I Miss My Drink, I Feel Blue – Tips for Coping
Loss, deprivation, lack of gratification, change — these sensations and situations affect all of us at one time or another. But those who are seeking or sustaining sobriety may encounter them more often. These negative stirrings tend to run rampant during trying times, especially with COVID-19 as a backdrop. The isolation and other restrictions imposed by this health crisis may trigger episodes of melancholy. Accept that this may occur and be prepared for coping with it. How? Here are several tips to use to counteract the blues.
Take One Day at a Time
“One Day at a Time” was not only the name of a television sitcom. It’s also a motto to live by and take to heart. This philosophy revolves around the principle of small steps – one by one. Today may be a tough. But that’s today. As rough as it is, it will fade, as the present becomes the past and opens the possibilities for tomorrow. Things will start anew and, with it, come prospects for a better time. Push through this difficult patch with as much diversion and peace as possible. This too shall pass and pave the way to a new dawn.
Focus on Victories
When a sinking feeling begins to take hold, set your sights in the other direction – upwards. There’s a lot to think about to move toward that end. Deciding to stop drinking and then getting there is a major accomplishment. Staying the course for however long is yet another milestone. These hard fought achievements mount up every day. Embrace them. Savor them. Remember to start this victory march at the very first point, which is when the acknowledgement of a problem and commitment to stop occurred. Changing behavior requires discipline and power – other pluses. Take inventory and mine all of the good that has transpired to date.
Go on a Treasure Hunt
When dreary feelings emerge and threaten to sour the spirit, seek the solace of a specially prepared treasure box. Find a suitable holder, stock it in advance and have it handy for a time such as this. What should be in it? Include passages from books, poems, articles, shows or movies that are of significance and comforting. Assemble feel good photos of loved ones, loved animals, keepsakes, cartoons, bloopers and whatever elicits a warm emotion and smile. Write and record playlists on uplifting themes or issues that have deep meaning. Keep this toolkit in the same place and refresh it often as a work in progress.
Acknowledge Mixed Blessings
Understand that it’s not all good times or bad in life, but rather a little of each. Joy and grief can coexist and they do. It’s like the idiom “Take the good with the bad.” Accept both the negative and positive aspects on the path to recovery. This road is not without its bumps. Expect them. But despite the occasional unpleasantness and hiccups along the way, this journey leads to a more healthful and desired outcome. Come to terms with conflicts. It’s a means to be able to appreciate the good emotions.
Sometimes it’s of value to speak with someone to help break the mood and gain insight into the source of a disturbance. Contact a friend or family member. This should be someone to confide in with an objective ear, who will provide sound feedback and support. Similarly, reach out to a sponsor. Make an appointment with a professional therapist. Attend an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting or several meetings to participate in the proceedings and discuss the distress. Just taking any of these actions may lift the gloom. Action is a great healer in itself.
Going back to where we started, remember that everyone feels sad on occasion. It is not the exclusive domain of someone in recovery – it’s universal. Feelings come and go. Work through the challenging ones with these and other suggestions. Desired goals and great rewards are in the offing.