How To Stop A Downward Spiral

I was feeling this today… that feeling of caving in and just not making it through the day sober – going through the motions and actions that lead to me feeling very SHITTY the next day. I craved drinks today – for what reason? Well – just because – I feel alone, I am bored, I don’t know what to do with myself and I am restless. The booze calms me and gives me ‘that’ to do. So I went to three liquor stores today – walked in two – held the bottle in my hand in one and walked out… then to the third – I kept stalling, driving around the block until finally I went and as I suspected, I killed enough time to get there and it was closed.

Now tomorrow is another story as I was invited to a BBQ and they don’t know my issue and they are people who have been incredibly supportive for me with my daughter and I honestly don’t know that I will be able to say no (I tried to message saying that I wouldn’t be drinking because I wanted to lose weight and he said – go on the wagon on Tuesday). So while I’m here trying to change my booze habit – I am also trying to lead a normal life and so I want to be able to handle these kinds of situations – have a few drinks and then come home to get back in the sober car without it spiralling into that want/need/search for the next drink.

I used to be able to have a few drinks once a week and it was just that. Now I use it more as a way of ‘calming my nerves’ when in fact the after effect adds to my issues (the guilt, the spending of money I don’t really have to spend). As I write this out – I see my issue in that I can’t buy the stuff and have it at home. I have tried before to commit to just drinking at social events/outings and no booze at home and so do I do that tomorrow or do I stick to my plan and say ‘no’… because I will be honest, right now I’m not sure I can say no tomorrow after the cravings I had today.

I joined the 100 day challenge and failed. I still email Belle and tell her about my plan to try to ride the sober car again and she’s as always ‘ever’ there (you’re incredible Belle).

And so with my day today, this email came into my inbox about how to stop a downward spiral – pretty good timing I’d say… It was taken from Cheryl Richardson’s Newsletter but thought it would be good to share here.

How to Stop a Downward Spiral

We all have those days when life hands us one frustration after another, as though we’ve been possessed by some kind of negative force that brings mayhem to even the simplest tasks.  I’m sure you know what I mean.  You’re running late for a meeting at work when your child’s school calls to say your little boy is sick.  You grab your paperwork on the way out the door, trip and drop the files all over the parking lot, curse yourself and rush to the car (and of course, you can’t seem to get the key in the ignition fast enough). Finally, on your way to pick up your son, you get stopped for speeding and realize that you left your wallet back at the office. By this time it feels like you can’t do anything right.

Sometimes the tailspin begins with something small like an upsetting phone call or an e-mail that pushes your buttons. One moment everything seems fine, and the next thing you know, your mood has quickly taken a turn for the worse. Fortunately there are things you can do to change your mental direction. 

When you find yourself feeling out of sorts, try one of the following actions and see what happens:

1. Clear the air. Do something to shift your energy.  Take a shower, change your clothes, or tidy up your office.  If you’re at home, vacuum the living room, open a window, or even change the sheets on your bed.  As you take these simple actions, imagine yourself clearing energy that might be fueling the bad cycle.

2. Get into motion.  One of the quickest ways to change your mental state is to get up and move your body.  For example, when you’re feeling overwhelmed, resist the temptation to work even harder to get organized. Instead, take a brisk walk or go for a bike ride.  You might even stand up in your office and do thirty jumping jacks.  Be sure to shut the door first   .   

3. Shift your thinking.  Shift your negative thoughts to positive ones as quickly as you can.  Recall a favorite childhood song and start singing it out loud (Trust me, “Row, row, row your boat” or “Twinkle, twinkle little star” will make you laugh and feel better).  Or, you could pick up an inspirational book, open to any page and start reading out loud.  For some people, taking a nap can do the trick.  Sometimes it helps to shut down your mind for a while so you can wake up feeling refreshed and clear-headed. I’ve been doing this lately and it works wonders!

4.  Put on some music.  There’s nothing that shifts my mood quicker than music.  I still remember the days when I felt stuck or anxious while writing “Take Time for Your Life” and I’d put on the “Mambo Kings” and dance around my office.  The wild rhythms were like a secret prayer that calmed my mind and raised my spirits.

Finally, while there are many things you can do to shift a temporary bad mood, sometimes we need to honor the fact that a low mood may be an indication of something deeper.  For example, if you’ve experienced a recent loss, you may need to have a good, long cry.  Or, if you feel frustrated or angry about a negative pattern in an important relationship, you might need to rant and rave before engaging in a discussion with your loved one.  Just like a wound that needs time to heal, sometimes a downward spiral is an indication that your heart needs space, rest, or the loving support of someone who cares.  Be that someone for yourself, first!

So we’ll see where I will be tomorrow… Closing Day 2 sober…

4 thoughts on “How To Stop A Downward Spiral

  1. I’m glad that you didn’t get anything from the store. They don’t sell anything that you need, my friend 🙂

    As for the BBQ – it’s up to you to protect your sobriety. I always say – your sobriety is more important than a few hurt feelings. Taking a pass is always an option. We make it seem like we HAVE to be at Frank’s retirement party or Tina’s weekend tupperware and wine fest. We don’t. And it doesn’t have to be a big explanation. Or, a simple “no thanks” if someone offers you booze.

    Anyway, I am thinking of you and hope you continue on your journey. Recovery / sobriety is such a wonderful thing 🙂


    • losedabooze says:

      Thanks Paul – and I guess my problem is I don’t view myself as in ‘recovery’ but rather in a mode of trying to figure out where all of this fits for me. Do I need to quit completely for good – when deep inside I really don’t want to but yet I read others who have done it and how great they feel. It’s an ongoing battle and with my being kind of in a fragile state – I worry about tomorrow, but want it to be a good day as it will be the last day with both my daughters before my oldest leaves for Florida the next morning and I go back to work after being off on stress leave for 1 week and 2 days…

  2. Emm C says:

    If you must have an excuse, tell them you had an abnormal liver function test & they are repeating it later this week. Doctor said no alcohol for several weeks before the test. What ever it takes, do it. Your daughters will really appreciate their time with you.

    I just tell people I don’t like the way alcohol makes me feel, that I want to experience life with all my faculties in top running condition, & I hope they support me in that decision. The last part usually stops them in their tracks.

    • losedabooze says:

      I can’t do the liver test excuse as I used another one already and it didn’t work. I may just say I had to take some meds for my ‘migraine’ that don’t mix with booze. We’ll see how today goes.

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