If everything in your life is perfect and as you want it, you can skip this post entirely…
Change is a topic that a lot of people touch on about now in the form of the New Year’s Resolution. A vow to stop smoking, lose weight, get fit, or somehow make some kind of a dent in their “should” list. It’s indeed interesting to look at how change really happens for people.
Everyone in recovery has a point when there came a time for change. For some this is “hitting bottom” and is a story that could add to guilt and shame without tools to use that experience for their own evolution. Some are fortunate enough to have a “high bottom” that avoids certain drastic circumstance. These are no less wrapped in the pain of having lost one’s self in an addictive or painful situation.
I maintain that people in recovery are the best people you can find. They are people who have had to face what was not working in their lives and make a change. To stop living that definition of insanity attributed to Einstein: “Doing the same thing and expecting different results”. To look into that fire and walk through it with the help of others.
Other people can remain dancing around their fire and convincing themselves everything is “OK” while they continue to ache on the inside. Becoming very practiced at toughing it out or engaging in unhealthy behaviors and exaggerating a sense of something missing.
Unfortunately, a lot these unhealthy behaviors are socially endorsed. Alcohol especially is “required” by a good deal of the population to mask their discomfort and connect socially. How common is the phrase “I need a drink”? How ready is society to comply?
These outward behaviors and masking of feelings, using substances, isolating, eating, whatever… are connected with listening to a LOT of negative self-talk. This only serves to push a real connection to self even further away. Who wants to listen to that voice? It’s freaking annoying!
And so the very resources we have to grow and walk through our flames are muted very purposefully. Because we don’t know how to use them yet. We need a way to get what we need from what we were given. We can use tools to access our inner resources. Each of us is born a very rich person that has gifts unique to them for their growth and evolution.
Two recognized and very great men come to mind. Each of them hit a bottom and rose magnificently from it. They did this by embracing what they held within themselves and learning to express it in their lives.
In 1927, Buckminster Fuller, after his construction company failed was unemployed and contemplated suicide. Then in this pit of darkness he had a remarkable realization. I recommend highly reading his accounts in detail to understand how he decided that he had no right to end his own life.
He concluded that he had a responsibility to use his experiences and intellect in the service of others. As a consequence, he spent nearly two years as a recluse, deep in contemplation about the universe and how he could best contribute to humanity. – Buckminster Fuller Institute Biography
He found these resources within himself.
A man whose writing I enjoy very much is Eckhart Tolle. One night shortly after his 29th birthday, Tolle says he was in a state of suicidal despair.
“I couldn’t live with myself any longer. And this question arose without an answer: who is the ‘I’ that cannot live with the self? What is the self? I felt drawn into a void. I didn’t know at the time that what really happened was the mind-made self, with its heaviness, its problems, that lives between the unsatisfying past and fearful future, collapsed. It dissolved.”- Telegraph Magazine
After this experience he also began a journey of exploration of deeper understanding. Going in even deeper into the personal experience of life. Not numbing or avoiding it or even considering the drastic point of terminating it.
He found these resources within himself.
Before entering a life of recovery we blame the behaviors. The drinking or using, the eating, the gambling. Putting the behaviors aside we realize they are symptoms. In recovery we can gain tools to understand the source of our pain, fear and suffering. Utilizing these we can continue to have a real and meaningful life outside of any dependence on a substance or behavior for a sense of peace and fulfillment. Or even a way to “just get by”.
Recovery is not a ME thing, it is a WE thing. Personal counseling combined with a 12 step program is a brilliant and proven formula for success and personal growth. Personal life skills including meditation, exercise or journaling can be essential to success for different people. Each individual can develop their own most effective path to recovery with proper guidance and honesty with themselves.
In future days I will be addressing these tools directly and how they can benefit each of us. Learning and utilizing new ways of thinking about life events and our self-talk include direct techniques that can help us re-wire the way we have operated before.
I hope you will share your comments and experiences here. Please contact me if there is a way I can be of service to help you find your Starting Line.
“…Mankind never attacks fundamental problems until it exhausts all superficial ones”