For years my life revolved around drinking and during those dark times I DID in fact have a routine. However, it was a routine which consisted of just two things. Drinking and getting hold of more drink. It was a truly awful way too live but at that point I could not see a way out.
I was terrified of the withdrawals and I had lost all hope. ‘Wake up and drink, go out and get more drink before the withdrawals take hold. Drink again. Repeat.’ Just thinking about those times makes me feel sick, but they are memories I never want to forget. They are now fuel to my recovery.
So that was my sole destroying routine back then. Nowadays, I use a completely different routine to my advantage, and it has become a cornerstone of my fight back against alcohol addiction.
A good routine is essential to me not falling off the wagon. Its such a strong platform to work from in recovery. The routine I have now gives me stability. It consists of things that give me a sense of worth, normality and accomplishment. Not to mention the fact that I get enjoyment from doing them.
Work, exercise, walking my dog, spending time with my family, playing football on a Sunday and writing this blog are all strong players in my routine. They are all significant to my recovery. I don’t allow myself to have to much time doing nothing. That’s not to say I don’t have time to relax, but I know when I’m going to the gym next and I know that I’m going to walk my dog every day at around 5:30, so there is always something planned.
One of the biggest mental hurdles I struggled to get over, and one of the main reasons I used to use to relapse, was that I felt I had not accomplished anywhere near enough. All these things in my routine give me the feeling that I am accomplishing something. They make me feel like I am making progress and taking steps forward.
It is so important that you apply things to your routine which give you a feeling of accomplishment. Whatever they may be. This will be different for everyone, but once you work out what works for you it will become a potent tool in your recovery.
During my drinking days and at the beginning of my recovery I felt I had lost my sense of worth, I didn’t feel ‘normal’ and I felt I had accomplished nothing. With the help of a routine that works for me I now feel the complete opposite about all these things.
I still feel I have lots left to accomplish and I know I am not ‘normal’ (what is normal anyway?), but I am happy and on the right path, making progress every day. And most importantly I am not drinking, and my routine is a big part of that.
Thanks for reading, Toby.