I recently changed my morning reading habits a bit. For the past few years I’ve been depending mostly on meditation books that were broken down into relatively small pieces, and reading other inspirational (or whatever) books in larger chunks.
This year I picked out two books in addition to the one I’ve been using for a couple of years–books not laid out in a daily reading format–and determined to treat them the same way, taking them in small, easily digestible chunks and then meditating on those readings, instead of trying to cram my head full as has been my habit for most of my life.
I read a few pages at most, stopping at what seems a reasonable point. Sometimes I read only a few paragraphs; on one occasion, only a couple of sentences. I find that I’m getting far more out of the basic text of one of my fellowships, for example, than I ever got when reading a chapter at a time. Cutting it into small chunks makes it far easier to digest and see how it applies to me. It seems that I do better with less to think about, rather than more; with small ideas, rather than big chunks. (In fact the eating/chewing/digesting analogy seems to fit perfectly, now that I think of it.)
One of the biggest differences between addiction and sobriety is that truly sober people are able to accept pleasure’s natural ebb and flow.
As much as we might like to have it otherwise, healthy pleasure isn’t constant. Pleasure is the body’s way of rewarding us for doing things that benefit survival of our offspring and ourselves. When pleasure becomes the norm, rather than the reward, the system breaks down. We begin to pursue pleasure for its own sake, to the neglect of nature’s original intentions. Continue reading “Post-acute Withdrawal–Why The Quick Fixes Don’t Work”
Reservations are little ideas, beliefs and loopholes that we leave for ourselves. We reserve the right to hang on to them, not realizing that we are really protecting some aspect of our addiction. Most of us started recovery with some reservations. They may have gone like this:
Opiates are my problem, a little drink now and then won’t hurt me;
Alcohol just about ruined my life. I don’t ever want to drink again–of course, I’ll still smoke a little weed when I’m feeling stressed;
I don’t relate well to other women, so I’ll need a male sponsor;
If my mother died, I don’t see how I could handle it without picking up;
They say we’re as sick as our secrets, but they can’t mean everything. I’ll never talk about that!
They say no relationships for the first year, but a hookup isn’t a relationship!
But I’ve found my soul mate! (Another one?)
We may be sincere about wanting recovery, and may be working diligently toward it: going to meetings, doing step work, and almost giving ourselves fully over to the program’s recommendations. But as long as we hold reservations, consciously or unconsciously, we are fooling ourselves.
One of the worst effects of reservations is that this kind of thinking keeps us from bonding with other recovering people. Recovery works because we are a fellowship with a common purpose: to stay clean and sober, and learn how to live that way. We do this by accepting that we can’t do it on our own, and that we need the guidance and support of others who have been successful at what we want to do. Reservations prevent us from developing the close, trusting relationships that make those things possible.
Fighting is so much a part of addiction—fighting for the next fix, the next drink, the time to use, protecting our ability to keep getting high—that we forget how to stop fighting. When we are able to relax and stop struggling, we begin to gain the benefits of our recovery program, along with a huge sense of relief.
The problem is that we may still be trying to control our addiction, when what we really need is to let go of that control, let go of our reservations, accept the reality that our addiction is far more powerful than we are, and that we must move away from our addiction, not stay and fight.
Once we are able to surrender, the feeling of relief is amazing! We are no longer forced to twist our thinking around so that we can try to have things two ways at once. We no longer push, push, push back against our program. We no longer have to deal with the stress of always trying to be right in the face of massive evidence to the contrary. We are, at last, able to relax and recover.
Addiction is all about secrets. By the same token, recovery is about letting sunshine and fresh air into the hidden corners of our souls. In addiction we build ourselves a little fantasy world, a totally imaginary place where we go to hide when we act out. Continue reading “As Sick As Our Secrets”
For several reasons I make it a point not to review books or accept ads, “infographics,“ and guest posts on this blog, except in extremely rare situations. When I tried it the first one led to more, and to requests that didn’t meet my standards (never easy to refuse for a codependent like me), plus other complications, like conflicts of interest, etc. I don’t like hassles, and promoting business in whatever fashion is not the purpose of this site. However, it’s my blog, and I occasionally make exceptions for myself when I think it’s important enough. This is one of those times.
My long-time readers will probably have noticed the blurb in the sidebar for Joe C’s book, Beyond Belief, Agnostic Musings For 12-Step Life. No doubt the word “agnostic” turned some of them off. I’d like to comment on that, and explain why the ad, recommendation, or whatever you want to call it is there.