Great article by my great friend Shawn. You can follow Shawn @shazam1985 on twitter. Enjoy!
Our greatest enemy is our own thinking mind.
What happens with an obsession of a thinking mind. I have found out in the most difficult way what happens when I become a slave to my own thinking. For the longest time I always looked to find sense of ease and comfort in relationships, jobs, money and alcohol. I always came up short. I was always looking for something outside of me, but I was always lost. What I have learned during these 3 years in sobriety is to get unhooked from my own self. We are owned by a thinking mind. The “thing” that always takes us back to which is killing us. Our greatest enemy is our own thinking mind.
The Mental Obsession
There have been countless times where I would be crying in the middle of the night not knowing exactly why I drank again. This would usually end up being after a very deep binge and the complete inability to stop drinking. I have met many addicts and alcoholics who are puzzled at this phenomenon. Why are they puzzled? They have no understanding why they keep going back to what is killing them. We essentially love the effect produced by our drink and drug, but what invariably happens we become a slave to it. When we become a slave to it, the strongest desire not to drink and drug becomes of no avail. What is a mental obsession and why is it so important to understand?
The number one reason why we always go back to our lifestyle is because of this obsession. We convince ourselves this time it will be different and disregard any of the consequences from our last drink or drug. The mind tells us everything will be ok despite the debacle we left behind. Nobody likes to think they are bodily and mentally different from their fellows, therefore, we try our hardest to drink and drug normally.
I am willing to go to any lengths to get a drink but when it comes to God I suddenly have limitations.
I recently wrote an article about willingness and this relates perfectly to this topic. For example. If we hit one of our multiple bottoms and we have the firm desire not to go back, why is it we always go back? There’s an old saying that “the way” gets in “the way”. We are given directions and suggestions on how to get better but our mind and ego still want us to drink and drug. I’m willing to go to any lengths to chase a bag of dope, I’m willing to go to any lengths to get a drink but when it comes to experiencing God and finally getting free, suddenly we have limitations.
We have limitations on what this should look like. Because the mind is hesitant and not willing to do this. Mind and Ego, are intertwined with one another. I will give you another example on how this obsession works. Let’s say I am sober for X amount of days and I have somewhat of an understanding what the next drink will do to me. But, the mind convinces me to drink lite beer this time instead of hard liquor. Why is my mind telling me this? My mind convinces me the reason I ended up in detox the last time is because I drank too much vodka, and lite beer won’t get me that messed up? Is this true?? This is a complete and utter fallacy. Speaking for me, I have no power choice and control when I am drinking, therefore I will always end up drinking to excess because I have the complete inability to stop.
Another example of the obsession is this so-called “marijuana maintenance”. I tried it numerous times because my mind convinced me I never had a problem with it, therefore, its safe for me to smoke a little pot. Did this work for me?? NOPE! I always ended up drinking. I don’t know how many heroin addicts I know who have not only tried the marijuana maintenance, but have also tried to drink because the mind convinces them it’s not their drug of choice, therefore they can do it. Did this work for them? NOPE!! I have personally met hundreds of addicts and alcoholics who have tried this method, and every single time it proves to be wrong. You see how this obsession works! Its delusional thinking. Unfortunately many have died because of this fallacy.
They fall victim to the common belief they can drink and drug safely, which it is so unfortunate. I have met some amazing guys since I have been sober, and these same guys have died because of this obsession. The thinking mind hijack them and takes them for an all too familiar ride which ended up destination death for them. Many of you who are reading this know many people who have died from overdoses, and I am truly sorry for your loss. I mean that from the bottom of my heart. It’s so unfortunate. It truly hurts. I just wish I could help them all.
The Unmanageability of Life
When we look at unmanageability, it’s very easy to look at the external things that are going on in our life. I don’t have a job. I’m currently in trouble with the law. My wife and kids are leaving me. I have no money. I’m homeless. Etc… I could go on and on. Yes, those are pure definitions of unmanageability. But………. What is so unmanageable about our lives when we are sober? What is so unmanageable about my life when I’m 60 or 90 days sober sitting in an AA meeting? This is also known as a spiritual malady. Aside from the external things, our mind is also torturing us with bedevilment. This harasses and torments us. What happens to us when we fall victim to this malady? Well we become fearful, self-delusional. We are a prey to misery, we drown in self-pity. WE CANT BE OF USE TO ANYBODY, except ourselves. This is what I walked with dead sober. How many of you can relate? You all should be agreeing right now.
My mind was constantly racing. The only way to ease this was to keep on boozing. We all have heard the term, “living life on life’s terms? Right? I’m sorry to break it to you, it didn’t work for me. Living life on life’s term is full of doubt, stress, and skepticism. I need a drink just to wake up. I need a drink to talk with my family. I need a drink just to start my car. I need a drink before anything. For me, that was living life on life’s terms. What about the many people going to multiple treatment centers, how is living life on life’s terms treating you? Somebody who has ten 30 day chips form either AA or NA, how is living life on life’s terms treating you? I could go on and on. Get the picture? If we are 100% dependent on or own mind to get us through life, these issues are always going to crop up.
The return to the drink or drug.
What about the sprees? For a lot of us, including myself, my disease went underground and resurfaced in other areas in my life, they are called the sprees. Sex sprees, food sprees, money sprees, working sprees, and most of all, thinking sprees. If we just stop drinking and drugging, and think we can fix, manage and control our own life, this is bound to happen, then followed by the inevitable. The return to the drink or drug.
There is A Solution
One of the things we have to get is swallowing a bitter pill and saying “I CANT DO LIFE”. I failed miserably. Listen, we have tried every single method to try to beat this disease but we always come up short. I have tried every kind of method to try to beat this disease, but EVERY SINGLE TIME, it always led me to pitiful, incomprehensible, demoralization. I just couldn’t do life. I failed miserably. I got an “F” on my report card for trying to do life. But something does happen which indeed becomes the miracle of this program of recovery. Whether we belong to AA, CA, NA, or CR, we look for teachers, sponsors, and we live life by what they tell us to do.
We must check our pride and ego at the door when we want to have a new experience. Everything we knew must be tossed out because it doesn’t work. These teachers play a role in helping us become free of the thinking mind. We take instructions from people who have proven to us this solution worked for them. We have to come into these rooms and have the desperation of a drowning man. Our goal is to become 100% free form the thought of drinking and drugging. I will promise you this, YOU WILL GET WELL. Why? Because you’ve been split wide open. The ego will get ground into dust and the new journey will offer you so many miracles along the way.
The 12 steps helped me establish a direct relationship with God.
How did I get away from the thinking mind? I had to incorporate a 12 step program into my life. These 12 steps cut right through the “isms” of my disease and help me establish a direct relationship with God. I learned during this process what it is that I suffer from, at a cellular level. How can I get well if I don’t understand what is wrong with me? I had to understand and work at it. The 12 steps helped me grind my ego into dust.
What my days look like now are nothing like they used to be. I no longer feel, think or act like I once did. Because of the 12 steps and God, I have had a complete psychic change. I can’t explain it. We don’t have to understand it, let’s just go out there and experience it. I can navigate through life without having to drink. I take an awakened spirit on a daily basis to my home, occupation and affairs. This spirit allows me to get out of myself and be of maximum service to God and others. Additionally, I chop at my ego on a daily basis and carry out Gods vision via steps 10 and 11. Chop Wood & Carry Water.
My Name is Shawn and I am a Recovered alcoholic
Sober since 8/23/12