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  • Writer's pictureShaena Jasmat

Every day’s a school day.

Things I’ve learned in the past few weeks.

1. AA wasn’t for me. Or it isn’t right now anyway. When I ‘stepped into the rooms’ I was looking connection and a place to feel understood. And while I definitely found that I also realised that I wanted to live a life that didn’t revolve around alcohol and being sober. I am sober and I fully intend to remain sober. But I don’t want it to be the centre point of my life. I want the fact I’m a non drinker to be a non issue. So for me, spending time reading, talking and always thinking about my life in relation to that…well it just felt the opposite. So I’ve taken a step back from it and I’m going to approach my sobriety in a different way. A way in which I’m yet to figure out but what I do know is that for me it’s not the AA way.

2. I still want to work through the 12 steps. Or at least I want to work through them in my own way. When I look at the steps I see them as a series of actions that can be applied to almost anything we struggle with in life. And for me I think my struggles come from my emotions and sometimes being able to cope with or manage them in a way that isn’t detrimental to how I live my life. So my plan is to look into them through a different lens. A more spiritual lens. One that helps to bring calm and peace into my life and into my soul.

3. Lack of purpose leaves me unmotivated and flat. I’ve not had much to do these last few weeks. I’m still looking for work but I had a course lined up for this week that would prep and prime me for what could be the perfect job. Knowing the course was coming up allowed me to put the brakes on general job hunting. But as a result my days felt quite empty. Now some people would use this gift of time to do things like focus on other things they might not have the luxury to do when life is busy. But I found myself doing the opposite. I watched too much TV, I had my head stuck in one too many books, I retreated from friends and family, and I turned into a bit of a moody cow to be honest. This is something I clearly need to work on but what was very clear to me was having no purpose made me feel a bit pointless and started to impact my mental health.

4. People won’t know what you need if you don’t tell them. If you’re struggling don’t expect people to read between the lines or understand what your silence means. If you want or need support, you have to ask for it. And when you do finally reach out, tell the other person exactly what you need from them. Sometimes when we start to open up about our struggles the other person automatically thinks we need fixing or a solution. But often we just want to feel heard and feel less alone in the situation. Sometimes we just need to know someone is there instead of being bombarded with a list of dos, don’ts and shoulds.

5. Gratitude will ALWAYS helps to shift your perspective. Especially when life feels a bit gloomy. When we focus on the things we have, the things we can do, the things we get to experience; it can really help to reframe our thoughts. I haven’t been doing enough gratitude centred thinking and it very quickly took me down some dark holes. If like me putting pen to paper when you get up in the morning or before your go to bed feels like a ball aches and you rarely make this habit last longer than 2 days. Why not just make the list in your head or share it with a friend or loved one as an activity you do together every day. It really does make a big difference.

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