You weren’t where you are today? Remember what you were doing and who you were with? Remember life before kids and pets? Remember who you were when you were still in school?
Are you still that person?
Sort of a hard question to answer, isn’t it…? Yes, I think so. Not exactly. Sort of, but not really Well, yeah, sure I am – I’ve just changed … Those answers all apply.
I think this just goes to show how vast our internal capacity and landscape is for change and evolution. A little hard work goes a longggg way. We can travel great distances from who we were to where we are to who we will become depending on what we do today. It’s pretty fantastic to think about.
So. What do we do when we realize or become aware of this internal force that’s been driving us our entire lives? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
Do I follow this impulse, this movement inside me, or do I pull up on the reins and say, “Whoa there. Let me just think on this for a moment.”
I could do this or I could do that. I could stay here, go down there, or go over there. For whatever reason, something inside me helps (or so I’d like to think) me make decisions. I’m pulled toward one thing and this moves me away from the rest of my options. What the fuck is this sensation?
I thought about this earlier and wondered if our lives ARE written out for us – but not in stone. And when we become aware of this sensation, we can think independently of it, and using our free will (or so we think???) write it ourselves. On paper. And do something else. Entirely.
It’s pretty cool, but it also opens up all possibilities (that I’m aware of) and requires that I take the time to consider everything. At the very least this is time consuming and could get overly complicated.
We could look at our addiction as a monstrous and toothy beast that needs to be chained up and kept at bay.
It might be helpful to recognize that people, addicted or not, are complicated and complex with multiple moving inner bits and pieces. Our addiction and our cravings and our urges and our behaviors are just some of these moving inner bits that can be viewed by other people. When we look inside ourselves, we can see that the word “I” refers to something plural – not singular. Having mixed emotions and thoughts about something or someone is evidence of this.
When the part of me that is my addiction screams for a drink – I can direct the other part of me that ISN’T my addiction to say “No. Shhhh. You can’t have a drink. Go sit down and be quiet.”
I believe this is an example of self-control. And people who want self-control can have it. It’s within. It requires an internal search.
“That doesn’t seem to have anything to do with anything – does it?”
“What? Not wanting to drink””
“Yes, because you went right ahead and did it anyway, didn’t you?”
“Why do you think you chose to drink when you didn’t want to?”
“I don’t know.”
“You’re the only one who does know. Don’t you think? How could I know why you did it? How could anyone know? Have you thought about that?”
“I shouldn’t drink if I don’t want to.”
“Okay, but you did. What does that tell you?”
“I don’t know.”
“I think you do know. You just don’t want to look at it. Did someone force alcohol down your throat? Did someone make you swallow it or did you do it because you had an urge to do it.”
“I had an urge, but I still didn’t want to do it.”
“Maybe a part of you didn’t want to do it. But there’s another part of you that did. And you let THAT part take control of your behavior. You let that part reach over, pick up some alcohol, and swallow it.”
“So once you see that you have the power to choose – you can also see that you have the power to follow up that choice with your behavior. When you don’t want to do something – you don’t have to do it. Not when it comes to drinking.”
“Yes, but it’s so much harder. I drink even when I don’t want to.”
“I hear that. But does it make sense to you that you’re forcing yourself to do something you don’t want to do?“
“I don’t know. Not really.”
“So what can you do to get control of this part of you that wants to drink?
“But I don’t want to drink.”
“Okay, but you’re not just the YOU that’s talking to me right now. You’re a complex individual made up of many working parts. And there is a part of you that wants to drink. And that’s the part YOU listen to and then act in agreement on. It is possible to disagree with that part of you and NOT follow up with agreeing behavior? You don’t have to drink just because that part of you wants alcohol. You can tell it NO.“
“Do you think it might be a good idea for you to think about learning how to control your behavior?”
“If I reach over and grab my coffee cup and drink some coffee, is this action a behavior?”
“What if my coffee cup has alcohol in it? Is it also my choice to NOT reach over and drink some because I’m trying to stay sober and free of alcohol?”
Here’s a little something to shine the light on… I think many of us have these worn down mental pathways of thinking that reinforce ugly feelings. And once we feel these ugly feelings – they – in turn – reinforce the ugly thoughts. And we go ’round and ’round in ugly circles. What might be worth trying is doing something that breaks this habit of thinking. In other words – participating in a new behavior.
