The Recovery Writer

Documenting The Road To A Recovered Life.

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Flexible Working and Mental Health

mental health and flexible working

Flexible working and studying plays a key role in managing mymental health. Living with, and managing mental health challenges, is of itself a full-time job. I have to work hard each day to balance all the things I need to do, with making sure my mental health stays stable. Being self-aware, noticing and nipping negative thoughts in the bud, monitoring my anxiety, encouraging myself to sit with it, but not too long as to avoid a two day burn out. These are just a few of the things I have to do on a daily basis to stay well. Trying to do this around a set work or study schedule, is impossible and has caused me to fail many times. 

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Stress Management – Using Organization Tools

Stress management using organisation tools

One of my biggest anxiety triggers is when I feel overwhelmed by appointments and personal admin. If I don’t catch this quickly, it can soon spiral out of control. I initially feel anxious because of the number of things I need to do, the anxiety then sends me into an avoidant mode and I can’t face any tasks, the tasks then grow, and so the cycle continues.  

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Learning To Manage Hypothyroidism Fatigue

Resisting The Urge To Quit

This weeks self-care theme has largely been about resisting the urge to quit. I am still exhausted due to the ongoing hypothyroidism fatigue. This is making it practically impossible to do anything.

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Self-kindness And Mental Health

Whilst kindness to others is something most people keep at the forefront of their mind, practicing self-kindness can be too easy to forget. I am often guilty of beating myself up about things or demanding things which I would never be as hard to someone else about.

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Beginning Freelance Writing – “Am I doing this right?!”

writers life

In beginning freelance writing, I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing. I mean I know what I’m doing, but I don’t know if I am doing it right. Yes, I have read a lot of books, articles, posts etc, but I still feel like I am feeling my way around in the dark. Its exciting and terrifying all at once.

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Self Reflection For Personal Development

Developing the skill of self-reflection is key in overcoming mental health challenges. We need to know ourselves first, in order to know how best to move forward in our personal development. 

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Suicide And The LGBTQ+ Community

Preventing Suicide In The LGBTQ Community 

I am unfortunately no stranger to suicide. I have a history of mental health problems, and I have made many attempts on my life. I am also both transgender and gay, which puts me in one of the highest at-risk communities for mental health issues and suicide. This means that over my lifetime, I have lost many friends to suicide and seen countless more attempt it. We need to address this now. 

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Anxiety And The Benefits of Doing Things That Scare You

How to overcome anxiety

“Do one thing every day that scares you”

This is a line from ‘Everybody’s Free (to Wear Sunscreen)’ a spoken word song by Baz Luhrmann. In learning to live with anxiety,  that particular line has stuck with me and has become somewhat of a mantra

This is surprising really as it runs contrary to my old mantra of ‘Drink one bottle of wine a day and hide from your fears.’ I lie.

It was never only one bottle.

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Getting Creative – Day 119 of #365daysofselfcare

This blog is part of the #365daysofselfcare challenge

Self-care is spending time with your creative self

PicsArt_08-29-04.59.00.jpgCreativity allows us to express hidden parts of ourselves and connect with our inner self.  Most importantly, creativity reminds us how fabulous we human beings are, that we can create such amazing things from inside ourselves, and that life is full of fascinating creations.

I am a very creative person, I always have been, but for a long time, I forgot this. During my recovery,  no longer having my inner world dulled by the haze of drugs and alcohol, I have discovered this side of myself again.

My love of creativity is why it makes so much sense for me to move forward and turn my hobby of writing and making videos into a freelance writing career. For me, even on a severe mental health day, most of the time I can still write. That is because for me,  creativity is not work, its a self-care for my soul.

Creativity does not have to be perfect, the best part of creativity is that it is best when not perfect. It is at its finest when you just let go and let whats inside come out in whichever creative outlet you choose.

Buy some play-doh, doodle on a blank page, start a journal, or invest in an adult coloring book and make it a mission to spend time with yourself, letting your fascinating soul run free.

 

The Freedom And Happiness Of A Sober Life

Header image aa 2.jpg

2. We Are Going To Know a New Freedom and a New Happiness

Today, I celebrate eight years sober and clean. It still amazes me that it has been that long. I remember, in my first few Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, feeling a rising panic at the thought of a day without alcohol, never mind eight years. I also remember being scared of what my life would become, thinking that a life without alcohol would be dull.

This memory makes me smile now, for two reasons. The first reason is that my life back then was already dull. I was a physical and mental wreck, spending my days smoking weed, knocking back lager, and obsessing about running short of either of the two. Hardly a fulfilling life but rather a painful and depressing one. The second is because my life in sobriety is anything but dull. In these last eight years, I have explored and experienced more of myself and my life than I had in the 37 years previous.

