I am a creature of habit. I thrive on order, organization, and schedules. I also am very susceptible to habits, good or bad.
One my most “comforting” routines was to clock off work and pour a glass of wine. My excuse was that this glass of wine was to decompress, to celebrate, to soothe. Looking back, it was nothing more than a habit…
Reading colorful labels and selecting a bottle based on the mouth-watering descriptions. Sticking my thumb in the thick, glass punt (you pervert.. I know what you were thinking). The satisfying pop when the cork is finally released. Slowly pouring the crimson liquid into a long-stemmed wine glass. Swirling the liquid, watching the legs form and trickle down. Taking that first sip, attempting to detect flowery, peppery, or chocolate notes.
A habit, and a romantic one at that, huh? Almost comparable to a new lover. In the beginning, it’s all roses. The idea of the relationship sucks you in. You look past the red flags and all you see are the perceived happy parts.
Unfortunately, like most romantic stories, the new wears off and you are left with the “meat and potatoes” of the relationship: companionship, friendship, trust. The thing about alcohol? He was none of these things to me. He was like that toxic and abusive relationship I struggled to walk away from. He takes more than he gives, he hurts more than he consoles, and being with him was slowly killing me.
But, alcohol consumption is a habit, and all habits are breakable. My experience is that the bad needs to be replaced with something good. Enter – my teapot.
My husband has made some…. questionable purchases in his days. When he briefly mentioned purchasing a guitar so he could take up a new hobby, five guitars showed up at the house. A case of Murphy Oil Soap (that is a 24 count), that we won’t go through in this lifetime. A powder blue Mini Cooper that everyone in the family is embarrassed to be seen in. It’s tragic. Most of my husband’s purchases can be considered ludicrous, by my standards. Every now and then, however, he surprises me with a decent and thoughtful gift.
Last month, my husband bought me a teapot that I keep on my bathroom vanity. And people, this little teapot has been life-changing.
As soon as I roll out of bed, I fill my teapot with water to boil. I select a coffee mug that is commensurate with my current mood. Do I need comforting? I select my giant “C” mug that mimics a warm hug when I wrap my hands around it. Snarky? I pick out my “Jackass” or “Trump” mug. Nostalgic? I choose the coffee mug imprinted with my nieces’ and nephew’s smiling faces. I add three squeezes of lemon juice and fill the mug with steaming water. While I am getting ready for work and mentally preparing for my day, I sip lemon water and bask in the warmth of a healthy jump-start.
Same thing at night: while I am taking off my makeup, I prepare myself a cup of chamomile tea to sip in bed as I am reading my latest book and winding down for the day. I select the perfect tea bag and toss it gingerly into my “evening” coffee mug. I pour boiling water over the tea bag and smile as it balloons into a little floating pillow. I push the air out with the back of a spoon so the tea leaves are entirely submerged in hot water. I steep the tea until it is a perfectly golden amber. I take my mug to bed and slowly sip, letting the chamomile lead me down the path toward dreamland.
Nice, huh? Much like my “clock out” wine, lemon water and chamomile are habits. But unlike wine, lemon water and chamomile aren’t destructive. I’ve read a lot of conflicting information on how long it takes to make a new or break an old habit. Some studies say 21 days, some say more like 600 days.
My thought? Why not highlight the ugly truths of the unhealthy habits? Envision that bad habit, whatever it may be, as something vile and disgusting. Make it impossible to glamorize.
At the same time, romanticize and accentuate the mundane. The wisp of steam dancing in the light of a freshly poured cup of coffee. The perfectly-formed, round drops of sweat on your skin while sitting in the sauna. The tingle on your scalp of a favorite shampoo and conditioner combo.
Even something as simple as a little teapot can bring immense joy into your life, if you let it. Everything in our daily lives, because we are living, can be beautiful. I’ve gained a lot of during these last 91 days of sobriety. My favorite, hands down, is my newfound ability to appreciate things. Like, for example, my little teapot, short and stout.