Dealing With Emotional Issues Without Alcohol On Today’s Walk

Walking… something to do instead of drinking!

In lots of ways, life in sobriety seems to throw up more emotions and more emotional problems than before. It’s probably because I was often using alcohol to squash down my feelings, or to wash them away… to get them out of my head, forget everything for a while.

Now there are still ways to numb out, and I’m kind of a believer in sometimes just not dealing with emotions… you can’t deal with them all, all the time. Well, I can’t. But loads have had to be faced, and there have had to be some changes in how I relate to people, especially family. A few more boundaries have needed to be put in place.

So, there’s still plenty of discomfort, and more anxiety (although that’s all menopause and these strange coronavirus times) but a lot less mental torture and self flagellation and recrimination.

And I do think that my senses are more open and alive. I took a walk this morning, not too early and not too far, but before the kids were out of bed. The sky was blue, the sun was bright already and there was a chilly nip in the air. I put on my walking boots, love lacing them up, snug and tight, and strode out and away.

Autumn here where we live is all russet and copper and orange and fire-yellow. The trees are alight, this half now deep ruby, and that half still green but coming along. It’s a time of luxuriant showing off, those trees giving their all before all their leaves fall away and they stand nude, spiky and shivering all winter.

The heavy boots swing along and pull me onwards, and it’s uplifting and mentally expanding to notice the trees, all the colours and the shapes and the movement. I notice how effortless itis to walk and I know in that moment that this might not always be the case. When I’m old and stiff or not even able to walk, I will know that my walking years were truly enjoyed, noted, noticed, and not at all wasted. I walked and walked and walked and knew how joyful walking is, how fortunate to be able to, such a blessing.

Just 30 minutes, a mental health walk, not too fast, literally stopping to smell our town’s many magnificent roses. Easy, comfortable, a little puffing up the little, a little care coming down some steps. Views, gardens, say hello to some fluffy dogs.

Then walking back into the house, warm now the sun is striking all along the north side. Cats sit still and watchful, guardians of the garden and watchers of the walkers. The teenagers are still asleep, the dishwasher is emptied, kettle newly boiled. Tea, a chat and the knowledge that we are all safe, home is our haven, just for today.

I keep my walking boots on all day, feel their weight all day and whip out for one more slow walk later in the afternoon. It’s mechanical for the body, but magical for the mind. Walking is a blessing, children, house, cats and comfort too.

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