“Act as if” is one of the first and truest things i learned in recovery.
If you’re sad, act like you’re happy.
If you’re angry, act like you’re calm.
If you’re afraid, act as though you’re brave.
The miracle of this is that, after acting happy, calm and brave long enough, you’ll become happy, calm, and brave.
Of course it’s not that simple… Except it is.
The Three Asshole Rule
When you meet your third asshole of the day, it means you’re probably the asshole.
Heard in the rooms last Saturday
A misguided aim to please yourself. The spark that makes you want to shoot yourself in the foot you will use to kick your own ass with.
ITSB and i often ride the same wavelength. In a comment to one of my recent posts, he introduced the theme of triggers, which i’d already been thinking about, as evidenced by the above definition added to the Glossaary.
The other day i walked between two people planted curbside so i could cross the street they thought had too much traffic to brave. i mumbled a polite “Excuse me” as i passed between them, but this apparently was not loud enough because the eldest of the two women looked up at me and barked “Excuse me”. Then again. Before she could do it once more, i looked her in the eye and told her i’d said “Excuse me” and continued on my way.
As i left, i thought about the way i’d dealt with the problem and was satisfied i’d handled it correctly, but that didn’t matter, i couldn’t let it go. For the rest of my commute i kept seeing the woman’s face as she reprimanded me and realized soon enough that i felt uncomfortable, obsessive and anxious. i was triggered.
i’ve always known what triggers are, but not what my triggers are. i decided to write them down as i believe framing things with words makes it easier to recognize them. ITSB already beat me to it by including his list in his comment.
I have a whole set of trigger for “awful thoughts”:
1) Stuck in traffic on my way to work
2) Too much caffeine in my bloodstream
4) Too much running/over training
5) Republicans making their opinions known
and the mother of all triggers:
6) Low blood sugar.
Any of these ring a bell?
i’ve been working on my own list for the last couple of days and here’s what i’ve come up with…
- Other people’s anger
- Being alone
- Euchre on my cell phone/tablet
- Sunday afternoon
- Drunk people in AA meetings
- One on one conversations with people
- Computer problems / broken electronics
The next step is to figure out what it is about these things that trigger me, so i can diffuse them.
In AA speak, the slogan “Think! Think! Think!” means stop listening to your gut and start listening to the voice of reason. As alcoholics, we were dogs salivating for booze as soon as the warning bells went off, and the more we drank the faster and louder those bells rang. We we drank instinctively.
“Think! Think! Think!” tells us to stop acting on reflexes and keep our brains turned on.
(In some rooms, the “Think! Think! Think!” sign is turned upside down to tell us that yes, we need to think, but we need to think differently than we did in the past because our alcoholic thinking led us into a bottleneck.)
i keep saying that coincidence is the language of God and lately the question of my thought patterns keeps coming up.
- i’ve been overly sensitive lately because i can’t turn off my brain when it comes to my problems
- i’ve been thinking about how i can’t wait to get to Step 11 in the 12 Steps where it talks about meditation
- My best recovery friend in the States talked about my “knowledge, IQ and ability to understand (recognize) situations and to give help to others” as a way to manage my overzealous thought patterns
- At our last meeting, my sponsor said that controlling my intelligence is a key to moving forward in my sobriety
To control these rampant thoughts, my sponsor has suggested writing them out as soon as i feel the panic setting in. i do know that keeping busy helps and that going to meetings really really helps, but if anyone else has any tips (other than more exercise, ITSB! lol) on how to keep the dogs of thoughts at bay, i’d love to hear them.
Thanks for being there, y’all.
To begin, here’s a new entry to my GlossAAry. (Yes, it’s pertinent…there’s a madness to my method!)
Where the pink elephants used to live, and what you have left now they’ve gone.
Right next to Cloud Nine, the Pink Cloud is the feeling of relief you feel when you stop pounding your head against the stone wall of inebriation, convinced you will somehow break through.
Not everyone experiences this high in the first year of sobriety, and usually those that do get it say that it lasts only a few months.
In my previous post, where i discussed how the second year of recovery presents some unique challenges, fellow Recovery Artist Mrs D left a comment saying,
Oh, I want to know more about this .. heading as I am into my second year…
i think in my case, one of the reasons i’m finding it harder to trudge the road of Happy Destiny in Year 2 A.D. (After Drinking) is that i did experience the Pink Cloud. If i remember correctly, it began in my 2nd month of sobriety and lasted about 2 months total. After that, the feelings faded.
Why? Since i was feeling good every day, feeling good became the new norm. If you win the lottery daily, there comes a point when you stop throwing a party over it.
How can we fight this complacency? One of the tools i use is the Gratitude List. Reminding myself of how far i’ve come and the misery i came from is powerful encouragement.
The only other way to really get a taste of the hell i escaped from is to have a taste of the hell i escaped from, and that’s just crazy talk. i’ll take a boring day in Heaven over a rough day in Hell any time.
First off, there’s this addition to the GlosAAry…
Gratitude = Great + Attitude.
Taking a break from living to appreciate life. Gratitude for an addict means recognizing and appreciating the gifts recovery has brought–things the disease had promised but never delivered.
A common suggestion for alcoholics in recovery is to keep and regularly update a Gratitude List of all the things that sobriety has given them which drinking took away.
When i first started my recovery, my sponsor told me to keep a Gratitude List. Simply put, it was supposed to be a list of all the things i was grateful for, so i put things down like, “My Family”, “My Apartment”, My Job”…
It took a little while, but then i clued into the fact that the idea isn’t to write a “Rainbow Pony” list of all the things i appreciate and like, but rather a concrete enumeration of all the things i have because of Recovery and wouldn’t have without it.
My list changed to:
- i’m less angry
- i’m less depressed
- i now have the courage to continue trying
- i’m better at extracting myself from unpleasant situations
- i enjoy good times more completely
- i appreciate music more
- i need fewer breaks from my day
- i panic less
- i see my defaults more clearly and in their proper perspective
- i’m a better example for my children
- i’m better at prioritizing
- i’m more honest about admitting my mistakes
- i get more done
The list goes on and on…
Now, if i ever face a situation where i’m tempted to drink, i’ll be able to look back on this list and see all of the things i’ll be giving up. Or, even more likely, if i get too confident and start thinking i’ve got my addiction under control, i can reread these items and see all the things recovery gave me that i could never get for myself.
Powerful tool, that.