, and not on the desire and ability to thrive in sobriety.

Turn Your Lights On

You fix a dark house by turning on a light, not trying to push the dark away. Instead of trying to push away your negative thoughts, replace them by choosing to think of something more positive. Soon there will be no room left for dark thoughts. To get rid of negativity, focus on being optimistic, and practice positive expectation and positive self-talk. Just like entering a dark house (negativity), you can get rid of the darkness by turning on the lights (optimism).Always focus on what you want, have positive expectations that you will get it, and assume that everything that happens to you happens for a reason.

Negative Thinking Traps:

Perfectionism – Nothing will ever be perfect – so don’t set yourself up for failure “good enough is good enough”

Negative Labeling – Avoid labels – you are not a drunk – drinking is something you do, not who you are. A failure is something you experience, not who you are.

Generalizing – “I always” .. “I never” … “I’ve tried everything” – using the word ‘only’ – focus on specifics – exactly when and where to you feel uncomfortable, get anxious and drink? Then use that information to shift your behaviour. You haven’t tried everything and there’s not one ‘only’ way to do things … keep working at it.

Deletion – only remembering the positive experiences of drinking and ignoring the negative experiences and consequences. This is called euphoric recall – the father away you are from the pain of drinking, the harder it is to abstain

Jumping to Conclusions – assuming things will turn out badly. It is important to recognize that every event or situation is unique and different, and stay open to what is happening in the moment.

Exaggeration / Minimization – exaggerating the ‘bad’ things in your life and minimize or fail to celebrate the good – FLIP this around! Exaggerate the positive and minimize the negatives.

Emotional Reasoning – getting caught up in negative emotions and assume they reflect the way things are. Acknowledge that emotions are temporary and can be changed. Recognize what makes you feel the way you do – and change the false logic that created those feelings.

Should Statements – Replace should with the word WANT

Personalization – viewing yourself as the cause of the events

Mind Reading – Guessing what someone else is feeling or thinking – when in doubt check it out – don’t assume

Honest self-observation dissolves pains and pressures that formerly did their dreadful work in the darkness of unawareness. This is so important I urge you to memorize and reflect upon the following summary: Detection of inner negativity is not a negative act, but a courageously positive act that makes you a new person.

~Vernon Howard, author

 

Waves of Emotions

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Being ‘human’ is not always easy. I was doing so well last month and then on Feb 23rd I got hit with the WORST virus ever! February is historically a really tough month for me with a lot of triggers and I managed to get by them .. until I got hit with the ear infection and the bronchitis and it just wore me down.

I was off work from Feb 25 (7 days) – returned just this Monday. This time of year is when so many deadlines are coming and then my mind starts racing… ‘can I really do all this stuff I intend to do’. It’s performance evaluation time… it’s annual report time… I have to teach again … all things I should be excited about but all of a sudden I’m feeling like I’m not sure I can pull this off.

I don’t know if it’s because of an incident that happened through work where I was only trying to do good and it got blown out of proportion and political leaving me to feel/question if I should even bother to continue. I managed the incident and turned it around – but it makes me question future efforts.

Because I’ve been so sick I haven’t been keeping up with my goals of working out and reading and I’m using the booze to manage the stress… so my plan is this… take this week to basically feel everything out – allow my human heart to BE. I have joined another challenge that starts on Monday and aiming to gear up to that and give it a good solid 4 weeks of 100% effort before my trip to Barbados.

I have so many HUGE life changes coming … and it’s got my mind racing. Ironically – it’s good stuff but I am still scared and questioning if I’m really truly ready. So here I am online for the first time … journaling and being present. My blogging helps me to process…. and sometimes your feedback helps me too.

So here’s to one step forward….

A look at my TRUE Self…

Thanks Bizi for this reminder… because I’m feeling as good now as I did then… I had a bump in the road in 2015 with major stressors that made it so my weight went up and my AF days went down. 2016 will be a healthier year with more AF days again!

Lose 'da Booze

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I took this pic of myself on Saturday March 15th, 2014… a day where I was feeling really GOOD about myself. There’s been this trend on Facebook about posting no makeup selfies… so I did this one… and then today, I posted it again and a friend told me ‘not fair – not a true selfie’ and I wondered why she would say that?!

In my own view and perspective – this is absolutely reflective of my natural self right now. Comfortable in my skin – despite my efforts to keep pushing to improve.

I managed to do 20 days AF and tonight I’m having drinks – even though I had committed to a full month AF… why? Well because it just felt right. It’s been an amazing month. I am having drinks tonight not because I’m stressed or trying to numb anything, but simply want to enjoy a few… I…

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Positive Thoughts

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I didn’t make my 30 days in February (to March 1st) but pleased with reaching 26 days in a row AF. I do not consider this a failure by any means because last year – the most AF days I had in an entire month (and just ONE month) was 10 days.

I will continue reading the amazing book The 30 Day Sobriety Solution (next chapter is 17) and when I get back from Barbados – I will try again for the 30 days in a row. Until then – I’m going to be mindful with the lessons I’ve learned and I will aim for minimal 20 days per month. My goal has always been to be at 20 to 25 days per month AF.

I have been sick for over a week – so being AF has been easy… but I’m anxious to be healthy again so I can be active again and more on track with my daily practices. The past week has been spent mostly sleeping.

I loved this quote generated by one of those Facebook apps… and these words: “You have already been through a lot in life, but it has made you who you are today! These experiences are leading the way for your and have made your personality incredibly strong. You don’t let anything get in your way, which is why others can always count on your support! We’re so glad you’re here! “

I’m so thankful for the lessons I’ve learned along the way.. and very hopeful about my future!