A holiday state of mind… Republished from NA Today March 2013

By which I mean, a relaxed, positive state of mind. One I did not have when I went away on holiday recently. Instead what I had was grumpy, complaining, pain-in-the-ass state of mind. Not exactly a fabulous place to start. And I had my reasons. Mostly to do with stress and being a stress-head and being stressed out. And with the way my work’s been lately goddamn it – it’s valid enough! Sure, yes it was valid and real and all that shit but not where I wanted to be… although it took me a little while to figure that out.

My friend and I arrived at the hotel we were staying at, hot and tired and me with a splitting headache, and my first thought was that the photos on their website were quite creative/deceptive. Ten minutes after that I decided the travel agents had made a mistake. 5 minutes after that I was on the phone to the aforementioned travel agent. Not much longer after that I started to wonder if we were in some kind of old people’s home. The Pacific arm of the great exotic Marigold Hotel perhaps…

It wasn’t until I was floating in the wondrously tepid waters of the Pacific Ocean having taken something for my headache, sorted out the room and my friend said “isn’t this amazing?” that I started to realise that “yes it was amazing” and I was being EXTRAORDINARILY negative.

No one has ever accused me of being an optimist. Even though I am generally happy enough I still retain the last bits of what I like to think is pragmatism but possibly I am kidding myself. I have a tendency to negativity that I have to guard against. And mostly these days I manage to do that. But in my weakened state (stress overload) I hadn’t guarded against shit. Instead I was in full blown negativity lock-down. I had forgotten that ‘feelings aren’t facts’ and other assorted relevant clichés. Mainly the one about misery being optional…

Thank god I have done enough recovery that in that moment I realised I could wreck my own holiday if I didn’t snap out of it and adjust my head. And what’s amazing is that I can do that these days – because I have learned those skills in recovery. And so I decided to stop the pity party, get a grip and have a good time.

And I cannot tell you how hard it was to get on the plane home! Turns out I had a great time, totally relaxed, did lots of cool things, ate great food and had a blast. Me at the end of the week’s holiday thought that me at the beginning of the week was a complete lunatic but really I am just grateful that
recovery has shown me that I don’t have to sit in a crap state of mind.

Recovery has given me choices in so many areas of my life. I choose not to use on a daily basis and then I get to choose all other kinds of cool things in my life. It’s a trip.

Jenny, Canberra

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