Neutral is reverse for guys like me. I woke up this morning, forgot to take a moment to stop, be still, listen and pray, and instead just started rushing around. As years go by, I find myself getting up and without thinking or stopping, I go full speed ahead, diving into bills, work, this, that.
Let me warn drug addicts NOT to do that.
Don’t do what I do, at least not on those days. Why? Because guys like me naturally move backwards if we’re not moving forward. I naturally become sicker if I’m not actively working on myself. I can’t stop praying or meditating, I can’t stop thinking about others or helping others, I can’t stop emptying my mind of resentment or stop searching for other ways to heal and evolve… at least not without becoming spiritually sick again. I must grow. Hanging out is not an option. Floating is not an option. Neutral is not a gear addicts have in their transmission.
To hide from what I need to do, I distract myself by using several coping methods. Exercise is probably the best and most effective distraction. Sure it’s healthy. Sure it’s good for me. It also alters my bio-chemistry by releasing endorphins that act on the dopaminergic reward system in my brain, thereby flushing my nervous system with natural pain relief. In English, exercising is like a mini drug, an anti-depressant. Should I stop exercising? No, but it’s still a distraction. Finding something to fix in my house is another wonderful distraction. I’ll wake up some days and decide to go scrape and paint my entire stairwell for no reason whatsoever. Hours and hours soar by without a single thought invading my mind. Pure peace. Cleaning and organizing are other decent distractions. TV and that movie theatre-style popcorn they sell now are some of the more unproductive distractions. And we quickly go down from there. Use your imagination.
What’s the point? Well, for one, these distractions are only necessary when I’m not okay, or when I’m not willing to do the real work on myself. It’s easier to just go exercise, or paint, or watch TV than it is to meditate, or write inventory, or go speak to a group of people about addiction and the Twelve Steps. Let me assure any addicts out there that the harder thing to do is without question the better thing. Easy is bad for alcoholics and junkies. Easy is what we do. Easy is like our personal code or creed. Easy is our religion. Just like selfish is. But hard is good for us. If I’m not challenging myself, it’s all over.
That’s one reason why and how I got better. I’m such a stubborn bastard, that I made it a challenge. I wanted to prove to myself and to everybody else that I wasn’t a total loser and a complete fucking coward, so I put every ounce of energy and willingness that I had left in my mind, body and soul towards getting better. For the first several years of recovery, the only thing that went through my mind was how I can serve God. Then I remembered I also have a wife and family. And believe me, taking care of your family is probably the single best thing you can do with your life. The easy amends was the one to the clerk at Dunkin’ Donuts who I verbally abused because she charged me for an empty cup. But the living amends to my family that goes on and on everyday for the rest of my life. That’s the real work. Why? For one, I don’t wipe my hands after a quick ‘sorry’ and off I go. Nope. I owe it to them to become a better husband, son and brother every day until I die.
It’s always good for addicts to remember that they really don’t deserve the people who stick it out with them. How lucky we truly are…
God, teach me to stop, listen, pray, and remember You before I start my day…