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Not My Circus Not My Monkeys
What are the reasons I drank?
Alcohol had become my ‘go to’ for all life’s ups and downs.
I’m not alone in that. That’s why many people drink alcohol.
So what are the reasons you need to drink alcohol? Have you found any of them yet?
My embers were always slow burning in me and once I drank alcohol the embers were ignited into a bright flame.
It was easy for me to get addicted to that feeling.
My problem was that alcohol made me feel ‘better’ about myself, reduced my anxiety, made the – World a Wonderful Place – for a few hours.
Right there in that sentence. Do you see it?
I couldn’t see that my actual problems were right there – written in that sentence.
– Alcohol made me feel better about myself.
– Made my World seem a nicer place and most important of all it stemmed my anxiety.
But I couldn’t see that. How could I when I regularly self medicated with alcohol? – which I thought was the solution.
It can be hard to dig deep. To find the reasons why you need ‘something’ to help you.
Once alcohol had been taken out of my options to help me to cope – I had to face those reasons head on.
I’ll be truthful it was very very scary.
Once found what would I do with them?
I had to live with the emotions and attempt to rationalise. Find the ones I could change. Find the reasons that caused me anxiety that COULD be changed by me altering the way I dealt with them.
Situations, certain people, chores that I deemed ‘necessary,’ taking on too much at once.
Taking on others problems – especially other people’s/family members problems was a big one.
I tried to reduce me doing ‘everything’ unless I was comfortable doing it.
Me always being the one to go to with problems. I realised I was the main cog in other people’s wheels.
I tried to ‘take life slower.’ Tried to avoid becoming anxious by isolating the things that made me anxious and that could be avoided.
I drank a lot of tea and ate a lot of chocolate.
I stopped looking at the news (as the bad news affected me) in order to detach from matters I couldn’t change.
I came off social media sites like Facebook because I became mildly and irrationally irritated by them.
I didn’t answer texts and phone calls if I couldn’t be bothered with interactions.
I went to bed early.
I sulked – World class sulking.
I realised that certain other people’s words and actions affected me negatively. Saw that their actions often reflected onto me. I absorbed their negativity.
I think that many of us with a drinking problem are empathic and caring. Wanting to solve other people’s pain and problems – ending up with us being in pain ourselves.
There is a saying “Not my circus, not my monkeys.”
It’s a way of saying, “Don’t drag me into your drama and your issues – I’m not getting involved.”
It’s often easy if your known to be a ‘fixer’ to get involved when a person comes to you with a drama happening and before you know it you’re drawn into their circus.
Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys – The downfalls of trying to control what is not ours to control from Psycology Today
I found that when I stopped drinking the logic in arguments was more visible to me. More able to control myself I kept my tone low instead of high, refusing to argue. Most of the time it worked (there were times when it all went ‘wrong’) – but overall it was easier for me to remain calmer and detached.
I soon learnt that this way meant my voice was clearly heard, taken more seriously. Because it was ‘all me’ talking calmly now, my words gained a better response.
No-one could say anymore that it was ‘the booze talking.’
It’s hard enough when you’re first AF and you have to focus on yourself.
I looked after myself first until I was feeling stronger.
I had to be selfish in order to survive the first few months.
It didn’t take me long to start feeling better. Better in health and better in that my pride came back.
But I still had days that were hard and days that I thought how easy it would be to drink again.
– But this time I was determined to not drink no matter what.
I starting reading about breathing techniques etc for the situations and mood swings that caused me anxiety that I couldn’t change.
I grew to recognise that the deeply sad and anxious days that couldn’t be controlled had to be lived through – but that they always passed eventually.
I wasn’t as scared of them anymore once I realised this. I look after myself more when they happen now.
I came on the site daily and made posts and read posts and commented on others posts. That was the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT part in the first months and year.
This post was written by Zoo. You’ll find more of her writing on Boozemusings here :
Here’s one of my favourite articles from when I first started this Alcohol-Free business.
I loved this when I first read it and it still makes me smile today.
I hope it helps some of you reading it today
– it’s from BELLE who writes the blog and book – Tired of Thinking About Drinking –
“Sobriety is like a little car, rolling downhill, that gathers momentum as it goes. But if you stop the car too soon (by giving up, by having just one drink), then you never get to experience the momentum it can gather with time, and you’ll just get to experience (repeatedly) the ‘starting over part’. which we agree, stinks.
it doesn’t take very long to feel better and to have a clearer head. so keep the car rolling, and feel your way through the grayness.
Sobriety is like a little car, and if you’ve got the little car already on its way downhill, however slowly, don’t do anything to stall. don’t change your medication, don’t suddenly quit your job, don’t buy a dog, don’t stop going to meetings. You want the car to keep moving, right? Downhill, yeah? Slowly gathering momentum. Don’t get impatient that other people don’t notice how great you are. Don’t confront your spouse about their radically different life plan. Not now. Not now.
protect your little sober car.
(and now, to mix metaphors) You need to walk around like a blind person with your arms outstretched, saying “don’t come near me with your drama, your shit, your demands. Stay the fuck away from me. I’m protecting me. See my outstretched hands grasping for the wall, grasping for something solid? Stay over there and gently guide me if you like, but do NOT dare come inside my arms-stretched-out space and fuck with my sobriety. Don’t tease me, don’t cajole me, and don’t bait me.”
(back to our regularly scheduled metaphor)
“Because i’ve got a little car of sobriety rolling downhill,” you say. “And some days it’s all i can do to keep going. but i ain’t pulling over. Not now, not for you. If this car stalls, it might not start again.”
Get out of my way. Sober car coming through…”
More from Belle’s Blog :
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