Distracting ourselves with a funny movie or a good book, going outside or starting a conversation with someone about a subject we care about – these are easy things we can do to break into that habitual way of obsessing about something in our minds. In addiction and during early sobriety, it’s easy to obsess about things – to return to those habitual ways of processing information and solving problems that no longer work for us because they only cause us angst. These can be things a person said or did or things they didn’t say or do.
I think part of the new journey for addicts and alcoholics, once we get clean and sober, is to form new mental pathways that reinforce good and positive feelings. This takes work. And patience. And time. And the practice of new behaviors.
Meet Starla and Buster. Oh, sure. They look sweet. But, as I lay here in the dark and warm cocoon of my bed covers I’m listening to them tear into the small trashcan next to my favorite chair in the living room. Of course, they know they’re not supposed to be in it. If I go out there they’ll both run to hide under the couch.
It’s something different every night. Last night I listened to them chase each other across my kitchen counters. I never go out into the house to confirm the source of the racket because I’m certain no intruder would ever be so outrageously LOUD and rambunctious. At this point I’ve turned the noise of their ruckus into a guessing game. I listen as they crash into something or some object crashes to the floor and without going to see what it was, I guess. So, far I’m batting 100.
Every morning I wake and rise to discover knocked over vases, plants, books, dishes, or nick-knacks. Nothing in my home is safe. Nothing is ever placed so high that they can’t reach. I’ve tried. But they either climb or jump to attack whatever has their attention. Sometimes, things just happen to be in the way when they’re chasing each other. If I want to save anything from the hell-bent destruction of my precious furry babies, I have to keep it in a box out in the garage. With the door locked because I swear if they had opposable thumbs and knew how to unlock doors – they’d take out everything I value.
Once they get bored with what they’re doing they jump on my bed and sniff my eyebrows. If I leave them outside my room with the door closed, they claw up the carpet outside the door. Or meow. Or both. I can’t win.
It’s 5:11 a.m. and I know they want to be fed, but that isn’t about to happen. Neither, unfortunately, am I going to be able to fall back to sleep. Who, besides news anchors and paper delivery guys, gets up at such a godawful hour? Okay, maybe bakers get up this early, but that’s it. Okay, and military personnel. And medical professionals. But that’s it. No one else gets up so early. Okay, maybe new parents with infants.
Aw, shit. That commercial is still giving me the giggles and it’s 4:12 a.m. I should be unconscious!
I suppose it could be a good reminder. So, all of you WordPress readers —-Go forth today and remember to live (so you can eat your favorite snack later), laugh (laughing is contagious (not like the Corona Virus)), and love (it makes the whole planet spin more gently)!
Or – just choose to exude a positive attitude and perhaps make yourself do one new thing today, and you’ll be good.
I am accepting applications for a reader/writing coach. I am NOT looking for an editor. I’ll get to that later. Right now, I am looking to hire someone to read my book, the 1st edition, and tell me what you THINK about the story – regardless what you think I might want to hear. The truth of my story is not being altered. I’m only tweaking the wordiness.
As some of you might know, I’ve been working on the 2nd edition of my memoir, Saturation, for some time. The 2nd edition is a condensed version of the same story – my story – my past. Some of what I wrote in the 1st edition doesn’t contribute to the overall message so I’ve chosen to leave it out. The overall message is – sobriety isn’t just something that ‘happens’ to other people. Anyone can have sobriety when they’re able to accept what drinking means.
Please forward this post to interested parties or reach out to me at ~ Lumen9095@gmail.com
It’s when we plug in – plug into our selves and into our hearts – with our attention and awareness – that we connect with something bigger than ourselves.
My guess is – the closest we can ever get to seeing IT is when we watch someone hug another person or an animal – or we see a couple holding hands or a mother adoring her child or WE experience it when we look at someone we care about or when we’re overcome by the beauty of something like a sun rise or a child laughing…the list goes on – fill it in with whatever speaks to your heart…
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.
“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
My addition to this story = Drinking is a choice. It’s that simple. Either feed the evil wolf with alcohol or deny that wolf any alcohol.