Saturday, 28 February 2015

Running on the spot. A tie to something I no longer need.

I wrote last night about needing to make new challenges. Also about how easy it is to sound confident and full of beans sat here in front of this screen - it's my natural habitat after all. 

Translating it into real action is the tough part. But then that's been the story of my life. I talk a good game. "And I'm not what I appear to be." (One for The Beatles fans there.) 

Today was OK. Today contained nothing bad. I did some work. I did some sitting around. I watched some sport. Ate three decent meals and left the house no messier than it was before I started. 

I'm running on the spot. 

This is better than standing in a hole and digging. So I'm grateful for that. 

But I'd like to be moving forward again. 

It'd be easy now to type out a load of things I intend to do tomorrow and sound very good about it. I've got a long pattern of doing that. 

There are legitimate reasons behind that. Anxiety is a real thing, and I really suffer with it. I'm not making that shit up, there's no excuse there. These addictions I'm stepping away from are real too, and so are their after effects, so is the battle to take them on. That takes energy. Depression is real.

What's realistic and doable? That's what my counsellor would have asked me. What tasks can I set myself tomorrow that will make me feel better about myself? What can I do to recover tomorrow? 

I'm buggered if I can come up with an answer to that right now. 

I hope and intend to have a good day. I can do much as I did today: do some work, do some shopping, watch some sport. Cutting out the "just sitting around" would be good. 

I need to stop smoking too. It shouldn't be too hard. I've managed it before for a period of several months. 

Smoking is very big to me. Lighting up a cigarette is stupid, self-harming and wasteful. It's also one of the few things I did as a kid to assert my independence from my parents. In a way that's an independence I still need to assert - I expect many people have that experience.

However, smoking became something that became very tied into my idea of having an identity as an independent adult. I would like that independent, adult identity. But I don't need smoking any more. 

I need to find that identity in standing on my own two feet, looking after myself. In being a good partner to Mag, in protecting and providing. In walking tall in the knowledge that I am clean inside. (Sorry, I sound a bit like a politician.) 

That's not an excuse either. I can identify this tie intellectually. I can know that smoking is stupid. But ideas like that, formed over long, difficult periods when I was young, vulnerable and malleable are very deeply set. 

In the end though, they can be beaten. Despite the strength of tie, it's still just a behaviour, a learned behaviour. And a learned behaviour can be unlearned. 

Do you know? Even just typing about giving up smoking makes me feel a little sad and grieving. It's hard to let go of part of your identity. It was one of the big struggles of my stopping drinking - as a drinker I was someone, a good pubman, a bit of a barroom wit, hell, even a quiz champion from time to time. 

And smoking's a tie to that too. A pair of old identities that need to be shed. 

I'm convinced that chucking away tobacco and lighter and emptying this house of ashtrays will be a very major step forward in my recovery. 

And right now, I'm not quite ready to do it.