One of the most peculiar things you’ll hear in the rooms of Recovery is that “my mind has a contract out on my ass”.
A typical response to such a claim might be a complete dismissal. “My mind is just fine, thank you very much”, I’d said to myself the first time I heard that. I considered myself to be a very kind person with a strong head on my shoulders and felt bad for the guy.
I grew to despise the blanket statements and repetitive rhetoric that is so frequently passed around AA meetings. Instead of allowing my intolerant mind to run wild at meetings, I now look for simple soundbites of truth at meetings instead. Sure, the unoriginal platitudes people regularly pass around sound brilliant at first, but for those who have been around for a while, it serves as an irritant. The shares that really touch my heart are authentic speeches that you can tell directly apply to that person’s life and have resulted through their own personal experience.
Truth is foundational in Recovery, a double-edged sword that can equally be used for healing as it can be used to shame. The problem I seem to be regularly faced with after some years in is when I peculiarly catch myself using the truth to harm myself.
Prior to entering AA, and beginning to change my whole fucking life, my impulsive self-destructive tendencies were managed through the ingestion of substances. When my potent sedating solution was all of a sudden taken from me and was then told to ruminate on tools of introspection, my suffering was magnified tenfold. I became incredibly attune to my thoughts, and as you can imagine they weren’t very joyous.
The longer I stay sober, and the more my introspective skills develop, the more apparent my twisted thought patterns reveal themselves. If you pair this with a tendency of entitlement and not having to practice spiritual principles as taught, you can really find yourself in an emotional pickle. Have you ever said to yourself, “I have ____ years now, and I should be free from emotional pain!” This idealistic train of thinking seems plausible, but it is far from reality for a sober alcoholic mind. I guess when they spoke about a program of action, I just assumed it was like a four-year degree and then I would have fulfilled my spiritual bootcamp. I would qualify for a Ph.D. in recovery at this point in my journey, but I assure you the spiritual reps continue.
After a few thousand days on this spiritual path, I too have been met with the sad realization, that I’ve been blessed with a mind that seems to be hardwired and habitually gravitates toward suffering. If my mind is left on autopilot, it unconsciously navigates towards Self-destruction. While this can feel like a hopeless battle at times, it is an easy flightpath to course-correct on. All I need to do is pick up my spiritual tool belt again. I can walk through life as a victim, or I can pick up my spiritual tools and begin to walk in harmony again – the choice is mine.