That was the open mouthed shocked expression I gave my counselor more times than I care to count while in treatment. Which she all duly noted and wrote down. I get my summary from her next week. I'm sure it will be pock marked with, "Hope continues to be surprised that she is so sick in her thinking." I typed all that with a big grin this morning because after a while my being shocked ceased to surprise anyone, including me.
One of those shocking realizations was that I tend to think in terms of all or nothing. I learned every addict is an all or nothing person. Which makes me feel a bit better. I mean, who wants to be alone in their sickness? Want an example? All or nothing thinking looks something like this: "Oh, I just ate a piece of cake. Oh shit, I didn't mean to do that. Oh, what the hell I might as well eat the whole cake now that I've blown it." The kind of thinking I excel at. It's the same kind of thing that leads a person from one sip to an all out drunken binge in what can seem like 60 seconds flat. Or how about this one: "Darn, I missed exercising today. That means my whole exercise plan is shot. I might as well not exercise until (next week, next month, next year.)" Next year is my personal favourite.
I know it's possible to stop thinking like that. I'm hoping it gets easier soon. This morning I am sitting here with quite a few less spoons than I'd like because of wonderful all or nothing thinking I indulged in yesterday. What can I say? Old habits die hard.
I had an excellent session with my after care treatment counselor yesterday. For most of an hour we sat and discussed my treatment experience. Then came the hard work. The homework. The practical application of what I learned and what she expected me to do about it before I see her in two weeks. Talking about it, or typing about it for that matter, is so much easier and less risky than actually living it. Which was her point exactly. So before the next two weeks is over I get to choose one very big elephant in the closet situation in my life and bring the elephant out into the light. She showed me how to choose the timing by making sure neither I nor the other person involved is not Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired when I start the discussion. All she wants me to do before I see her in two weeks is acknowledge out loud to the other person there is a discussion to be had. Baby steps, Hope, baby steps. Which is far removed from my all or nothing thinking which in the past would have had me not only dragging that elephant out of the closet but getting to the other end of the discussion in one long
After my session I went shopping. One of my after care plans is to stop being a martyr and admit I have needs. Like adequate clothes. Today we have a wedding to go to of a close family member. I was able to find something yesterday so that when I look in the mirror at myself I can smile and feel comfortable and confident. I somehow have lost enough weight in the past month to drop two sizes in clothes. And in my all or nothing thinking that must mean I either have cancer or diabetes. See, it's just so darn easy to slip into that mode! Realistically dropping two sizes is what happens when I go from being a veritable sloth to moving at a much greater speed. Not feeding my feelings helps, too.
Last night, after a long day in town, I was on a mission to go for my evening walk. It didn't matter that my body was trying to tell me that really, Hope you've done enough walking for a day. How about a shower and bed, instead? Not me. Nope. In my all or nothing mentality I had to prove to my body that I could still go for my walk. Which I did. Which meant I fell into bed before 9 pm and which also means I am starting another long day without adequate spoons to get through it. Which also hopefully means that tomorrow I will have zilch to prove to my body and will settle for something that looks a lot different than all or nothing.
Can't you just picture my all or nothing mentality being greeted by a much more reasonable viewpoint tomorrow? Can't you just hear it say
"You've got to be kidding me?"
To which I will reply
"It's been so nice knowing you, my dear. Farewell."