BlogBrain Blogging

My Healing Path

We both recently found a personal piece on Huffington Post website, though I’ll take credit for being the one who actually read it—I also printed it and read it aloud last night. How could I possibly care so much? I’ve never head of the writer, who’s written/co-written 17 books at this point; though this isn’t exactly accurate because I instantly recognized her last name on some level. In any event, not only has she been writing for the past 30+ years… she’s also been teaching some and a few of the things written in this “Here’s What I Know About Addiction” piece have activated my curiosity.

I have no idea who this woman’s ‘tough-talking paternal figure’ therapist is, but he’s got something very useful going on as she quotes him saying “Underlying every substance problem I’ve ever seen is a deep depression that feels unbearable.” Which caused me to think about my personal experiences with ‘addiction is desire on steroids’ {says Susan Shapiro, brilliant}.

For the past month I’ve been battling urges to smoke cigs, as well as various emotional surges that periodically come up as a result of my choice to…*brain fart, needs edit

Last night we discussed, slightly {time limits}, my current struggles with letting go of smokes… and the impact that’s having on my body. A recent thought, since I’ve been smoke-free for the longest I can remember—this is coming up on 3 weeks or so. Legend has it I went without smoking for most of a year, many years back, but the only memory I’ve got is whatever is stored in my body… or long-term memory.

Probably the favourite line from this post is “… refocusing your powerful energy elsewhere” {to be fair, or mature, I’ll include that Shapiro argues against the concept that an addict can learn to become a non-addict. I have no feelings in either direction, at this time.}

My quest to refocus my own powerful energy is challenging in oddly uncomfortable ways, thus far; especially since the first step seems to be making a conscious effort to nurture this energy periodically. An excellent example is probably what I’m experiencing now and these past 20 minutes or so. This is my time for morning writing… it’s very early, the sun won’t begin rising for another hour at least. Many people complain about how they begin to quit smoking and put on extra weight; there are a few typical paths people travel, some of which I’m familiar with.

In an effort to ‘substitute,’ it’s common to reach for stimulants and Shapiro makes an astute observation about addicts trading out one substance for another at AA gatherings where recovering alcoholics down sugar or coffee or cigs. They’ll also get hooked on religious ideals, which is why my biological father did when I was little—if you trade one substance for another, whatever that substance winds up being, you’re not addressing the root problem. This loops us back to the intro where I include a brilliant quote from Shapiro’s shrink ‘underlying every substance problem I’ve ever seen is a deep depression that feels unbearable.’ Over and over again I can see this underneath each overwhelming urge to smoke or drink or make sure such and such is always in our system.

Zeffy and I have been struggling to survive for… honestly, it’s hard to truly identify the timeline because it’s such a #firstworldproblem {is that the right term?}. We’re not stressing about bombs or radiation or violent invaders, et cetera et cetera… no, our struggle is debt related. Financial debt, to be specific, because life is strange that way. Someone did a blind study or a poll and determined that more than half the human population in USLand has financial debt. I personally read an article posted at least 4 years ago, written by a young person {late 20s or so} who was forced to claw their way out of debt their parents had accrued for them somehow.

Financial stress has always seemed like the most bland of human challenges because, to me at least, it seems like the kind of thing that a person should automatically know how to regulate… like food consumption or oxygen levels. Perhaps these feelings exist only because of my perspective of reality as a whole: I believe physical life is part of our overall experience on this planet. Spiritual health is a topic we’ll explore elsewhere. For a healthy physical existence, a few things are required—they are considered ‘basics’ such as food, water, and air. I figure that we also ought to have power to obtain these things, but that seems to be a debatable topic.

These are among the various reasons why this world is so full of conspiracy theorists, especially now that we’ve got things like: sheep who’s wool will literally continue to grow, creating headlines like “sheep lost for 2 days found unable to stand because wool weighs 80 pounds.” This world we’ve been building for the past several generations, it’s not a good place for most of us. I think these elements are the roots of my being… the ones that inspire me to reach out for stimulants or ‘feel goods.’ It’s not uncommon for artists of nearly all genres {painters, writers, musicians} to feel as if their creative expression is fueled by, shall we say, indulgences because of how our world view is likely to be ‘wider’ than average. Think of the days when DaVinci is theorized to have hidden his personal perspective in his artwork for the Catholic church, which could have easily had him imprisoned for life.

According to Dr. Ned, people with ADHD are more likely to pick up addictions because we are naturally more restless. The one time he says ‘think of it like having a Ferrari engine with bicycle brakes’ which seems fair. I can feel a mild urge, though even ‘mild’ seems like a strong word here—I can vaguely see myself sitting on the front porch lighting up a smoke. My thoughts about this take two paths:

Part of me is thinking it would be really great to get some fresh air since our furnace kicked on shortly after I got up and it’s been going this whole time… I miss being able to camp out on the porch for my morning writing.

Another part of me is thinking… like I’m looking for things to ‘fill me up’ or something similar, because I’ll start to crash before this hour is over. This bit about a smoke is ironic—each time I’d come back in from a smoke, I’d practically bee-line for bed.

Therefore, a portion of me is thinking about what my quit smoking counselors say about distracting my mind and staying busy… I’ll be shutting down the laptop here shortly and will likely clean up the kitchen. Changing morning routines is a big deal considering I’ve been rising at 4am on work days for the past however many years. On numerous occasions, my morning went like this: get up at 4am, sit down to write at 5am, go back to bed after a smoke between 6 and 7am. It’s an annoying struggle to get back up a few hours later—usually it’s 9am, mostly because that’s Zeffy’s break and I feel guilty staying in bed when he’s at work. There were some days when I was completely tired for whatever reason and chose to stay in bed {once or twice I slept through the chat} which meant I’d get up around 10 or 11am. For mysterious reasons I’d always have a headache, staying in bed past 9am… though I have developed some theories over time, starting with the possibility that my body is dehydrated by that point.

Currently, for better or for worse, I feel alert and present: my rice cakes have been devoured, the cup of coffee I made is now empty and the time is almost 7am. My ‘noise machine’ needs to be recharged {its a small speaker so I can play music from my phone} and this chair is not my friend for perfectly good reasons.