The good, but infrequent poster is back. I tend to experience a boatload of life, fill-up a 100 page composition notebook plus scribble on other things both with pen and keyboard, then, generally process said experiences, and finally worry that I need to stop and post before there is too much to post, to get me to post. The point of this blog is to share my struggle with adulthood built on tide-washed sand.
It has been nine days of extreme ups and downs. They have been that bitter-sweetness of necessary pain for growth and joy, mixed with both accurate and inaccurate criticisms that scream for behavioral change that I may or may not want or be able to change. They were also full of that confusing word: love.
This will have to be a series of posts because of the length, depth, and the many topics covered. Most of what I have written in the last nine days is specifically about processes. I am all about behavior modification as goal of recovery from addictions and I am my subject. This is how I am changing my life.
As usual, it was 2pm and I was deciding on what to do with my day. I had completed my rising tasks, met friends for lunch, and checked my calendars. As usual, I was beginning to stress that I was not going 100 miles an hour and “doing things like other people”. I was stressing over dirty floors, dishes, laundry, and pet biffies. I was concerned about my surveillance camera project, pending possession replacements and repairs, and demands from snail mail, email, my calendar, and a few people. I felt like a slug for not swimming for quite a while now, and for my lack of enthusiasm finding additional employment. Got the picture? My head was swimming, The Committee was gathering, and my anxiety was rising.
I noticed what I was actually doing with my hands. My hands were picking up my rubber boots and cleaning them off. I saw that they are cracking in places and that my feet were going to get wet if I didn’t apply duct tape. I was chuckling to myself that they would match my brand new yellow rain coat that already has torn pockets, because I was planning on duct tapping them too. Next I saw my hands picking up and cleaning my black leather dress boots. Later I would buff out the saddle soap from it’s creases. One by one my foot attire was cleaned and put away or moved temporarily. The large rug just inside my studio door was also picked-up, shaken out my bedroom window, rolled-up, and tucked into a laundry basket. I fetched a small hand broom to sweep, my swiffer to mop, laid a clean rug, and reset my shoes.
I stopped to admire my now clean “livingroom” floor. It had been bothering me for several days, that as I came in my door I walked into a dirty mess. (Part of the mess is from drilling through my wall to set up a surveillance camera and the disintegration of a shelving unit next to the door that organized my possessions.) Chaos when I stepped inside was bothering me. My thoughts were on taking care of something that was driving me nuts. I was not necessarily “cleaning”, I was clearing the space, and yes, wiping away dirt, salt, and cement dust. Underneath it, I think I was afraid of tripping and falling over my shoes, and losing an allergy battle with the cement dust.
Without planning, I went into my bathroom, removed everything from the floor (mostly laundry), wiped it, shook the rug out the bathroom window, and cleaned out the sink. It was in the bathroom that it occurred to me that I didn’t want to do anything*.
Moving to the kitchen, I cleared my minuscule counter space, washed it, rinsed the side of the sink sans dishes, and contemplated washing my hotplate and the inside of my microwave. Then, BAM!!! My mind began to go a little nuts, but through practice, recovery kicked in and the grounding began.
In thinking about cleaning the hotplate and microwave, The Committee tried to start yacking. Right away they were all about how messy my whole studio had gotten in the last week, the dishes, the laundry (what a loser I am over my laundry issues#), how dirty the inside of my car is, and the rabbit biffies. They tried to continue on to plan out the route I would have to drive to obtain quarters (maybe swim too), or not swim but still get quarters and use the laundromat instead of the building washer (yes, ONE washer for the whole building). They said to purchase a recording device for the camera, and oh, ya, get a new shelving unit to restore order by the door. They were all over criticizing what I wasn’t doing. Now, I am beyond sick of The Committee hijacking my emotions, energy, time, and money. I told them to shut the hell up.
One of my kitchen walls is made up of south facing windows. My kitchen is also painted yellow. In the height of the afternoon, I might as well be on the Sun Itself. Turning from my hotplate and microwave, I stepped into this Great Ball of Fire. I closed my eyes from the white brightness, leaned on my refrigerator, concentrated on the amazing heat radiating to my body, and smiled in gratitude for my glassy apartment with it’s warmth from the cold, arranged for maximum light enjoyment, and it’s affordability on just one job for now. Capitalizing on this gratitude, I felt peace. In that moment, my current small sustainable firm life, built over three years, enabled me to IMMEDIATELY ground myself.
A key technique that has been working for me for about a year, is calmly asking myself, “What are you actually doing?”
Then I look at what is in my hands.