I’ve been on a journey over the last few months. One that has begun to change the way that I think about all sorts of situations, people and, most of all, myself. What started this? I signed up to do a personal development course in Coaching and also NLP.
So, never heard of NLP? It stands for Neuro Linguistic Programming. Now, I won’t bore you with the details, but essentially NLP looks at how your brain works and how to rewire it in a more positive way through language use and various exercises. I’m astounded at how much I’ve learnt and the powerful things that you can do with your mind.
This came to mind this morning whilst I was out early with the dog. One of the exercise I’m trying to do regularly is to notice what feelings and emotions I have through the day, how they change, and what causes change. There’s a huge reason for this. I’d become aware that I’d been drifting for a long time without really taking part in life. Without having the emotion or connections to everyday situations and people around me. This stems from the long period of alcohol abuse that had numbed me, quite literally, down to the bone.
I’ve been told that there might be a reason why I was a heavy drinker. That there may be past events in my history that my subconscious wants to hide away. Well, alcohol certainly succeeded in doing that! Drinking was such an all encompassing occupation that there was no room for internal thoughts or processing of distressing memories. I think that this is a common theme among those who use alcohol or other substances to the extreme. It takes us from our uncomfortable conscious reality to a nowhere land where we don’t have to think of anything, we can just be, but also not be. Does that make sense to you? After a while, I got so used to not being present, that my mind faded into the nowhere land at every possible opportunity, almost permanently.
Now that I no longer clouding myself with alcohol, I’ve made a decision to reinstate my emotions. However, I’ve found that it’s not as simple as just turning the tap back on. For some reason that surprised me! But I guess it’s not really surprising when I’ve spent the best part of my adult life covering emotions over and drowning them out….
Today, the sun was shining through the trees- the air was crisp and fresh, and I could smell the autumn around me. As I tried to figure out what emotion I was feeling, I couldn’t actually put a word to it. I explored a few emotions that I felt were almost there – contentment, joy, hope, freshness, relaxed, tranquility, but none of them seemed to describe it accurately enough. Then it came to me, Clarity. A clarity of mind that was all of the previous emotions mixed into one. And I wanted to remember the moment, so I thought about how I could translate the feeling of Clarity in terms of the senses that we use – a technique I’ve learnt from NLP. This is how I represent it: pale yellow clear light, a feeling of pulling out from the upper chest and out of the ears (ok, I know that sounds weird!), coolness, the quietness of a very light breeze through leaves.
I wanted to share this with you as I’m finding it such a useful technique for remembering all of these good emotions. It reminds me that I can feel again, and that good feelings are present within us a lot more of the time than we perhaps realise.
Would you like to do this too? Make a note of any emotion or feeling that you want to remember, and really use all of your sense one by one to notice what you notice. Jot your observations down. Reread them from time to time, or use them in a gratitude diary. The more you do this, the more that you will rediscover your true self.
Hi! I’m The Alcohol Dodger! I love analogies in case you hadn’t noticed! You can read about my wake-up call from binge and habitual drinking in one of my earlier blog posts here, and how I’ve developed since in my story by clicking here.