Blue Sky Thinking

8 Jan


I had an image pop into my head this afternoon of the Team Sky cyclists in the UK who did amazingly in 2012’s season and improved their performance dramatically in a short space of time. If you don’t like cycling, bear with me, this story isn’t about tyres and helmets and sporting heroes. Well it sort of is, but it’s relevant to alcohol problems. Promise.

I once watched a documentary where the cycling coach revealed his team’s secret to dramatically improved success. At the beginning of the year, they had decided that if they forensically analysed every element of their kit, training and performance and improved every area by the tiniest fraction, just by 1%, that their overall performance would dramatically improve. And it worked. It REALLY worked. They just focused on lots and lots of tiny incremental gains and added them all together.

And if we think about it, it makes total sense as to how all of us should improve our lives, little by little. Do we successfully finish a jigsaw and by throwing all the pieces on our living room floor and frantically moving them around in a frenzy? No. We order them one by one, until they make sense as a whole picture.

This thought is helping me a lot in this tough few days after drinking again. I’ve repeatedly been trying to change everything dramatically and expecting instant results, which is not usually my approach to life, but since alcohol has entered the picture, I’ve taken the chaotic approach of wanting EVERYTHING to change NOW.

So, in a rare moment of clarity after coming down from alcohol, I’ve decided that I want to focus on small choices and habits that will all add up to creating a better big picture.

So I’m looking at my diet by making choices that make me feel good- healthy eating with some chocolate treats when I need them. I was going to jump in and do Whole 30 because I felt I needed a new project to stop me from focusing so much on drinking, but doing something so extreme where I can’t even enjoy a milky comforting coffee after a 20 mile marathon training run (yes of course I’m training for another marathon) would, quite frankly, be hell, wouldn’t it? 

I’m tackling my depression by doing small things that make me happy. I’ve bought a little SAD lamp to go on my desk to help fight the winter blues. I’m making sure I get 20 mins of fresh air at lunchtime. I’m planning solo cinema trips which are my favourite sober treat. I bought a little plant for my desk and my bedroom to look after and water, to remind me that living things need nurturing and not beating over the head with a bottle of wine. I chose the plant because yes, I once ACTUALLY WATERED a plant with a bottle of wine. What a waste eh? 😉

So, all these tiny things will hopefully add up to a happier bigger picture, and help me stay in the moment more rather than think how BIG and SCARY it is to be facing myself, sober, for potentially the rest of my life.

I’m about to go to AA. I cannot believe I’m doing this. WISH ME LUCK!

(P.S If you actually ARE interested in Team Sky- this is a good, simple blog post about their approach: )



13 Responses to “Blue Sky Thinking”

  1. happierlikethis January 8, 2014 at 6:43 pm #

    Yes, lots of littles do add add up to bigs, just as lots of days strung together grow into a solid bit of time. Good luck with AA. I hope it helps you feel stronger x

  2. One day at a time January 8, 2014 at 6:51 pm #

    Good luck with AA. Can’t wait to hear your feedback from it.

  3. carrieonsober January 8, 2014 at 7:17 pm #

    Great post, baby steps, tiny pieces, bit by bit and not being overwelhmed. Keep it simple too, stay away from the 1000 piece puzzles for a bit!
    Milky coffees and treats too, Whole 30 can wait!
    You could bore us (sorry I mean share with us!) about your marathon/running training instead if you wanted to write about something different. There are loads of runners on here and we are always looking for inspiration.

  4. Shame Doesn't Define Me January 8, 2014 at 7:53 pm #

    Good post; thanks for sharing.l Good luck with AA. I found a ton of comfort there even at the times I was feeling terribly uncomfortable with myself. I like the idea of baby steps rather than a huge radical program. If you are anything like me, I would get about six days in and make a “mistake” which would cause a downward spiral of negative self talk. Better to enjoy the milky drinks and nurture yourself as a parent would a small child.

  5. lucy2610 January 8, 2014 at 8:54 pm #

    Hope AA went well and I’ll be thinking of you 🙂

  6. thirstystill January 8, 2014 at 11:15 pm #

    I like your approach here. I’m starting again too after trying (unsuccessfully) to drink moderately. Lots of little things (OK, except little glasses of wine!) instead of one big shiny answer seems like a sensible approach. I hope the AA went well for you.

    • FitFatFood January 9, 2014 at 12:19 pm #

      Thank you. Alot of revelations in the past few days, hopefully they’ll all help me stick with it this time.

  7. Glenn January 8, 2014 at 11:21 pm #

    Something I would like to align with your terrifically worded post replete with a fantastic cycling metaphor is goal-setting; something at which I am frighteningly terrible. Incremental changes based in a specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely fashion create an excellent environment in the test tube of change. As mentioned in previous comments, baby steps are key to realizing a sober life and you may have even heard relative thoughts in the AA meeting earlier.
    So, in keeping with sobriety, I confess that while the changes I made in order to get sober, stay away from alcohol, get right, were effective they, were widespread, wholesale changes made immediately and all willy-nilly. This is a course of action that I recommend for no one but it was one hell of a ride to initiate and follow through with 🙂
    Your post is filled with healthy, thoughtful ideas that will best put you in a position to achieve what you want. Although the often most desired results are not immediate and your journey may be long you have the right mind and it has you pointed in the right direction.
    I wish for you great health and happiness!

    • FitFatFood January 9, 2014 at 12:18 pm #

      Ahh what a wise comment, although your willy nilly approach comment made me laugh!

  8. Off-Dry January 9, 2014 at 5:56 am #

    Yes, please do feel free to ‘bore’ us 🙂 with marathon/running stuff! I’m a runner/longtime yogi and can completely geek out on those subjects. As Carrieonsober mentioned, you’re in good running company (though I’m certainly no marathoner). And I absolutely agree that small steps with lots of rewards are the way to go–solo movies are one of my favorites, too.

    Do let us know how AA went. I’ve been considering checking it out myself for the first time at almost 200 days sober because I think that if nothing else, it could help me make some new sober friends–the in-person kind, that is. But I’ve been too introverted or change-resistant (or just disorganized) to get myself to a meeting yet. Would love to hear about your experience, maybe it’ll spur me on!


    • FitFatFood January 9, 2014 at 12:16 pm #

      I would highly recommend you go- just posted about my experience x

    • One day at a time January 9, 2014 at 1:23 pm #

      I wish we could all go the same group. That would be awesome 🙂

      • FitFatFood January 9, 2014 at 5:21 pm #

        WOULDN’T IT! 😀

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