Not sure if you ever saw the movie “Shawshank Redemption,” but there is a great scene in that film regarding ‘hope.’ Tim Robbins’ character has it and Morgan Freeman’s character thinks he is hopelessly romancing hope because hope is a heart breaker.
Maybe it depends on the person when it comes to hope. I used to feel disdain for hope. Maybe it was because I grouped hope with wishing and praying when I was using and drinking. Then again, the things I hoped for were things like not getting pulled over by the police while I was high or having twenty extra dollars in my pocket to finish getting my load on. Go figure.
These days ‘hope’ is very different for me. I do hope for material things like hitting the lottery or waking up one day with big boobs, but I know these things aren’t going to happen, so I am acting the child when it comes to hoping, praying and wishing for things.
I need to redirect my hope to attainable things that are not materialistic. I write music reviews for three different websites. At this moment, I am not paid for this, but that’s okay. I love what I do. I hope to one day get paid to write about music, but until then I will work my day job and write about music in the evening.
I hope to one day have a flourishing career in the music/writing industry.
How awesome is it to celebrate freedom from the slavery of drugs and alcohol? Once a drudgery of self-loathing and hatred, when I put down the drink and the drug, I found a new way of life and discovered freedom to the core.
There were no more lost moments of clarity. Nights once spent in a drunken stupor were a thing of the past. My nights turned into eating at diners after meetings with other like-minded people in search of a common goal. I discovered that drinking and drugging were not a staple when it came to fun.
Fun and entertainment came in new and enlightening ways without drugs and alcohol. As I started to work my program, the chain-links of self snapped one by one, creating a gate I could swing open into a new world.
I’m not sure how many of my beautiful readers dealt with bullying and teasing as children, but I have to say, that stuff has a profound affect on people. It sure as hell had a profound affect on me. So much that, even today I, at times, have a case of the uglies. You know that sick, yucky, disturbing feeling inside… that “I’m not good enough, not pretty enough..” Hell, not anything enough.
As I write this post, I am reflecting on my day. I had a good day all in all (any day sober is a good day!) I did have a case of the uglies today, however, and when it was going down in my (always) amped up mind, I was beating myself up… royally. The “uglies” as I call them, are sneaky, vile little things that grip me up in a second if I cannot “kill” them.
I was talking with my boyfriend today about this stuff in a sense. Not specifically “killing the uglies” but more so why the hell shit bothers me that bothers me. Like, stuff that shouldn’t really bother me. One thing I do when I talk to people is listen to what I am saying because, believe it or not, there is always some message in my words that I should hear. Does that sound vain and egotistical? Perhaps…
I brought up a profound event in my life that shaped my sense of self from the age of nine until this very moment. I talk about these things because I have to KILL THE UGLIES. I have to remind myself that there is a deeper root to my insecurities and low self-esteem if I am going to get better. There is always something more than the “surface insecurity” and that is what I have to get to… fast.
This is where a big part of my program comes in. I couldn’t get over any of the pain, torment and geekiness I felt from a child through my early thirties. Being a good alcoholic, I drowned my pain in booze and promiscuity, as I searched for someone or something to fill that void or abandonment. Long after I got sober, I still searched. There had to be someone or something out there that could kill this damn ugly feeling. But alas, I learned that I had to kill the uglies from the inside.
Some days I still struggle. I might stop praying, slack on my meeting attendance or stop networking with my sober circle. That’s when the uglies start to seep in. Thankfully, I know just what to do to squash those bastards.
Do you have something that helps you when you start to get overwhelmed?
So I was watching the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) this morning and there were all these fascinating episodes that dealt with “self.” Like, how we treat the self, how outside events impact the self and so much stuff I went out and bought a book by one of the people Oprah was interviewing. “The Untethered Soul” by Michael A. Singer. The book is to liberate us from a contained self-image.
Based solely on the interview, the information I gathered from the show and snippets of the book I scanned, I have hope that this book will break me through my final barrier… me.
I have always tried to keep it real. I’ve tried to remain grounded in all I do, say or feel along with trying to be there for anyone who crosses my life path. But there are these things, these feelings, that get in the way on a consistent basis. And when I let my head get the best of me, I am no longer keeping it real per say, but getting sucked into a myopic array of disillusionment which takes me back to that dark room of self-loathing.
Yeah, pretty messed up stuff. The more messed up part of all this crap is that I project this putrid bile onto other human beings. Instead of just being in a moment or looking at things for what they are, I tend to read deeper into whatever is going on and then I project my thoughts, insecurities and the like others.
This leads to:
feeling less than
That is a pretty hefty list of awful feelings, ideals and all around yuckiness.
Lately, I have been way up in my head. This is a tough place for me when I am trying to live a life of peace. My head is not peaceful. It is constantly chattering, whispering and telling me rotten things. I believe these things. I give my thoughts weight and that is when the horrible list above comes into play. I used to drink and drug to get rid of these thoughts and feelings. Drinking and drugging is not an option for me.
This is why I bought the book. My thoughts (and yours) are so automatic, I never question them. You’ve heard the saying, “I think, therefore I am.” UGH!!! How awful is that? I certainly do not want to be what I think! My twelve-step program helps ( a lot!) but lately I just feel like I need an added tool.
As I go through this book (highlighting sentences and paragraphs like I always do) I will be updating my blog with what I have learned and if any of it is making sense. It made sense on Oprah’s show, therefore, I am sure it will make sense.
There comes a point in sobriety when the pink cloud of perfection and “I got this” dissipates. Life continues to happen as we settle into our newfound freedom. We settle back into our old way of thinking if we are not working a good program.
There will always be little things. Life will happen on life’s terms consistently ( we can bank on that!) and it is up to us to learn a new way of coping to deal with the enigmas of life.
Slogans like, “Live and Let Live” and “Life on Life’s Terms” are important throughout our sobriety. When we were out there, we let everything bother us. We harbored resentments over a lot of crap. We were angry at our family, friends, the system and God. We felt wronged and justified in our anger.
This thought process destroyed us! It destroyed me for sure. Some of the things that made me angry were other people, traffic, television, my mate at the time and the weather just to name a few. It took me years to get it in my head that I was letting people, places and things control me by thinking I could control them.
This makes for one ticked off individual. And how ridiculous is it being upset over little things we have zero control over. It is the moments of perceived loss of control that the Serenity Prayer comes in handy:
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Once we realize the only thing we have control over is the way we think and that the way we think affects the way we feel, we now have a sense of freedom.