My attitude sucks. It isn’t focused on recovery. It is focused on not feeling. It is focusing on not admitting that I messed up earlier. And rather than do that I am just avoiding all of these feelings. Well, I have two hours of work left and I am going to feel like a real asshole if I get nothing done in those two hours. So screw it. Here it goes. I should be grateful that I have this job. I need to figure out this addiction because I have people relying on me. And yes this is going to be damn hard, but I have to want to stay present plain and simple. Also, I think restarting ERP would help me.
Are you me? Because I could have written those lines just as much. So let me encourage you to face your fears again - and again and again. You will fail. Until you once won‘t. And then it will all have been worth it.
Two terrible weeks. So I am going to do this differently. I am going to connect here daily. I am going to do ERP daily. I am going to meditate daily. And I am going to blog here about mindfulness daily.
Please do so! How was today for you?
I’m probably the last person that should be writing anything right now that is insightful or meaningful. So I’m just going to write something that is at the very least honest. So here is the deal. Being mindful is damn hard once you have experienced trauma and abuse. But after today I can see pretty damn clearly that even if it is harder it is better. I have two choices. Bury every thought and feeling and suffer the consequences or live them out, be present, and reap the benefits.
This truly is the Feed The Right Wolf parable at its finest. The wolf that wins is the one that I feed, no doubt about it. So here is the point. This is going to be a month long process. Every day is going to be about doing daily meditation, exposure therapy and having the goal of another day where my relationship with the internet changes.
I’m going to take this one day at a time. I’m going to live one moment at a time. I am going to teach myself how to do this and that is what I will write about here.
Don‘t worry, I feel equally dumb failing at my own goals and then trying to help others on here. The thing is that it‘s not phony - you don‘t have to achieve something in order to tell others that it‘s worth achieving.
Keep going, keep writing. It‘s a damn hard journey for sure. I‘ll be here to follow along if it helps.
Bad start this morning. But, I am trying to get back on track with some writing.
The human mind is such a mixed place. Think about everything that it has created. The human mind created physical objects like planes, computers, cars, iPhones, soccer balls, and houses. It also created unique concepts like love, family, community, and cities. It takes a lot of components to a brain to create such abstract concepts. It is a beautiful team that drives this machine to new and evolutionary heights. But, what happens when this machine suddenly malfunctions. With our cars the car does not go as fast if the transmission is stalling. With our computers were suddenly cannot do all of the functions with a virus. In many ways we become those malfunctions. When our computer has a virus the first thing that we say about it isn’t, “this is my laptop”, but rather, “my laptop has a virus”. When we malfunction our identity changes. And until we rectify the malfunction our identity will stay that way.
The point to this long metaphor is that the brain can malfunction. Since it is such a complex organism that malfunction can cause many things. If the brain has a stroke then the malfunction is physical and mental. If we are born with autism then the malfunction is social. If the source is chemical then the malfunction is often intellectual. But what about if our source is physical, emotional, and sexual trauma? Then what is the malfunction? The malfunction can be self-harm. It can be reclusion. Or it can be rage. But, in the end what do all of those things have in common? The real malfunction that occurs is a loss of the present moment. After abuse the present moment feels like a place that is unsafe, foreign, and unmanageable.
So how do we make it manageable again? In part, mindfulness. Mindfulness is a buzz word that is often thrown around without much clarity or dignity. But, in the case of those with malfunction of mindlessness mindfulness provides part of the solution by allowing individuals to let that present moment feel safe and manageable again through guided practice. That is the premise of where this journal/blog will go. We will explore how mindfulness works to delete the malfunction of the brain and what are the best ways to be mindful.
So how does mindfulness help a recovering addict. Well, the simplest answer is that mindfulness allows for us to enjoy the journey. I don’t know who wrote it, but I know that someone wrote that it isn’t about the result you get at the end of the road, but rather the journey you take to get there. Mindfulness allows us to fully experience that journey. It lets us appreciate every struggle, every breath, and every triumph from an honest perspective that is not smeared by our subjective, judgmental, internal mind.
Being fully present in the journey is the greatest result.
Yeah ok so being real I am in no place to be writing about mindfulness when I am in no way mindful. It’s like a basketball player trying to write a blog about Cricket. Not gonna work.
Instead tonight I am going to write a little bit about my trauma. When I was dating my future wife I had an adversarial relationship with my future father in-law. He was manipulative and emotionally abusive to my wife and mother-in-law. I was told by my own family to just stay out of it. Until one day I could not. The irony is that what he did to cross the line to a point where I said I needed to step in was not really anything over the top. It was just another moment for him. But, for me this moment was so much bigger because it involved me. I’m suddenly realized how egotistical that sounds, but it is the truth.
