Ten years ago I was still struggling to piece my life back together after a colossal relationship failure turned trauma. Being one of those people that serves herself wisdom on a platter of reflection a lot, I chose to revisit some of that struggle today as a gentle reminder of how far I’ve come. Since surmounting that period in my life, and no matter how much I struggle with new things, I realize the famous “light at the end of the tunnel” cliché has been true thus far.
Be that as I wrote it, vigilance is at the heart of this matter. I have to strip myself down to bare awareness. I have to be fierce in my conviction to want the best me to sift to the surface. I have to throw my arms around the faux hazard of change and embrace it earnestly. I have to be willing to be so much better than every before… every time.
Within all that, I’ll note that I’m a big fan of writing to oneself. I’ve often written free form to myself through journaling, or stories. I’ve sent myself letters through the mail, and written emails and sent them to myself. I find these methods effective for different reasons. Not in the least, they’re a pause on the instantaneous reactionary selves, which all too often may get us in trouble. If I react to myself first, instead of reacting to another, I partially process the reaction as if I was the receiver too, not only the sender. I swear it helps. Corny or not. Besides, I’ve evolved in that I don’t much care what anyone thinks about things that work wonders for me anyway. I defy you to choose your best things with as much discernment.
Equally while dancing the spectrum of an old me betwixt the current me stepping into age-old overanalysis, I thought a playful writing I then executed holds a timeless quality. Lucky you, I’m sharing that pearl today. It works like a charm frequently for me.
What Never Feels Like (circa 2008)
It doesn’t take much to dissolve a sugar cube- you simply place it inside your mouth, resting it languidly atop your tongue, closing your mouth to keep out any air and you let it all melt down to nothing. So, what does it take in equal form to dissolve an addiction? Can’t I find the same easy key to getting rid of something- someone? Can’t I take every thought of X (“him” in my case, or insert your own name) and my desire to contact him or keep him in my life, even at a controlled distance, and make it all vanish, never to appear again? What does never feel like?
Instructions on: How to Banish an Addiction for Good
(aka Life Lesson # 1111- one thousand one hundred eleven, for those keeping count in my universal log book)
First, find your damn addiction and know exactly where it eats, sleeps, moves, creeps, crawls, and struggles. DO NOT EVER go near any of these locations regardless of whether they be your favorite dive (you can find a new one!), the best spot for your next date (he better have more than one hip spot in mind), the gallery where you’ve always wanted to show your photography (what the hell do you think the Internet is optimized for researching anyway?), or the country you’ve always wanted to live in (there are others and God knows the economy of this planet is struggling, so go serve somewhere else cool). Now, seeing that this is an addiction with savvy ways, should this addiction be seen near your home, near where you eat or sleep, near your friends and family, well then, it is time to move on to step two.
Secondly, if said addiction is directly invading your personal space, then it is time for some serious changes. You’ve always enjoyed new friends- get some! Any that remain near the addiction are not worth your time anyway. There is no gray area here- get that straight. You’ve been wanting a new family, and that biological clock is ticking anyway, right? Now’s the time to test that ground. Find some new family if your addiction is too close to your own. You’ve always wanted to move. Hell, you’ve kept moving since said addiction started to make a hole in your world. Now is the time to fill that hole and find the world as you’ve always dreamt it could be for you. There is no place too far that you can’t uncover with your wanderlust, so go for it! What’s stopping you from a career in New Zealand, South Africa, Fiji, Bali or beyond?
Ok, I think you get it. I know it’s not easy. What the heck were you using that word for anyway. Nothing about change is ever easy. You think Barack will ever look back for a second and feel any part of his Presidential run and life was easy? Likely no! You have to enjoy the fight, and we know how much you like to sweat, so beating this addiction is tailor made for a hard worker like yourself. Get to work then!
Now, I hear you’ve been earning your stripes in the healing arts- meditation, 12-step, Pilates, yoga, prayer, spirituality, ritual, community and communication. Cheers big shot! Don’t forget to use those darn skills instead of just yap about the fact that you know them. It is time to be and take action, not time to talk about how great it is that you’re a survivor. If you manage to truly surmount this one, you’ll have plenty of time to share those tales with your grand kids, or at least your nephews and nieces when their times of need come in their later years. God willing they will adore you as much as we predict and they will listen. Again, now’s the time for victory, not verbosity.
So, this is clear right? You have but one goal, one focus- wiping this addiction like the Etch A Sketch wipes the screen, poof! It’s gone and time to start a new creative act. (And I don’t mean finding another addiction, another damaged man or thing to take on, ahem!)
Can you pony up? Are you one of the heroes we’ve been looking for? The mind is a trap of good and bad. It’s all in your mind. The ways to win these mental wars are all within your makeup. It’s merely free will to choose the freedom of joy- not pain, love- not shame and strife… are you with me?
You are me… you better be!