T total- Have you ever tried to stop drinking?

#getwellbrighton

So, it has been 18 days since I have had an alcohol drink. I haven’t had a beer with friends in the sun on the beach, no white wine spritzers if you know me so well, no extra dirty martini when I am feeling cheeky, no tequila chasers with lime, or red wine to warm my bones when it’s rainy and I am sitting all alone under the Habitat blanket watching The Bachelorette on ITV.

What has brought me to this conscious decision? I have been reflecting a lot on where I am going on this journey called life. I have created a wonderful life for myself and my children here in the UK. I don’t get to see my family, I have no support here and I do most of the parenting and raising my children on my own both emotionally and financially. At times in my life I have tried to escape this reality. I would numb the feelings of homesickness and failure with my favourite Beaujolais. I would be having such a great time with friends and going on adventures in ‘the city’ that I would never want to sleep.  When reflecting upon my past and how I have made most of my friends I would say that other than the friends I made in school and childhood, I had an extensive range of friends worldly that I have met out socially drinking while travelling. I am still friends with the motley crue after all, my journey and who I have crossed paths with have shaped me into the person that I am today.

Many of my friends do not have children and can live spontaneous and hedonistically as and when they please. I was able to be just like those friends before I had children. However, I was always someone who wanted to be different. I wanted to be the kind of parent that was married, had a consistent job, travelled and had family all around me. Unfortunately, I jumped head first and moved to the UK where life has taken me on a magic carpet ride.

At the darkest times I I always felt if I can’t beat them- join them. After all, #YOLO! People who drink surround themselves with people who drink. People who party surround themselves with people who party. Well, I used to be that party girl. I guess I still am that party girl at heart. But now, I am someone who has become very mindful of how drinking alcohol isn’t serving me. Having one glass of wine, leads to two and then the bottle is empty. A friend brings a bottle of Prosecco over and we have run out and need to get more. This lifestyle has been quite a bore; same routine, nothing exciting or new. I have also noticed that the aftermath of drinking makes me feel tired and lazy. I have recently learned that this 20 year old habit has been the ‘thing’ that has been holding me back in my life. The book I want to start writing- I didn’t get in till 4am- holding me back. The art class I want to show up to- I am feeling anxious- booze holding me back. Music that I need to finish writing- I can’t concentrate; too many brain cells frazzled- drinking too much has held me back. I always thought I was the one holding myself back. I thought it was some sort of emotional trigger from my childhood that was holding me back from doing the things I want to do and holding me back from my highest, most true potential self. It wasn’t me that was holding me back per say- it was the drinking and the behavioral patterns that I was establishing in my life that was holding me back.

I know all of these things about myself. And, I continue to search and learn more about myself. But, one thing that has really come to my attention are the friends that I keep, or should I say the people that I keep or have kept along my ‘party time’ journey. I have noticed a behavioural pattern in my life where most people I call family or friends are not anywhere close. And, this is no fault of their own. I thought that the people who I drink with and go out dancing with are my friends. They are not. They are ‘good time’ friends who only call when they want to go out. All my life I never released this. I don’t know why. I think when I first reflected existentially upon this idea my friends questioned me. They said that it wasn’t true.

However, if you tell someone how you feel, that they are not a friend who is there when you need them, and they walk away or turn it around back to you- your prediction is true. There are so many toxic people out there that disguise themselves as friends. And, sometimes these people come as party time shiftmakers. This has become one of the sole reasons I decided to stop drinking. I want to put out in the Universe the things I would like to attract. I want to attract more. I want to attract better. I want to attract ambition such as a reflection to my own. I want to attract a zest for life, love, art, music, travel and good food. I want to attract a higher vibration that I deserve. I was not attracting this higher vibration while sleeping with my eye mask past brunch. I want to wake up early and cease the day. I feel fantastic and have never felt so much energy. I have naturally shifted and have eaten better. Sure, I have replaced old habits with new such as the odd candy bar and coca cola. But, this too will be phased out when the timing is right. And, after all… sometimes life is all about timing.

I hope to share with you more about my journey and experiences as perhaps you might relate. I have lived a very interesting and fulfilling life and now is the time to share it with you. I am no longer wanting to Galvanize. I am so ready to Self-Actualize.

When telling people my intention of not drinking, I had such wonderful feedback. The true friendships oozed out of the cracks to introduce to me what true friendship looks and feels like. I had so many lovely people support me. So, thank you for those that have my back. I am lucky that you are in my life and I cannot wait to share my future adventures with you.

My journey is just beginning…

 

The World Cup and Managing Great Expectations

I, like many other people in England and around the world, spent a month watching the ups and downs, and the twists and turns, of a brilliant football World Cup. For me, what made it extra special was that the England team actually gave us something that it had lacked for many years – hope.

What was even more special was that it came out of nowhere. Going into the World Cup, nothing was expected from the England team. Getting to the quarter finals would have been a good achievement, but not an expectation.

The momentum that built up around the country was astounding – something which I have never experienced. With each win and positive media coverage, England could really start to dream that maybe their team could win. But did it matter?

Of course, we know now that England got to the semi-finals but were beaten in extra time. A cruel, devastating result, but one which that can be looked at with pride rather than with embarrassment.

Why? Because England exceeded expectations. The nation got caught up with the ride, but it was so much more than the football results. They had a manager who finally seemed to understand the role and what was needed from the players, as well as what the nation wanted from their team. A manager who showed passion, trust…and a very smart waistcoat.

For me, England’s World Cup gave a great example of what happens when expectations are low and they are exceeded; the joy is all the sweeter.

So if a person is seen to always be someone who exceeds in life – the one who does everything in the ‘perfect’ way – that is a lot to live up to. What happens when it goes wrong? Will this person know how to cope? Perhaps the way to deal with this is to stop expecting great things from people who may just not achieve it. Better to aim high and expect middle as life can’t always be predicted.

Better to be like England 2018.

*Sarah Keeping is currently undertaking a Counselling Skills course in London and is looking to change her professional subject area to Counselling Psychology. Previous qualifications are in Investigative Psychology, Psychology, Applied Criminology, and Criminology and Sociology. Follow Sarah on twitter at @SKeeping_Psych

Jealousy: Can it be a good thing?

When people think about jealousy, it’s natural to assume that it’s only ever a bad thing. After all, we shouldn’t be comparing ourselves to others and should instead be happy with ourselves. If only this could happen so easily.

Thanks to social media, it has become increasingly difficult not to compare ourselves to others. But it’s easy to forget that people only put on social media what they choose to. It’s therefore not a realistic representation of their lives.

I have been thinking recently about how jealousy has the potential to be used as a positive; as a way of highlighting what you really want in life and in turn enabling someone to make the changes in their life in order to achieve it.

It can be so easy to just carry on with the way life is because it’s easier than trying something different and possibly failing. But what if you see someone else achieve their goals? Can it not make you feel as though you can also achieve yours?

Not all type of jealousy is so easily rectified though. If you’re jealous of the way someone looks or how much money they earn in comparison to you, this can’t always be changed. Therefore the way of combatting this jealousy is learning how to be happy with what you have in life, and unfortunately that’s not always as easy.

But turning jealousy into a positive can help create life goals and positive ways of changing. Jealously can perhaps be the mirror you hold up to your own life and realise what you want to change in order to be truly happy.

*Sarah Keeping is currently undertaking a Counselling Skills course in London and is looking to change her professional subject area to Counselling Psychology. Previous qualifications are in Investigative Psychology, Psychology, Applied Criminology, and Criminology and Sociology. Follow Sarah on twitter at @SKeeping_Psych