So I threw a notebook in my laptop bag a few days ago. I just needed one for taking some notes and scribbling out ideas here or there. I pulled it out last night to do a little bit of writing. Turns out that this note book has some journal entries from the beginning of April 2016.
I want to share some of what I wrote.
“I hate how most of the time I take in information like a sponge and find myself trying to implement the things that I have learned into my life. Only to continue to struggle with the selfish parts of “Me” The ego. The pride. The cockiness. Being arrogant when I should be humble. Going against my gut instincts. Allowing myself to react to life based on selfish motives.”
It is interesting to me, that a few years later, I have experienced so much growth. Yet I still struggle with the idea of selfishness. I have tried to re-frame my conception of selfishness. So many people in recovery talk about how important it is to rid ourselves of selfishness. But there has always been this nagging feeling with in me. A whisper that can be as deafening as a roar. The feeling that my desire to not be selfish is inherently selfish. Bare with me. Why do I want to not be selfish? Well because I don’t want to be seen as selfish. I don’t want the consequences that follow as a result of my selfishness. Isn’t that selfish? I think so. So rather than trying to not be selfish I accept that it is a part of my nature. I have to accept my condition to change my position. When I can accept that as fact, I stop wasting so much energy trying to not be. Then all of that energy is available to me. I have stopped trying to not be selfish. Is being selfless the opposite of being selfish? I am not really sure. I am quite certain that to be selfless we must think of self less. That seems to be the actual issue. I have a hard time not constantly thinking of myself.
Have you read the story of the actor in the book Alcoholics Anonymous? They talk about how they are a producer of confusion rather than harmony. That is how I feel sometimes. But just in my own head. I feel that a lot of times I can be the voice of reason and have some really good insight, being able to share from an objective point of view.
There in lies the problem. I have mental blank spots. Lately, I feel as though I have been trying to rely on self propulsion. I seem to have forgot that the reason I have gotten this far is because of the help from those who have come before me to pave the way. I started listening to Russel Brands book "RECOVERY" recently. I've listened to it before and it was great but this time around it has been hitting home like really hard. The idea that we sometimes stop doing the things that have helped get us well. When that happens, the old mentality can sneak back in, not like the devil incarnate but more like an old friend who wraps their arms around you like they have missed you terribly. It hit me like a ton of bricks. He is just sharing his experience strength and hope. The therapeutic value of one addict sharing with another addict is with out parallel right? So simple yet so profound.
Here is another little bit from that same journal entry.
“ I feel like my life is one of those tragic and dramatic movies. Ups and downs. Love. Destruction. building new. destroying the old.But times like right now, I loose purpose. Questioning the point of it all. Why go on so aimlessly? Where is my momentum? what direction should I go? There are time where I can answer that with so certainty that it hurts. clear as water. Other times I feel like I am drowning in used motor oil, blind, deaf and not able to catch my breath.”
Have you seen the new movie Equalilzer 2? Denzel Washington has a line where he says “There are two kinds of pain. Pain that hurts, and pain that alters.” It seems the pain that we experience in recovery can be both types of pain. It is a matter of perspective. I used to wish that the pain would go away. Wish that it were easier. “Pain is inevitable, but the suffering is optional.” is one perspective. But “Suffer the pain of discipline or suffer the pain of regret” is another perspective. I will not wallow in self pity. I will not try to avoid that pain but grow through what I go through.