Tuesday, 22 September 2015

The Cycle Ends Now

While contemplating life this past Saturday night I suddenly realised that not only had I not blogged in almost a year (most writing still sitting in drafts or on pieces of paper laying next to my bed) it had been one week shy of a year since I tried quitting smoking. The scandal.

So much has changed and yet here I stand at this cross-road again.

What happened last time?

This time last year I made a feeble attempt that was soon squashed during a yoga class by fears that had plagued me all my life - the fear of being a focal point and not being "respectful" of others. What happened? I struggled to stifle a cough (my lungs trying to rid itself of the poison I had been puffing), of course being unable to and feeling like I had destroyed other people's zen time I decided cutting down to only smoking socially instead of going cold turkey would be a better option. It wouldn't be tough (I thought) since I had already been trying to not smoke at work and in my car (and mostly succeeding) . And it wasn't tough. Well, most days, <cough>, crazy deadlines.

Where am I now?

Over the course of this last year I have tried quitting multiple times, but this time I know there is something different about this. This time (I think and believe) it's for good. The only issue? Social events minus my crutch will be quite a bit more tricky. Combine social drinking and social anxiety and my crutch is really the only way I know how to "keep myself busy" when there's an awkward silence or I'm standing wishing the ground would swallow me whole because I don't know how to stand let alone speak because everything just feels wrong. How does one human again? Where are the animals for me to befriend?

What is the plan of action?

To get it right this time I will remove triggers and create a plan of action. This does not mean I will not be social, but it does mean that:
  1. Alcohol may only be consumed when and if I feel it will not be a trigger, i.e. on a "good social day". 
  2. I will not go out unless I am "feeling social" so as to prevent myself from being triggered.
  3. I will surround myself with friends who support my decision and will remind me in my times of need that I don't need my crutch.
  4. I will find a healthier way to de-stress, deal with social anxiety and so on and so forth (e.g. breathing exercises)
What are "good social days"?

I don't know if this makes any sense at all, but for me there are days when I find it easier to blend into the crowd and act "normal". Some days the anxiety I feel while socialising is less. It's the days when it doesn't make me feel like I'm about to puke because I have to talk to people. It's the days that I don't need, not want, but physically need, to disappear into my music because music doesn't judge. It's the friend that is always there and it always understands you. 

And so here we are...

It's time to end the cycle. I may just stop drinking again too, but that is yet to be decided. All that I do know is I'm 4 days clean from cigarettes (and alcohol) and during this emotionally heavy time in my life the best thing I can do is focus my energy on being good to me (whatever form that takes). If I take care of myself I will be better equipped to take care of my loved ones who need me to be strong for them and to support them in this tumultuous time. As someone very special to me said: "let their karma be their karma". And so it was done. Or at least attempted. 

Over and out.



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