This is a little personal congratulations and an acknowledgement of something that is of significance to me, and that is the fact that I have and am in the process of leaving behind some lifelong habits and addictions.
They are mostly small things (i.e. not exactly heroin!) but the fact that I’m dropping them means something I think in terms of some progress being made inside. I suppose at the very least it shows that I’m less needy of grabbing ‘antidotes’ to feeling pain. I want to be encouraging to myself here and remind myself of my progress and say an encouraging well done, which I forget to do at times.
Alcohol has been a big important one. My daily friend for years, from excessive amounts at peak stress 8 or 9 years ago with a boozy boyfriend to a more disciplined habit of a few drinks a night. Still a habit though. Buying 4 mixer drinks a night so I couldn’t indulge the ‘more’ urge which seemed to come after a few drinks. And I’d buy 5 or 6 on weekend nights as an extra treat. Not enough for a headache the next day but enough for a good tipsy buzz.
I used an excellent app at first as I was highly psychologically dependent on the idea of a ‘treat’ at the end of each day, something to look forward to. So the app helped give me the support me break that. Got to the 100 days alcohol free and started again then kind of lost interest. And that was that. I knew I could due to the dry January I’d do each year which helped. Tried a drink a few more times at family meals, quite repulsed by the taste and not interested in feeling tipsy so then it was easy. Said I said yes a few times socially and now say no every time. Absolutely not. It’s like poison to me now.
Nail biting. A very long time one, this habit. On my 2nd birthday baby book there’s a note that ‘she bites her nails’. With an exclamation mark. And I did it ever since till about 2 years ago. It was the source of much shame to me through the years that I was unable to stop it and that my nails looked ugly. I’d hide them and never have them on display.
Then I found a nail technician who said she would stop me biting them and started putting some gel on that I’d get renewed every few weeks till mine grew. It worked and while I still feel the urge to nibble, I have nice long nails I enjoy looking after now. No more ashamed of hands and a big lifelong habit broken.
Comfort eating. Another regular go to. I spent the last 10 years or so till a year ago being about 14 pounds over what is my healthy weight range. A bit on the heavy side, not obese but definitely plump. I didn’t like the feel of it or the look of it, or how clothes looked. And now I just don’t nibble or graze when I’m bored or anxious. I just don’t feel like it now. So I’m at a very healthy weight, about 9 and a half stone. A few extra pounds still but I’m fine with it for my age. And I can go further to reduce unhealthy food by taking out sweet things. Maybe that’s next.
Honey/sugar in Tea. I’ve had this habit since 2000 and a couple of months ago I just stopped it. Again it was I think largely psychological, part of the ‘treat’ of having a comforting cup of tea. It amounted to quite a lot of honey each week, a jar at least as I drink 10+ cups a day of tea. Don’t notice any lack or difference now and saving on unnecessary calories.
Nicotine. This is my real big lifelong habit. I was brought up by heavy smokers, and I started at 14. And in 2014 changed to vaping and been on that since. Still addicted. Stopped last year, was easy, then started. Again it was the psychological addiction. Which I still have. So now I’m weaning right down on nicotine content and at the point where there isn’t much nicotine at all in the liquid. It’s just a crutch of a repetitive activity. This is next to go and its one that evokes fear but think it will go quite soon.
Caffeine. Not a big deal but I must have been taking in a lot with over 10 cups a day. I change to decaffeinated tea to see if it would help reduce anxiety. I’m not sure it has but it’s good to be another substance less and free of another habit. (Still enjoy a can of Red Bull though!)
Social Media I’m at the start of my journey with this one. It’s importance reached new heights during the pandemic. I deleted the Facebook app and am dealing with the withdrawals from that right now. The disconnect from hearing others news and feeling less involved is feeling odd but staying with it to see what happens. I deleted a lot of who I followed on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Only largely positive influences now.
Mainstream News. Had enough of it and barely ever look now. Mainstream news to me is no longer a trustworthy source of information, and actually I don’t really care about reading every detail about things going on that don’t concern or interest me. That goes for mainstream TV and films.
People Any company used to be better than no company for me. What an exhausting way that was to live. I’m weaning myself off the neediness. I’m acknowledging the very human need to be with others, and quality counts. I am experimenting with being less available. So far it’s fine.
So that’s it, small steps in a consistent direction of freeing myself. As I learn how to be with my fear and disturbed emotions as they arise and practise being nurturing and kind towards them, the need for crutches drops off. I’m feeling good about it, an achievement.