Monday, December 17, 2007

Relax!


The entire time I lived in my addiction (and even BEFORE I began gambling) I was high-strung....I didn't know how to relax....or to 'calm myself down' for that matter.

I went from one crisis to the next...and...any 'issue' that arose...I managed to turn into a full-blown tragedy (even if only in my mind).

Many times, the 'issues' were of my own making....yet I would repeat the behavior over and over and over again (being LATE for example)...stressing myself out...as if it were a life and death situation...ok...so it's not cool to be late..but...if it was THAT important to me....if it upset me so much....why would i be late (for whatever I had to do) the next day and the next and the next?

The first thing I decided to do after stopping gambling was to become AWARE (to the best of my ability) of what was going on with ME at any given time.

I was so out of touch with who I am and how I feel....

sooooo....many times a day....any time I'd think about it...I'd ask myself...how am I feeling?

My list of 'feeling words' was rather short....it consisted of good, bad, angry, sad, happy, tired, hungry, lonely, excited.......that was basically it....so...my first task was to remove 'good' and 'bad' from my list of available words...and find better descriptors.

Using google, I found all sorts of lists of 'feeling words' that have been helpful to me in this new task :)

Some things in recovery just sound corny...and....this is one of them...but...for some reason....NAMING how I feel makes me feel GOOD...ummm......no lol ---- satisfied :) even if what I'm naming isn't such a good feeling...just being able to ACKNOWLEDGE that it's there...somehow changes it?

anyway.....one of the things that I discovered (ok...so I can be pretty dense sometimes) is that I was sooooooo uptight...almost ALL OF THE TIME!!!

While driving my car, my hands were often gripping the steering wheel tight enough to give me calluses...my shoulders...my JAW..so tense, I was....often clenching my teeth even....I was almost always a bundle of nerves.

Getting to sleep was nearly impossible..there were so many things to worry about...

I just needed to learn how to STOP.

RELAX!

so.......

as often as I would think about it...I would take stock of how I felt (I was always uptight) and...conciously...relax....my eyes....my face...my shoulders...arms..hands...work my way down my body.

I find it easier to relax muscles if I first clench them as tightly as I possibly can....to relax my hand, for instance, I will make a tight tight fist...then release it..and relax...I do that with my face, my legs, feet, etc.

so.... i clench...and release...and take deeeeeep breaths.

but then...that's just the PHYSICAL stuff.

what I didn't realize

is how BUSY my MIND is!!!

ALWAYS...

once I started researching this recovery stuff...it seemed like EVERYONE was talking about meditating.

hmmmmmm

I'm not a new age kinda gal...but

hey

openmindedness, right?

H.O.W. Honesty, Openmindedness, Willingness

so......

I decided to give this meditating thing a shot.

It was amazing.

I don't do it daily...although I do not know why? I enjoy it...and it helps me??? perhaps is just one of those things...taking good care of myself...that I must insist i do...that I must COMMIT to...

I didn't know anything about meditating....but....the way I started was...I would sit comfortable..on the floor...my back up against the wall...and breathe...and commit to not moving....even if my nose itches...no matter what....let the external stuff just slip away.....I would close my eyes...and breathe deep...and do that relaxation thing....clench my face...then relax...two or three times....then my neck...shoulders...all the way down to my toes....

then

i try to think of NOTHING.

nothing at all.

blackness.

no thoughts.

it is AMAZING how busy my mind is..and..the NONSENSE that is going on there constantly..

it's hard...thoughts would creep in...and I would sort of get frustrated...even 'reprimand' myself...then focus again..on nothingness.

i would shoot for 15 minutes at first...of course, not having any idea how much time had passed...and sometimes i would do this for an HOUR!!

sometimes i would feel refreshed, but sometimes very tired...but always...it felt...satisfying...SOOTHING.

then...i started googling meditation.

i still like this 'clearing the mind' thing that I do...but...somewhere I read that...when thoughts DO enter the mind...it's OK...no need to fret....don't be upset with myself....acknowledge the thought...embrace it....let it go....and back to nothingness.

:)

i'd never meditated before...and hmmm I guess I was sort of ?embarrased? about it?? I mean... that's the sort of thing Buddhist MONKS do....not SOCCER MOMS!!!!

lol

well...this soccer mom thinks that the Buddhist Monks might have something she needs....

Peace.

Find ways to relax...find things that work for you...

Things that YOU can do to relax....without the aid of anyone or anyTHING else....take a walk, jog, listen to music...but....

No food, no drugs, no alcohol, no gambling.

Learning how to self-soothe is an important part of my 'new way of thinking and living'.

xo

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"Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it." -- Helen Keller

1 comment:

james26 said...

Hi PJ

It works!! well kind off, I tried a little meditation last night, just sat on my bed, emptying my mind even for a few moments - glimpsed a kind of peace. like always it takes discipline, like lifting weights or push-ups, you have to want to feel better, to feel good...

James (26)