Sun is shining, work for the day is scoped out and fireplace is burning at a steady pace. What more could I ask for…nothing. And to top it all off I’m enjoying a cup of coffee and devouring a handful of tender, sweet figs (the local greengrocer sells them to my delight). Yes I am feeling good.

Perhaps you remember that post claiming to be a drug addict (well actually I believe most of us are – whether sugar, alcohol, sex, food, porn, fame, greed, games, sleeping tablets or other substances of the more potent kind). So let’s not prevaricate on this topic. I am an addict. Perhaps not to the extent it rules my life. BUT I am a addict nevertheless. Some substances (like sugar) you can’t entirely escape, but I have turned around my diet, cutting chocolate and all other carb rich food. I have given up alcohol and notice I don’t miss it one bit. Instead I found a substitute – it’s a tutti frutti tea from Bonetti here in Haarlem. I brew it in the morning and drink it cold all day. Amazing stuff.

Sleeping is the hardest part. I still take sleep tabs and in my experience, the challenge is really in your mind rather than a physical addiction. Now most think the problem is my mind running riot and thus I cannot sleep. Whilst this was something of the past, it is no more (gladly so). I can quite happily lie in bed for hours with my eyes closed but wide awake. I guess the most annoying part is the disruption it has on a nerve damage I suffered years ago. So I have to plan how to come off it slowly, and of course use an arsenal of other helpful methods. Sleeping teas, melatonin, valerian and evening yoga (if you want to try something a little stronger try Nytol instead of your normal meds, this works well in the in-between stage). Target is to be off the meds by end of the first quarter. But again, most importantly – if you are also suffering from insomnia – is to learn to control your thoughts (don’t try this at home btw…it’s not about controlling your thoughts in a literal way, but understanding what you can and can’t control and how you perceive the world and what happens around you…read up on it first!). Mindfulness, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or in my case Stoicism all use this as a fundamental tenet.

Well back to work, but love to hear from any die hard insomniacs what worked and didn’t for you!

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