Sunday 19 March 2017

Day 17. The eternal optimism solution

Practicing positive expectation and optimism

Are you the glass half full or the glass half empty type of person. I was a glass half full person, and then the glass got empty, so i filled it again. And then i had a realisation that i didn't actually think i wanted to fill that glass anymore, so here i am embracing the glass fully full of soda water.  Oh man, can i knock that stuff back, and the beauty is that no matter how much i chug down, i have no ill effects, except for one, the need to pee, but even the upside to that means i am never dehydrated....
There is so much linking of the positive vs negative, the pleasure vs pain in this book that I can now really understand why people who drink really heavily use alcohol as a means of escaping from the troubles in their life. i have come to the conclusion that i was purely drinking out of habit - not to mask or hide from anything, but it just became part of my life through socialising and what is the social normal and on talking to people, i don't actually think my drinking habits were that much different to other people's, but the outcome of it is what has bought on this change. 

Today's chapter is about being the eternal optimist and avoiding the negative drinking thinking. I've had a lot of negative drinking thinking actually directed at me.  I've had experiences where people say or do things that are purely alcohol driven. It's actually really horrible to have someone whisper beautiful sweet nothings in your ear only to find out in the harsh reality of zero alcohol that they didn't actually mean any of it. Or to have someones negative drinking thinking be so abhorrent that they inflict verbal and physical aggression towards you. These are 2 examples of events that certainly drive me to not wanting to be in either of those types of unhealthy settings again. 

It's amazing how people look for and expect only negativity to be their norm.  Did you know, that for every one negative thing that someone says or does to you, it takes FIVE positive interactions to get the balance back. So imagine how depleted someone's soul is, who can only focus on negative thoughts and actions aimed at themself. And what about the person who is the recipient of the negative drinking thinking.  How depleting for them as well.   Negative drinking thinking aside, I have spent a lot of time with people who's only joy is to be so negative and miserable that you just go - can you just find one fucking thing not to complain about. Find one thing to be positive and optimistic about. And even if they were having a wham bam thank you mam fun time roll in the hay, they'd still be complaining.

So what did we learn today in our theme of eternal optimism....we learnt about positive vs negative self-talk and how to avoid negative self talk to help us become alcohol free. We got a lesson from Mother Theresa who was the eternal optimist and were reminded to focus on what we want to change and use the right thoughts to do so.  We were made aware of how powerful it is to be in the present moment and be optimistic. It's amazing how when something bad happens, that you never know what will come from it, it could be something really amazing but the first thought is to generally expect the worse. why not expect the best? We had to watch out for traps that can catch us out - all the negative labeling we can pin on ourselves and we discovered how to turn our light on by not trying to push away negative thoughts, but by choosing to think of more positive things and ways to change that mindset and make a brighter future.
We had 3 action items today and i have taken them on board, but i really struggled with them.  

Action 1 was to stop and analyze our thoughts if we were in a bad mood.  Oh my god, i am never in a bad mood.  I am the eternal fucking optimist. It don't matter what shit is going down, i am always looking towards a positive outcome.  I'm not going to waste my precious time being in a bad mood.

Action 2 was to write out negative thinking traps - how we may label ourself around perfectionism, generalizing, jumping to conclusions, etc.  For me, i feel really lucky that i have worked really hard over my life to take my negative beliefs and kick em to the curb.  I do have one or two, but they aren't related to drinking habits (or at least i don't think so), so i have parked this action. The key here was about awareness and my self-awareness shines so brightly, that i struggled to link to these traps. But my question still remains - why is it that at times i have no off button when it comes to having a few drinks. 

Action 3 - write how to change these negative traps.  Again i struggled, so i left a blank page in my journal, so can revisit this at some point if i become aware of anything of note.  But i do know that i won't be a part of someone else's negative drinking traps.

So was I feeling today - glass half full or glass half empty? 
i am not going to bed early enough and that's likely to be the case while i am writing about this journey - glass half empty
6.30pm - i'd love a glass of wine.  - glass half empty - glass is empty
7.30 - 8.30pm - i would really love a glass of wine and i felt a bit irritable as it's really annoying given that i feel i have come so far.  I have committed to 30 day's of being alcohol free, so i am taking some deep breaths and re-read the before me entry in my journal.  Am feeling both glass half empty and half full and seems to contradict the whole fucking chapter on being an eternal optimist, but at least i acknowledge, accept and realise that this is a moment in time and my next moment may be totally different.

So the bottles are stacking up, and so is the bank balance. that is definitely glass half full.

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