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The early bird catches the worm

The early bird catches the worm…

This is a phrase that used to push me into a state of defensiveness. My usual reply was

“The early bird can keep the fucking worm”

Yes very mature of me, I know. I defended my right to sleep late vehemently,

‘I am an adult, I can sleep until 2pm if I so wish. Now kindly stop chirping, close the curtains, bring me some painkillers and a pint of water (or wine) and be gone.’

I was more often than not still drunk, hungover, in withdrawal (during the later end of my addiction), or just left depleted of all energy. I simply could not be bothered to do life. I wanted to sleep, or drink, it away. My bed felt like a safe haven, even the smell of stale alcohol and sweat brought me comfort, the slight dampness on the sheets from the withdrawal sweats didn’t even put me off or eject me from my pit. I was safe here. The world couldn’t get to me, I didn’t have to see anyone or face the consequences of the nights previous.

That, my friend, is no way to live. It’s a way to die.

Sinking deeper into depression, I was gaining weight by the day, not eating right, progressing to taking wine up to bed- always in a glass, as this made it acceptable, right? I was having a strange love affair with my bed.

My dressing gown as my armour and my bed as my castle... and here was the wine, just like the story of Troy, it snook in pretending to be a wonderful gift, when the reality is it just wants to destroy me from within.

Thankfully today, at this time in my life, I am not in that place. I am, however, not complacent this time around. I have a healthy respect for my recovery and I accept that no matter how good I feel today, how determined I feel, tomorrow... or even this afternoon, could be so so different. Something could change inside my addict brain and it could find a chink in my armour that I’m unaware of and start to torture me.

So, I live for now. Right now it’s 06.45am . I’ve been up since 06.15, when I say I’m up... I am still in bed, but I’m having a coffee, writing down this, my sheets are dry and clean and I don’t smell of alcohol... I do smell of the curry I ate last night for date night, but that’s a huge improvement on stale booze, trust me, and I’m sober.


I’m picking up my children soon, taking one to rugby, then cooking a Sunday dinner, I may have an afternoon nap, but not because I need to protect myself or build a fortress to hide in, it will be because I’m tired, and I choose to nap. I choose, I don’t do it because I’m defeated.

I still love my bed, but when I got my own place a year ago and started on my sober journey, I made my bedroom pretty, a place I wanted to keep looking nice. So, I sit up here to drawn, I meditate on my bed, I write whilst sat on my bed.... I now have a healthy relationship with it, where once my bed was a stinking pit, it’s now my sanctuary, my creative place, my place to recharge.

It’s the same piece of furniture, but I use it differently.

Just like our minds, we can use our minds to destroy us from within or we can use it to carve out a future we love. Like a hammer and chisel, if you take care, if you apply patience and are willing to learn, you can create a beautiful piece out of stone... if you use the hammer and chisel without any care or attention, aren’t willing to broaden your mind or take on lessons to improve you’ll be stuck with injury after injury and just a plain old rock that doesn’t look any different to when you started, it just gets smaller, like our futures....

if we do what we’ve always done and don’t learn, we can watch the rock getting smaller and smaller but never resembling anything other than a rock.

If we stop, ask for advice, learn from each injury and do things slightly different each time, that rock could be the most glorious statue. It’s your future, it’s your life.

Nothing changes, if nothing changes.

So, do something different today. Get out of your routine, get out of bed sleepy head, put yourself in a place that’s alien to what you’ve always done and breathe. Feel proud of any and every little thing you create or change. Be grateful, because when you truly open your eyes and stop listening to your ego, life’s really not that bad.... it’s just how you look at it, and how you use your mind.

So, be patient, Rome wasn’t built in a day.... trust it will all come together, the only responsibility you have right now is to make different and better choices that feed your soul. Not your mind.

Louise Shepherd SHS.

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