One of the biggest reasons I started this blog, besides the hoop-dream of an idea of maybe one day making a living from this site, was to candidly reveal my struggles in sobriety. I hoped that it might help others that are on their own similar path, and help them feel less alone. The bottom line was that I didn’t want others to have to suffer as I did in silence. I had felt so alone in the world with my thoughts, not to mention how much pressure I put on myself to never expose these self-perceived twists in thinking with anyone. It wasn’t until I got serious help that I could start to see just how typical and generic these “twisted thoughts” were that so many others shared with me in the rooms of recovery. They too were far too scared of judgment to reveal their own internal turmoil and that they would be made to look like a fool if they exposed their vulnerable insides. Managing other people’s perceptions was something I had spent much of my childhood attempting to refine. This manipulative coping tool that I used for survival was something I struggled to let go of too. I thought it was helping to protect me. That was one of the most attractive and refreshing parts of Alcoholics Anonymous for me, everyone spoke with some much intimate detail of the taboo and troubles of the human form, something I had never experienced in life to that point.
Fast-forward a decade or so and I’m still noticing parts of me that seem that my psyche seems to be clinging to under that same erroneous logic of perceived self-preservation. The varying degrees of ignorance of self, and convoluted coping mechanism runs deep. My frail humanity is still very much in charge. Fortunately, what comes to mind now is less shameful self-talk and a deep identification with the notion of making my Recovery a life’s-work project. The mountain Everest-sized emotional blocks I got through earlier in sobriety are now things I can face with relative ease in comparison on a regular basis. I don’t think my skin has got thicker by any means, but I do believe my ability to regulate emotions and perceive with more clarity and less heated distracting and self-righteous emotions has definitely got better. It is in the stillness I can see what steps can be taken to alleviate problems that were once deemed insurmountable. But, I don’t do this alone. I have a group of well-trained emotional mechanics on standby that willingly guide me with routine tune-ups. They have acquired tools and shortcuts along their own path that lead me to a solution significantly faster than if I try to self-diagnosis and repair.
The price tag for some of these tools is frustratingly high, and must always be earned. No one is entitled to the tools, and the price must always be paid. The good news is that the currency in which these tools are purchased is time and willingness.