Alcoholism is a cunning jailer; it convinced me that life outside its walls would be a life not worth living. It was not until I began to escape its clutches that I realized how captive I had been. The freedom I feel, in every aspect of my life, is the cornerstone of my happiness.

I am at such an exciting place in my life right now. Lots of things are coming to fruition all at once. I am at the end of the medical part of my gender transition. I have made sense of my sexuality and am in a committed relationship with a gorgeous man. I am at the start of launching a freelance writing career, and I have just had my first piece published. I have recently enrolled in my final module with the Open University, and this time next year I will be the proud owner of a degree. I have also been doing some media work with the Open University, as a student ambassador.

All of these things are anything but dull and only possible because I am sober. There is no way the drunk me could have had the enthusiasm or the ability to set up a small business, and  I would most certainly not have been asked to be an ambassador!

Recovery has given me the freedom to be me. It has given the freedom to pursue my dreams and the freedom to forgive myself and allow myself to love and be loved. The new happiness which comes from this freedom takes my breath away every single day. I am free now, one day at a time to live the exciting life that alcoholism hid from me for so many years.


Finlay Games is the founder of The Recovery Writer and the host of Finntheinfinncible. He is a freelance writer and speaker for hire, who advocates, informs and inspires on topics of mental health, recovery, gender transition, and sexuality.

Be Your Fabulous Self – Day 104-106 of #365daysofselfcare 

This blog is part of the #365daysofselfcare challenge

Self-care is being true to who you are despite the judgments of others

PicsArt_08-15-10.17.32
The most radical act of self-care is to give yourself permission to be yourself.

The last few days I’ve been reflecting on just how wonderfully free it feels to be me, even though a large part of society is not particularly happy with who l am.

It’s a strange paradox. Before l came out as trans, l couldn’t handle the judgments of others, l was an anxious people pleaser, and this was one of the hurdles to coming out. I was so scared of being rejected by everyone.

As I have progressed through my transition and become more comfortable in my skin, I have begun to care less and less about what other people think of me.

Surprisingly, this isn’t because my transition has made me blend more into society. It could have done, and I was most certainly expecting it to be one of the benefits. However, what has happened as I have become more comfortable, is that I have developed into a chap with a very flamboyant personality who enjoys wearing pink, wearing earrings, and generally being and doing many things that society says men shouldn’t be or do. I’ve also now come out as gay, which adds an extra layer of difference into the diversity sandwich.

This freedom to be me now permeates every aspect of my life, and it continues to be one of the most powerful daily self-care tools in my wellness toolkit.

Freelance Writing – My First Published Story

 

First published storyIts been a while since I updated about my professional writing progress and as you can see by the title of this blog post, I have some rather fantastic news to share!

Firstly, let’s start with a catch up of what has been happening since I made the brave move to declare myself to be a writer, and took the first steps into a freelance writing career a few months ago.

Inspired by Jeff Goins’, “You are a writer, so start acting like one,” I set myself two commitments as my starting point. The first was to write every single day, whether that was a few sentences or a few pages. The second was to ‘practice in public,’ which meant getting my writing out there, to be read by others.

I am pleased to say I have stuck to these two commitments. I began a daily self-care series which made me commit to writing at least a  few sentences each day for that purpose (OK so I admit I’ve missed a day posting here and there and had to merge a few days or play catch up!). I have also regularly been sending out short stories and articles for consideration and applying for blogging positions.

I have had rejection after rejection, which I of course expected and knew would be part of the process, but it still took a lot of deep breaths and positive self-talk to remind myself of that.  Then, suddenly, an email arrived with the words,  ” We would be delighted to publish your piece!”

I cannot tell you the rush of emotions I went through when I received this email. I am not at all embarrassed to say I cried with pride!

The piece is a memoir style personal essay about my recovery and gender transition, and the publisher is Narratively magazine. For the past month, the editor and I have been going back and forth cutting and changing things. In being my first time working with a publisher in this way, I cannot say if this is a regular occurrence, I expect it is. I found this to be such a valuable experience, I am incredibly grateful for her patience and guidance, and I have learned so much in this process.

Last week we finished the final edit, and I then received an email to notify me of the date of publication, which is today! I am over the moon to share my very first published piece with you all. This has happened a such a significant and special time for me, as I complete the medical part of my gender transition and move into a new and exciting phase of my life.

If you enjoy the piece, please do share it along!

http://narrative.ly/i-didnt-know-i-was-trans-until-i-got-sober/

 

 

 

 

 

 

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