Addicts and alcoholics don’t just have a drug and alcohol problem, they have a ‘living life’ problem. They run around propelled by self-will, which is absolutely hopeless. For me, navigating this world by self-will ensured that I was completely useless to those around me. I couldn’t get a job, keep a job, finish school, control my emotions, have healthy relationships, stay sober, not sink into a mind-blowing depression… and the shameful list goes on and on.
This is why I took a 3rd Step and attempted to turn my will over to God. Sounds ridiculous, right? Fine, let’s look at it on a practical level. All this means is that I’m not going to rely on my fucked up mind to guide me through life anymore. Instead, I was going to pray and listen. I wasn’t going to ignore what I felt was the right thing to do. I was going to start listening to my gut, to my conscience. I had to. My attempts at planning life, trying to script what I should do, making life decisions, controlling things = sheer comedy. Doing things my own way = total disaster. When I do something my way, bad things happen. Cars are totalled. Jobs are totalled. Savings is totalled. Credit score is totalled. Girlfriends are totalled. Close friendships are lost. Respect of family is lost. Self-esteem and self-worth are lost. Hope, purpose, and will are all lost. Feelings overwhelm me. Darkness wraps itself around me and then I’m toast.
So right now I’m pretty much about to wrap this up. Therefore, all I need to think about and focus on is finishing this. Then I’ll publish it. Then I’ll probably have to walk around the house with my newborn son and sing to him to calm him down. Then the dog goes out for her late night pee. Then I brush my teeth and so forth. In early recovery, when I was in trouble and felt like I was going crazy, this is exactly what I did – just what was right in front of me. No need to think about the past or the future. Neither exist. I just need to put one foot in front of the other and do what’s next. Focusing on whatever simple activity is right in front of you is a great way to stay in the moment. For sure, I am happiest when I’m NOT thinking. An empty mind is true peace.
God, keep me out of my head today…