By Rose Lockinger
One of the blessings of sobriety is that you get a full and busy life. Whereas many of us during our active alcoholism or addiction did nothing and just sat around getting high and watching TV, once we are sober we become productive members of society. We may pursue higher education, or careers that we love, or settle down and start a family, or all three, because sobriety allows us to do these things.
Yet, with all of these blessings come a level of stress that can be very difficult to handle at times. I know for myself I am currently experiencing that. I got my massage therapist license recently and I am attempting to juggle that with my writing, my recovery obligations, my friends, and oh—most importantly, raising my two children.
It can be too much sometimes and I find that there are days when I feel paralyzed by all that I have on my plate. I look at what my day consists of and I get lost for a minute or two in fear. I get all worked up to the point where I almost don’t know where to start or how to deal, and then on top of that, there is this little voice in my head saying, ‘You’re going to fail.’ This is when I realize the importance of a sober support system and how grateful I am for the people that make up mine.
So while I am grateful that I have such a full life today, sometimes I just wish that I didn’t. I wish that I had more hours in the day to complete everything or I wish that I just was better able to handle the stress of it all. But then when I was talking to a friend the other day about this, he reminded me that I was probably being too hard on myself and that I appeared to be handling things a lot better then I thought. He said that regardless of how I felt, I am showing up and I am completing everything that I need to, so how bad could I really be doing?
When he said this it reminded me of something that someone told me a few years ago. They said that God will show us the time we need in the day. He was referring to the fact that when he first got sober, all he could handle was working a few days a week and going to meetings everyday. Then after a little while he added a couple of college courses into that and though at first he was overwhelmed, he eventually learned to handle this load, and so he kept adding and building, until he wound up being a full time student with a full time job and yes it was a lot but he was able to handle it. He just had to adjust to it.
So I guess I am just in the adjustment period right now, learning to navigate everything that I have in my life, but just understanding that doesn’t really make it easier in the present moment. I still wake up and feel my mind racing towards the countless things that I have to get done and so I have started to do little things to try to ease my feelings of being overwhelmed. I have to start to try to implement them into my day to day life and hopefully they will help.
I have decided that when I am feeling completely overwhelmed, I have to press pause. I have to take a step back and stop what I am doing and just take a few deep breaths. This is important because I find that when I get all worked up I started to breathe rather quickly, in shallow breaths and this makes me feel more nervous. When I start to feel this way I know it is time to get up from my desk or wherever I am and sit quietly for a moment and breathe.
It is sometimes hard to do this because I feel like I am locked into a schedule and that if I pause for even a minute everything will go awry, but this is usually never the case. And yes I am writing this next part out so that I can see it myself and hopefully remember it next time it happens. Nothing in life is so important that I need to drive myself nuts over it.
I have found that I mostly put too much pressure on myself. No one is expecting me to live up to the standards I have and no one is expecting me to be perfect, but I expect these things of myself and in doing so I just feel more overwhelmed. So I have decided to start to have realistic standards for what it is that I am doing. I am really trying to let go of my perfectionism and remember that my serenity comes first, above everything except my children, and that all of the things in my schedule can wait for a minute or an hour, if I need to get myself centered.
I have also decided that every once in awhile I need to take a mental health day. A day just for me, one where I can do whatever I like. This is really tough for me because I usually feel guilty if I do something like this, or I feel like I should be working on this or that, but I believe that it is important for me to reset every now and again. I need to take time for myself and if that means binge watching TV then so be it, or if it means going for a hike or just to the mall, that is fine as well, as long as it is something just for me.
Hopefully doing these things will help me in my feelings of being overwhelmed. I believe that they will and so if you are currently in a place in your sobriety where you feel completely overwhelmed, know that I get it, and hopefully some of the things I am doing will help you as well.
-Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.