After three years and four months of dedicated recovery work, I am pretty good at identifying where my insides are, and often how I am maintaining homeostasis by the accompanying behaviors. I am keenly aware that my slippery psyche is all about keeping the status quo of safety. But what my slippery psyche doesn’t ever remember, is that there is a much bigger game plan in play, including if the slippery psyche even really NEEDS it’s homeostasis maneuvers. I have to constantly evaluate whether I am actually doing things out of safety or out of fear of success. I constantly get in my own way.
Today I am very scattered (I wrote this Wednesday). Not of mind or emotion or spirit, but of ideas, lists, time, goals, and things accomplished. I feel like the cartoon character with his finger in the dyke plugging a leak only to see more leaks spring forth. Or the other visual I love is the “I Love Lucy” episode where Lucy is stuffing her mouth and clothes with the chocolates as they whiz by on the conveyor belt. Addictions, distractions, and bad behaviors are the leaks in the dyke; long standing interests, connections between the dots, and the continual flow of new ideas are the chocolates. My anxiety climbs with each escape of water and bite of delight. Accomplishments seem to fire up my anxiety even more. Its like my brain will not allow forward movement. Some of that hesitancy is useful as it reminds me of my pitfalls, but some is just plain old fear of success.
Success, you see, is not rewarded in my family. Success of the individual is a threat to the whole, which of course does not exist in reality, only in our minds. That is a huge problem because it is our minds that run our bodies and our bodies operate out in the world where we have to defend ourselves; so we create the whole that doesn’t exist as our cover story. Over time we come to believe the fantasy assuming it to be actual truth when it is not. Facing the truth of our untruth cuts the ropes to our conditioned false sense of safety and obligation thus freeing us to move independently.
I believe that the enormous success of autonomy can be so terrifying that all manner of chaos can break out in a person’s head. In my case, how dare I beat certain addictions, reign in certain distractions, put bad behaviors in their place. How dare I connect the dots of my truths, my story, my interests, and the possibilities surrounding me. How dare I succeed without them.
So I scatter so as to not appear together, actually have it together, or at times to be more expedient. This annoys me because my emerging healthy self wants to appear together, actually BE together, and NOT take the quick unplanned route. As long as things remain messy, undone, and uncertain I don’t have to move on. AAGGHH!!
Now-a-days I am onto myself. There is success amongst that which is scattered and it needs to be built upon because like it or not, I got back up again. Like it or not, I am a rat and there is a race afoot.
For me, and I believe others in recovery, a successful day is surviving success. When I relax and truly see myself as others see me and as others also live; I find that I am just like them. OMG! I am normal! I am not different, less than, invisible, or disposable. Because I have developed real families at work, 12-step, and church I no longer have to feel obligated to my biological family or maintain the fantasy of safety that we all built to get us through actual danger.
Sure, today there remains thousands of holes in my developmental dyke and thousands of bits float into my brain on a daily basis; but through commitment to an emotionally sober life I am learning to live with success.