My mind in recovery is oftentimes much like a stand-up comedian. It’s constantly struggling to come up with new material in order to entertain an audience of one: myself. Thoughts are racing around in my head as I’m occupied with either issues of the past or cravings of that badly missed drink.
If this sounds a lot like the storyline going on in your own mind, know that you’re not alone. Here are 5 tips I have gathered over the years when it comes to the issue of honing my preoccupied, alcoholic mind.
1. Set a long-term goal.
A turbulent mind does not easily give way to serenity. For chaos to quiet down, I have found that something—anything—that engages me for a long period of time tends to bring intervals of peace.
2. Explore to the fullest.
Once an idea takes hold of me, I tend to thrive when I get to go with it to the end. If this is also the case for you, it might mean setting a long-term goal for completion that requires you to be thorough in your pursuit and completely focused.
3. Sign up for a class.
If you can find a class to educate yourself further on your goals, so much the better. Most classes will assign homework, which is good because deadlines are always an efficient way to force concentration. Also, a real classroom with real students is so much better than a virtual classroom as you’re able to bounce ideas off each other and help keep each other on track.
4. Structure your day.
Structuring my day tends to enhance my ability to keep to the agenda. I wake up and figure out what I want or need to accomplish before a noon break and then after the break for the rest of the afternoon. I don't structure time hour by hour, but by task. My schedule may look more flexible than some less fluid types can abide, but this works for me. There is certainly the option to schedule the day to take care of every minute of every hour if that's what structure means to you.
5. One thing at a time.
It is okay to have more than one goal at a time as long as the mind is not overwhelmed. Learn to know what the limits are for you then do not ever go beyond them. Also, limits are a moving target. As you get more comfortable with this process, you will find you can accomplish more in less time without becoming overwhelmed and frustrated. When this happens, raise your limits. If you must lower them again to avoid frustration, you have not failed, you have simply re-calibrated to avoid the turmoil that goes along with being overwhelmed and frustrated. You have won this round.
The alcoholic mind tends to be at once fragile and sturdy. You want to steer yours to the sturdy side to be able to overcome the struggles of recovery. As you know, recovery is a long, long journey without end, but certainly not without its rewards. By staying strong and avoiding frustrations, you will find that having a better handle of your alcoholic mind will lead to a much happier and more productive life for you and everyone around you.