JOURNAL ENTRY: Thursday 11 August 2016

Today has been a day of progress.

It took me about 90 minutes to get to sleep last night and I woke up at about 04:20 again feeling a little bit spaced out, again. I went to the loo, put my audio book back on and managed to get to sleep again pretty quickly.

I woke up again before my alarm went off at about 06:45 and went back to sleep. I then work up just before my alarm went off and dozed in and out of sleep whilst the radio was on. I then woke up at 09:05, just as the radio went off and after 10 minutes of contemplation, I decided to listen to my audio book again for the next hour. During this time my anxiety began to rise and I started to get heart burn.

Note to self: There is a pattern emerging – lying in bed after I have woken up seems to increase my anxiety. Try getting up instead!

I had taken my medication as soon as I woke up, so I’m wondering if the Fluoxetine has something to do with my anxiety rising shortly afterwards?

After an hour or so of listening to Zen and the Art of Motor Cycle Maintenance, which I am finding highly entertaining and educational, I swung my legs out of beg and did my daily morning meditation.

I was introduced to a slightly deeper noting technique, whereby I note my distraction as either a thought or a feeling, but then also note whether it is a positive, negative or neutral distraction. I must admit I found this useful, as it made me realise that my interpretation of my thoughts is just as important as the thoughts themselves. Something that I have used throughout today.

I then proceeded to make myself my porridge recipe, which now includes slightly more milk and a banana. It seems to make about twice the quantity of porridge and really does keep my blood sugar levels stable for the next few hours.

I’ve eaten smaller portions more frequently today and that also seems to have kept my blood sugar and mood pretty stable.

These are all things that I need to remain mindful of, as prolonged period without food is not good for my mental health, neither is eating anything that will mess with my glycemic index, like processed foods, sugar and artificial chemicals.

I decided not to shave my head or face today, as there are a couple of small nicks on my scalp and I thought it better to give my skin a rest. I did convince myself to shower though, as I was pondering on having a more lazy day. I’m glad I chose to make the effort.

After a quick glance through The Gentle Path, I made a couple of phone calls and then set upon the A.A. Big Book. Things started to make sense again. I continued reading.

After a couple of hours I decided to make a couple more phone calls. I called my sponsor and a couple of other guys that I haven’t phone before. I didn’t get through to them, but the fact that I picked up the phone and left messages was good enough for me today.

After a short but worthwhile conversation with my sponsor, I went back to reading the Big Book. However, this time, on the advice of my sponsor I took a pen and notepad and started to write down my moral inventory as my character defects popped into my head.

This seemed to make the task easier, as I wasn’t trying to think of things, I was simply letting them come and go and writing them down as they did. This was kind of like the noting technique from the meditation, as I was realising that something had popped in, realising it was a negative character trait and then literally noting it down.

I got so far as the bottom of the page by the end of the day, which is by no means exhaustive, but is a good starter for ten.

One thing that has been happening today is the continuation of this strange sensation, like how I felt this time last year. I’m not sure if its the medication, my willingness to admit I have a problem, working the program, embracing a Power greater than myself or a combination of some or all of the above and possibly more. Either way, it’s that feeling that reality is changing in front of me, bit by bit and I’m seeing things in a whole new light, again.

One realisation from today has been that I definitely need to be more mindful of my anxiety and the underlying fear that I carry round with me. I’m sure enough now, from all my recent experience, that I suffer almost continuously with hypervigilance. I’ve never noticed it before because for me, it’s normal.

It completely explains why I struggle to remain present the whole time. It’s because I’m in a constant state of fear and anxiety, yet almost my entire life I’ve been completely oblivious to it.

This also seems to explain the low latent inhibition. Because I’m constantly in a state of fight or flight, I’m constantly looking at my surroundings and reevaluating them the whole time. No wonder I feel tired almost all the time, it’s because I’m scared half to death and my brain is constantly working on overdrive.

This is quite a scary realisation, as it’s so ‘normal’ to me, that I had no idea I suffered from it. I wonder how many other people suffer from it and also have no idea? I’ve heard people talk about it plenty, but never joined the dots together…

This also explains my alcoholism, because that first drink or two really helps relax my head and stops me overthinking everything. It of course doesn’t last and makes things twice as bad the following day, but as I read through the Big Book today and as I started piecing all this together, I started to relax. Phew!

I also managed to convince myself that I am an alcoholic again. My addict brain had convinced me that I wasn’t, but as I read through the Big Book, it became undeniable that I have had a drinking problem. Part of my anxiety comes from the fact that I have started to entertain drinking alcohol again. For whatever reason, and I don’t feel any compulsion to dig any deeper as to the reason why, but when I open that door and allow myself to drink, my mind takes overs and the insanity begins. Simple as!

It’s as if my head is always looking for something better, the next best thing, rather than being calm and peaceful. The only time I get any peace is when I give in and indulge in my addictions, like chocolate or alcohol, but that peace never lasts.

Today I received a great amount of peace and serenity as I finally came to terms with the fact that I need to cut alcohol out of my life for good. But I’m also pleased to remind myself that I only need to do this one day at a time, rather than make a life long commitment that puts too much pressure on me.

I’ve really enjoyed working my program today. I’ve identified once again with the program of A.A. and realised that I need to remain focused on this just as much as anything else.

I like the idea that it is just one program and that I only need to work 12 steps, but that I can be mindful of everything as I work those steps. I think the best way for me is to focus on ‘myself’ as the problem, and that includes sex, food, work, alcohol and co-dependency. I’m sure there will be other things that I will become aware of in the future, but lets not go looking for trouble.

Most importantly, I have started to feel the presence of my Higher Power at work again. As I’ve begun to trust in the program again, I’ve been reminded of the feeling of belonging to something. Simply identifying with A.A. and accepting I do have a drink problem has been a huge step forward, as it feels like my delusion is slowly starting to fade as my denial crumbles under the light of my own honest truth.

I’m actually going to bed tonight and looking forward to waking up and reminding myself of what a productive day I have had, in order to see if I can pull myself into fuller consciousness quicker than I have been doing over recent weeks and months. I finally feel like I’ve got a reason to get up in the morning.

Today feels good to be me and I feel good to be alive. I haven’t been able to say that in a while 🙂

PS: Remember – if I don’t want to make phone calls to my recovery buddies, then something is wrong!!! MAKE PHONE CALLS!!!

PPS: My word for today is – AGAIN.

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