I now employ a slew of tactics to ward off the depression, anger, boredom, frustration and other spiritual demons. The Big Book refers to them as RID (Restlessness, Irritability, Discontent), and they occur when we remove the substances. In fact, they tend to occur when we remove any kind of distraction whatsoever. And besides the spiritual or psychological work that all of us addicts and alcoholics must do, I usually have to engage in all sorts of menial tasks to try to get out of my head and raise my seratonin/dopamine levels. Ultimately, however, there no is activity that can fix us or free us. We must turn to something much Greater.
But they sure are useful.
Exercise is one. And sure it’s like a form of torture to get up and go for a run after years of remaining sedentary. Making it a routine is near impossible, but I can assure you that once you motivate to exercise enough times, it becomes less difficult, and eventually it’s just like eating or sleeping… or something you just have to do in order to ward off the various forms of insanity.
Menial tasks such as cleaning, organizing or gardening can also bring me back into the moment and clear my head. Pick up a broom and see what happens. If your mind is in any way as active and nutso as mine, it may help. The past is gone and the future doesn’t exist yet, so why go there? Just to cause us more pain? To think that I might actually be pain-dependant, or something equally masochistic. How ridiculous.
Finally, there is no such thing as missing out. I used to think that if I stayed at home and cleaned, then somehow I was missing out on life, on having fun, on some job, or maybe on becoming a star! Nope. There is no ‘missing out’. Because even if I was living some fantasy dream, none of it would matter if I was constantly suffering.
Who cares what we have, what we’re doing, or who we’re with if we feel like complete and total shit? All that really matters is how we’re feeling inside. If I am content and at peace, then it doesn’t matter where I am or what I’m doing. That’s why some of my happiest times are when I’m scrubbing scum off of my kitchen floor or scooping up a pile of dog shit in my yard.
God, please show me healthier, more productive ways to distract myself when necessary…