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…

 

Where do addictions come from and how do they manifest?

What is it about addictions? Where do they come from and how to they manifest?

Many psychologists think that it all stems down to attachment and The Attachment Theory. This is somewhat true I believe. However, there must be some greater reason why people have unhealthy addictions. There are many types of addictions: sex, drugs, exercise, food, gambling, unhealthy relationships and the list goes on. What if addictions are the result of not being able to express how we feel? What if addictions are the result of not being able to express how we feel growing up as children?

To grow up in an era where emotions and feelings were never discussed were quite troublesome for me. As a young person I always wanted to discuss how I felt, what was going on in my head and/or what I was confused about in life in general. That platform was never open for me. It was always like ‘oh, Jessica wants to talk about her feelings…’ and I was ridiculed and made fun of.

I could remember sitting at the dinner table as a child trying to teach my family that ‘why do we have to sit down at the kitchen table if we aren’t going to talk about how we feel?’ My eldest brother would make fun of me and then everyone would laugh. I learned how to suppress my feelings and not ever talk about my needs or my feelings.

As a grown up this has somewhat disabled me. It has disabled me in a way where, now, when I want to tell someone how I feel it can make me nervous, uneasy and somewhat anxious; almost ashamed of me feeling the way that I do.

As a therapist and all through out my training I have learned how to help people with these same issues. However, what about me? How can I help someone if I can’t help myself first? This is a common thing that many psychology students will face when they are starting school and deciding to major in psychology.

Psychologists are not to go into the field of psychology to learn about themselves I have been told. And, being the literal person that I am have taken that on board as it is not a selfless way of supporting and/or helping others.

But, how can we/I find the balance? And, how does this relate to addictions and to unwanted habitual behavior … whatever it is?

What if the theory is this…. people who have difficulty with addictions in their life have never been taught to deal with their emotions properly. People with addictions have never been able to cope with their emotions and therefore use drugs, alcohol. sex, gambling to escape these difficult feelings that must be digested.

No one wants to feel sad or feel sad. Although it is enlightening to be the rabbit hole for a short while I am not sure anyone wants to get stuck in the rabbit hole. But, how can we get out? How can we stop self-sabotaging ourselves? When we feel great and feel confident and alive someone may say something that brings us right back down into that hole. How can we shield ourselves from this or is it the impossible?

What are you thoughts? Why do you think people have addictions? Why do people get stuck in certain ways that can be harmful to others and harmful to oneself?

After all, if we are not growing as individuals… what are we actually doing in life? We are not meant to meander… or are we? I am not happy meandering….

Clearing Out the Clutter in your Life: Be the Change you Want to be.

Making changes is not easy.  It’s not easy to stop habits such as eating or drinking too much, smoking or doing anything in utter excess.  But, how can we stop the ups and downs of the addiction see-saw?

When I was younger and at university, our professors taught us that the only way to kick a bad habit was to quit it ‘cold turkey.’  This method works, but you need to have willpower and discipline.  I have this…if I set my mind to do something- I will do it! (That’s self-affirmation by the way!) You need to be willing to work through the fear and like Nike’s slogan boasts – just do it!

helpmechangemylifeHowever, I am sitting here drinking my second cup of coffee wondering if I poured myself a third cup would I be classified in the DSM-V as having ‘three out of five symptoms’ of having a coffee addiction.  I think that sometimes quitting cold turkey isn’t always easy as it sounds.

If cutting an excessive habit ‘cold turkey’ were easy, everyone would do it.  And, if obtaining balance of eating and drinking were easy there would be no diets, no Facebook quotes on how to obtain a balanced diet, and I wouldn’t be sitting here reflecting on how to obtain balance in the crazy world of eating, drinking and partying.

But how do we obtain balance in our life?  How do we kick the bad habits, move forward, and become healthier, stronger, and happier?

Start by de-cluttering your life. De-clutter your mind, your room, your house, your friends, and/or whatever it is you think you need to de-clutter in order to take the next step of moving forward with your life.

You’ve read about toxic people – get rid of them.  You are a hoarder and you have too much dusty ornaments- clear it out – take that bric-a-brac to your local charity.  Just do it! You want to quit smoking – clear out everything in the house that reminds you of smoking.  You think you drink too much – don’t have booze in the house.  Crisps are your Achilles tendon – don’t buy them.

[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7975tw0EJA]

You will be amazed at how de-cluttering will help you make those life changes you want to make.

If these tasks seem too simple, then you need to take it to the next level…finding out what makes you have these addictions.  Are you filling a void in your life?  Are you depressed?  Are you lonely?  Did you have a difficult childhood?  Do you suffer from anxiety?  Are you stuck in the cycle of addiction?  Do you have a rubber arm (my friends say this about me)? Whatever your ‘baggage’ is, there is a solution.  Every cycle can be broken.  It is up to you to start the process.