Creating New Habits



As I speed toward 10 months of sobriety and away from my 47th birthday, ideas of creating new habits drive at me like a horizontal rain. The words mindfulness and patience keep finding their way through the vortex of ideas, scenarios, thoughts and songs that assault me hourly.

I’m the person who refuses to budge from the warm spot on the couch because I’m comfortable even though I’ve had to pee for an hour.  I’m the person who can stay busy all day in my hoodie and sweats and accomplish absolutely nothing of significance and go to bed happy.  I’m the person who has still not quite grasped the fact that I don’t have to like to do something to do it anyway.  This is especially true when it comes to exercise and – well – anything that makes me uncomfortable.

I suppose it’s not surprising that after 19 years of heavy daily drinking, it’s taking me a moment to acclimate to life without alcohol and withdrawals (because I was either drinking or sick.  One wouldn’t think a person could get used to that … ).  I don’t miss alcohol and I certainly don’t miss withdrawal, but I thought I’d have it all in the bag by now.  I don’t. I see that there is a part to me (it’s small but loud) that is resisting creating a new life and getting out there.  It’s busy and hectic and a little chaotic and unpredictable out there.  I’ve even moved to the Oregon coast to get away from the frantic energy of the city.  But I think I got used to being unproductive.  19 years is a long time to sink into a habit and particular ways of thinking.  Today I want to be productive and disciplined, but I’m not quite sure how.



I’ve got to act my way into new behavior.

New behaviors will become second nature.

Unconscious competence!

So far, my new habits include showering and preparing my coffee at night. Those look innocent and easy enough, right?  Hell no!  I fight with myself come 8pm every night.  I’ve also had to put my vitamins in the refrigerator next to the powered vanilla creamer because that’s the only way I remember to make myself take them.  Leaving them out on the counter in front of the coffee maker wasn’t enough – all I did was push them aside. What is that?

I’m monitoring my reactions to these new habits I’m creating and it’s funny.  I’m funny.  I am clearly infringing on the personal space of the part of me that did not ask for any of this.  On the other hand – something within is yearning for new routines.  What is this crazy dichotomy?  I do not know.

Now – if I can just work myself up to tossing aside a mere 30 minutes a day, five days a week, for cardio and lifting – I’ll be able to say I have some pretty cool things in the bag!  They’re small, but they count.

How do I prevent myself from falling back into old lazy behaviors?

HALT – don’t allow myself to get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired.  I learned this in my first treatment center and it’s logical that it’d work for me (or anyone anywhere for that matter) today.