I’ll feel better – if you feel worse

Resolution, alone, was hardly enough to make a significant change in the quality of my life. My daily resolve was to stop. My daily achievement was to not.

There had to be some middle ground, why couldn’t I find it? I was to spend many years hunting a feeling that was never to return. I squandered many moments wishing for circumstances to be different, yet unwilling to do what it took to make it different. I was beaten emotionally when I finally accepted that I didn’t have a clue how to fix me.

To maximize this pain, I felt pitiful. I was truly disgusted that I couldn’t figure it out on my own. I hated me from every angle—sober or not, I was a mistake.  I was failing at what seemed like the pop-quiz of life. I must have been sick the day the teacher announced the forthcoming test. No one else seemed unable to answer the questions correctly. It would be so convenient to just erase me from this life. Just disappear and no one would know.

What was I to do?

My first great idea: If I was to constantly feel so less-than, so inadequate, so incapable, so inferior, so alone, and so wrong—so …. would … you! This is was my brilliant plan. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a conscious plan. It just happened, it just evolved. I didn’t know how to feel good. So if I was going to feel horrible…you were too. Now we were on an even playing field.

I criticized you and then my behavior doesn’t seem so glaring.

I belittled you and then I don’t have to see my smallness.

I persecuted you and then we both got to suffer and feel tortured.

I yelled at you and then I didn’t have to hear you yell at me and say what I already knew.

I stayed silent, felt sorry for me and then maybe you would feel sorry for me too. Maybe you would have mercy on me. Maybe you would forgive me because I didn’t know how to forgive myself.

I didn’t deserve forgiving though. Why? I wasn’t going to stop my behavior and I knew it. I wanted to want to stop. So I pulled you down with me. And in some sick and senseless way that made it all okay.

Until it did not!

My second great idea: Fix the real problem—my subconscious thinking. My resolution alone was not enough to make the change. My subconscious mind was too strong. If I was to reprogram my mind I must be ready for a battle. It was clear the subconscious mind would not give up without a struggle. It was the battle in which I prepared for my love-of-self to win. My less than loving thoughts would have to subordinate if I was to survive and be sane. I came to learn these four things:

  1. My subconscious mind is running the show
  2. Resolution alone is not enough to change a habit
  3. I can’t make it alone
  4. Thoughts are a type of energy and therefore programmable.

As ill prepared as I was, I have managed to win this battle—today (and for many todays). I asked for help. I followed trusted suggestion and direction. I reaped the rewards of not doing it the way I thought I would. I’ve stopped chasing that pseudo-feeling (that was oh-so fleeting). And I have certainly stopped acting surprised by life’s pop-quizzes.

We are not alone in our battle, but we are the only one who can fight for us. If we don’t do it, it will go undone. Fight for your life today. You’re important. You matter.

***

LISA NEUMANN IS A RECOVERY COACH AND THE AUTHOR OF “SOBER IDENTITY: TOOLS FOR REPROGRAMMING THE ADDICTIVE MIND”

No Responses to “I’ll feel better – if you feel worse

  • Great post Lisa.

    Ronnie.

    PS.
    I like the appropriateness of the Wrong Way sign.

    • Thanks Ronnie. Hoping everyone out there can find someone who they are willing to trust and awaken the courage to change. Addiction is just the “wrong way”

  • Incredible post. “Thoughts are (…) programmable”, how groundbreaking! The thing is, how do I get to reprogram them efficiently without falling in the same hole over and over?

    • E, I will teach you. It’s not a linear process. What is XYZ-ABC for one will be LMN-XYZ for the next. What we figure out our “limiting belief” (aka as seen through addictive behavior) and start to unravel there. There are clues in the way we behave that scream to awaken us. I haven’t started on your answers yet, but promise to make it a priority. You will hear from me within the next 12 hours. For now: Observe, without judgment your thoughts about you when you behave less-than you think you should have. I can take you through the 10-challenges and also help you develop the 5-key competencies. I promise you will change! L

  • Hi Lisa, I am reading a section of your book that mirrors this post… NO COINCIDENCES! I truly mean what I am about to write… every time I open your book it speaks directly to what is happening in my life. It (and you) are amazing!

    • J, Thank you for the lovely words. It is no coincidence we have crossed paths. I hope we have a long (and continuously sober) friendship. with love, Lisa

  • Thanks for the post. I really enjoy your writing! I thought maybe you were a professional writer and then I realize that you are! I would love to check your book out. I could absolutely identify with the way that you were speaking about yourself and the way way you treated others and why you did that. I got help from New Life House – A Structured Sober Living. Check out their site. I think you would enjoy it.

    • Eddie,
      Interesting, how strange it still feels to have my writing complimented. That thought in my head that says, “you’re a loser, an alcoholic loser,” hasn’t completely gone away. I do my best to manage it. I talk about this very thing in my book: Living a lifetime with a recovered addict’s mentality. I find the power of the subconscious to be intriguing and that, in part, was why I wrote my book. I do hope you enjoy it and share it.
      With gratitude for your comment and especially your kind words, Lisa

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