See, he could have a shitty relationship with my wife as long as it did not directly involve me. That was their relationship and per my family and culture I was not supposed to get into that relationship. When I did I was accused of meddling and was in a shouting match that I relived in my head for a week straight. It turns out that I have still never fully come back from that reliving and I think that five years later I kind of know why.
I’ve never moved on from that night. And as much as this sickens me to say this, I need to forgive him. I need to wash my hands of him and create a space where my present has no links to my past. So tonight I begin the process of forgiving. And tomorrow I will continue it.
But, I have to ask myself a question before I go down this path so as to place it in a linear line. Have I hurt people in the same way that my father-in-law hurt me? The answer to that question is yes. The more entrenched in my addiction to the internet the more I became like my pseudo creator. I started to yell in situations where it was illogical so as to protect the secrecy of my habits. I would lie just as well as my father in law for self-preservation. I have been distant and unable to emotionally attach like him at times because of my addiction. I’ve made promises that I meant to keep, but chose to keep my promises to my addiction instead. I’ve had a successful career and I look like I have it all together, but when you go home there are some serious cracks in the foundation just like him. Worst of all, the person I have hurt is the same person he abused, my wife.
And yet, I forgive him because while it is reprehensible what he has done…I know he was doing it to survive in the world he created because I have been doing the same thing. I have done everything to survive in this world. I have had three shitty weeks with little sprinkles of recovery thrown in there just to feign an attempt at change. I get it. I live with a part of the monster that created me.
But, tonight I let him go and become whatever beast of my own choosing seems appropriate. Goodnight.
Tonight I want to write about a real routine. Tomorrow I will be journaling about guilt and shame, but for tonight I want to write about routine. I know my demons. I know the solution to fixing them. I’ve just only ever done some of the work for those demons. I need to do all of the work for my demons though. So, in order to do that I need to have a routine that I live and die by. I need to have real non-negotiables. Before I got a dog I had a routine I liked and I was actually doing really well averaging months that were 75-85% productive. Since getting the dog I have lost routine and I would like to journal to get it back. So, here is my Monday-Friday routine.
5:30 AM wake up.
535 take dog outside to pee and for a morning walk.
550 AM: Hand dog off to wife and go and meditate for 10 minutes.
600 AM Make breakfast and clean kitchen
630 AM Dog training
700 AM wife leaves. ERP and feed dog
710 AM Take dog out for walk
730 AM shower, shave, and get dressed
750 AM Odds and ends and leave for work
800 AM leave for work
At work I will also be coming back from my lunch break and doing a mini meditation and mini ERP session.
I need routine because my morning has to consist of meditation and ERP. Consistent practice of those two principles are the only way that I will succeed. I also know that mornings have been a mess for me since I got the dog and this is an honest and reasonable solution.
Ok so I had three and a half really good days and then I fell off the boat the second half of yesterday and now the first half of today. I know what causes my problem. I know it is the non-stop train of thoughts in my head. I know that my brain has this desire to be mindless as a coping mechanism. But, I have to stop. I haven’t done ERP or meditated today. I am going to do both of those in order to salvage part of this day.
I took some time away from here and I came back with a really simple conclusion:
I have spent the past DECADE caring for other people and in that time I completely unlearned how to care for myself. And now I am sinfully resentful of my wife, my coworkers, and just life in general. But, here is the thing. Not one single person I was a caregiver for ever asked me to stop caring about myself. I chose to do that. And the way that I coped with not giving a shit about myself was by sitting on the internet for hours…and hours…and hours.
Start caring for yourself by investing time into yourself, not the internet. And let us know how your story unfolds further.
Thanks horatio. I have started to care for myself and I am trying to catch myself every time I start trying to care for others in my head rather than handling the situation that is in front of me.
I’m going to give myself some workout goals.
First one is to do 150 pushups in the month of February.
Alright folks this is the week I actually do it. This week I am actually taking care of myself. I’m not just putting others before me. I am taking care of me first. I am meditating, journaling, and exercising and even if I don’t get those things done in a day my body is a temple and I am not sacrifcing it to sit like a statue in front of a screen. That is the ultimate form of taking care of myself.
Its the same shit over and over again. I have a couple of good days and then I choose to not care about myself and I end up on the phone or computer for hours and hours and it disrupts my life. I’m so tired of not caring enough about myself. All I do is care for others and not me. It is not sustainable.