So my intention to wake earlier manifested itself today. I found myself awake naturally at 06:00 and rather than turn over and go back to sleep I decided to start my day.
Because I ate breakfast at about 07:30 and then didn’t eat again until I got back from the cinema at about 15:00, I found that tiredness had caught up with me again by about 17:00. I went up stairs to lie down and watch some 80’s TV and before the end of the 40 minute episode I was drifting off and ended up turning it off and going to sleep.
I didn’t wake up again until 22:00, so I have missed my SAA meeting this evening.
I want to talk a bit more about my recovery today.
For me, recovery from addiction and depression is simple.
Simple is not the same as easy.
I find it simple because once I know what I do and don’t want in and from my life I can make choices that lead me to where I do and don’t want to be.
This isn’t easy because to start off with I didn’t know what I wanted, so I started to build a list of all the things I didn’t want. As I slowly offloaded my excess baggage I found more and more holes within myself. Gaps if you like, in my personality. Things that I had clung onto because I had associated them with myself, but actually they weren’t me and some of them weren’t healthy for me at all.
As I’ve lighted myself and discovered these gaps within myself, I have then realised that I need to fill these blank spaces with new things. This wasn’t easy because I still didn’t have enough self esteem, motivation or appreciation for myself to actually want to fill these gaps. For a long time I enjoyed the emptiness.
Working out what I didn’t want to be was hard. It was painful and it took a lot of time and inner sole searching. To come to the conclusion that you don’t very much like yourself takes courage. What you do with that realisation is one of two things…
For me, I could have continued with my denial, fooled myself that I wasn’t really all that bad and continued to live a life that was a lie. I could have continued to act out, drink alcohol and generally abuse my body and mind in different ways, fooling myself that I was OK. Thing is, I’d been doing that for over 20 years and where had it got me? Albert Einstein was a smarter than average bloke, so I like to refer myself back to his words of wisdom:
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
My second choice was to accept these defects of character and to love myself regardless. This didn’t happen overnight but it did happen kind of quickly in the end. In recovery people refer to their addictive tendencies as ‘their addict’. I get the reference, but I don’t like using it and here’s why.
Part of me isn’t an addict. I am an addict. I can’t talk about ‘my addict’ in the third person because that makes me feel like I’m disconnected from myself and denying a part of myself that is actually a core and intrinsic part of my being.
My revelation happened when rather than see my addict as a character flaw, I decided to love my addict and accept that I am an addict, it is part of me. At that moment I started to find peace because I was no longer in conflict with myself.
I then used the same logic with my depression. Rather than fight my depression I just accepted it and began to love it as a fundamental part of who I am. I view my mental illness as both my curse and my blessing, only I had chosen not to see it as a blessing.
I’ve had insights into my own mind and my own being that I believe I am very fortunate to have had. My illness has been my lifelong cause. It has taken me to the edge of insanity but at the same time it has also shown me the path to enlightenment.
The minute we start denying ourselves is the minute that we start to lose ourselves. There are two parts to me and only one is real.
- My conscious self, which is the part that witnesses everything
- My mind, which is the part that I get caught up in and lost in
Both appear to be real, but when I am calm and at peace I become aware that my mind isn’t real. My conscious self is the one that’s in control and present, my mind is just there as a storage and retrieval mechanism. The simple analogy would be that of a human sitting at a computer. The computer may hold all the data and perform all the functions, but the thing in control is the human sat in front of the screen, tapping on the keyboard. You can leave a computer unattended for hours, weeks or days and it will either perform the tasks you have set it to do, or just sit there idling.
I love my conscious self. My mind has defects, but now that I’m aware that I am not my mind I can accept my minds defects and see them as simple challenges to be overcome.
After all, when we are present and connected to our conscious selves, we realise that problems are complicated, solutions are simple and that’s recovery in a nutshell.