More and more, I have become interested about how the brain works. This is especially so when it comes to my own and my own life. So in an effort to learn more about me as well as my mistakes and behaviors and in order to understand more about the self-made roadblocks we often find in our way, I took a deeper look into the definition of what sobriety means.
According to dictionary.com, there are nine different definitions. However, a few of these stood out to me above all. According to the dictionary, to be sober is to be free from excess, extravagance, and exaggeration. To be sober is to be sane or rational, and to show self-control. Although I am some of these things, I am certainly not all.
I thought about the different versions of sobriety and the different forms of addiction. Then I took a journey to read more about compulsivity. I read about different compulsions and the reasons behind them. I read about obsession and fixation. I read about feelings and the behaviors, which I can relate to, and I read through a few testimonies and real-life stories that were told by others who have either struggled with their own dependencies or struggled with someone else that had them.
But why? Where do these things come from? Why do we find us in the wrong place at the wrong time or do the wrong things even when we know it’s the wrong thing to do? Why do we interact or react to character flaws when we know we want to be better?
I read that compulsion is behavior is defined as performing an act persistently and repetitively without it necessarily leading to an actual reward or pleasure. In other texts, I read through stories of degrading acts that come with a fleeting momentary high and resulted with a staggering and hard-falling crash. Of course, one would think the negative aspects of such behavior would cause this to stop, but yet, it’s quite the opposite. In the case of various addictions, this causes the repetitive action in a preoccupied mind. Put simply, the hole gets deeper. And the deeper we go, the deeper we fall into behavior.
Now, I have been clean from drugs and alcohol for a very long time; however, after taking a good look at the words sobriety and what that word means (as well as what that word means to me) I had to take a deeper look into myself. I started to think about emotional sobriety. I to take a look my spiritual sobriety and the balance I feel or the lack thereof.
It is said that addiction is a disease of the attitude. I have been told that depression in the brain is really just a matter of chemistry.
I have read this is a behavioral disorder and that addiction and alcoholism is a form of obsessive compulsive disorder. I heard the above referred to as a reward deficiency syndrome, and of them all, I think the last one fits very well.
It is my opinion that addiction, alcoholism, and depression is a self-destructive response disorder, in which we seek to feel better; however, we find ourselves seeking relief or release through behaviors with minimal reward. We do things we know we shouldn’t or say things we know is wrong, but yet, we say them with regret afterwards. These things can range in threat and size from small to huge, but with regards to the cognitive mind, all mistakes, no matter how small they might be are quick to become huge and self-deprecating.
I have done this on several occasions. Whether it was rage or pride or any other thing which I justified in my mind, in all honesty, I see where this is me and where I need to improve.
Although I saw myself as fit to judge my intention; I failed to look at the way my words or behaviors took effect on others. And the truth is I don’t want to live this way.
I thought about a conversation I once had with a therapist who said, “It doesn’t matter what our intention is because it’s the interpretation of what we say that can be hurtful to others.”
I used to have a sponsor that would say, “I can see you’re in need of an attitude adjustment,” when I would react to my feelings instead of use my skills to think logically.
In my own self, and since there is a saying, “To thine own self be true,” if I am to be true to myself, then I will have to be truthful about myself. Yes, I react to defects of character. Yes, I am human and yes, I have this disorder (or I guess you can call it mental illness, depending upon who you ask.)
All this means is if I want to improve and if I want to have a more desirable sobriety and a stable sense of order and peace in my life; this means I have to be mindful of what I interact with.
Pride is a killer for me. So is ego. So is depression. So are the unbalanced feelings I have sometimes, which throw me off track, and so are the fears, the anxieties, so are the financial and emotional insecurities a killer for me, so are the feelings of impending doom, as if the entire world is going to fall apart at any moment, and so are the regrets I have when I say the wrong things or act in a way that contradicts me and what I believe.
All I know is I want to be better. I think we all do, but how? I know I’m not a bad person. I know I want to improve, but how do we get away from ourselves?
That’s the real question.
How do we get away from the anxieties and the feelings of despair and loneliness? How do we get away from depression and the ways it trips us each time we try to stand and walk again?
These are honest questions. This does not mean I or we or anyone with these things are bad people. It means we make mistakes though. At least I know I do. This means there needs to be a plan of routine maintenance.
This means in order to improve, I or we or anyone that feels this way will have to create a plan, stick to it, and above all things, we need to be mindful of our thoughts and the deception of our perception.
I always go to the idea that crazy people don’t know they are crazy and stupid people think they’re smart. This means if we are aware then we are in a better place than someone who might be mentally less fortunate.
In my case, I think of what defects I react to. I think about my educational insecurity. I think about my financial fears and my personal insecurities that come from the inaccuracies in my mind, which sees me as less-than, as well as inefficient, and insufficient. I think of the piece of me that strives for attention and feels starved, but yet, at the same time; I think of the real me, the inner thoughts, and the inner discomforts, which I connect to the faults in my behavior. This is not me putting me down. Instead, this is just an honest assessment of thoughts that linger in my head.
Put simply, however, if I want to improve than I have to improve and this means I have to let go absolutely. This means I have to change my behavior in order to change my thinking and as a result, I will change how I feel about me.
And the truth of the matter is change is a frightening thing when it comes to self-help. This irks the laziness in us, which would rather sit still and remain complacent, but being still and complacent is not a link towards happiness. And me, I just want to be happy.
There is a line in a chapter known as How It Works that says, “We are not saints.” The point is (as it says right after) in order for me to improve; I need to be willing to grow along spiritual lines.
And yes, I can be proud to say that I have done good things but this does not give me permission to become complacent in other areas in my life. This is why I am going on a new journey for myself. Simply put, I want to improve. I don’t want to act or react. I do not want to be “That guy” either and I don’t want to degrade me or anyone else. I don’t want to argue, fight, or struggle anymore.
I can see when these discomforts of mine come in to play. I can tell when the feelings are coming the same way I can tell it will rain when storm clouds are moving in. Same as when it rains, I need to prepare for what’s coming and act accordingly.
The first step here is admitting the problem and accepting the terms. The second step is understanding the acts of insanity. And the third is the turn of a spiritual new leaf.
This is a hard thing for people to do on their own, which is why I say thank God for fellowships and sponsors . . .