Originally posted on Facebook HERE
So many things swirling around inside my head today. Thinking a lot about what’s really important in life (as I often do). November 1st was 29 years sober for me, so yesterday I finally got to an AA meeting to get my chip. Led me to think a lot about obsessive/compulsive behavior, and what drives it, as well as what’s worked for me to be able to abstain from that particular behavior for so long now. We all have that conscious mind that is always there, talking, that never shuts up. Whatever thoughts we continually have with that mind get implanted into our subconscious. The conscious mind is often called the “ego”. Once the ego has implanted thoughts into our subconscious, parts of our lives start to run on auto-pilot. This is extremely useful for things like driving a car, or riding a bike, as we need those activities to become learned and part of our second nature. Our egos pretty much have complete freedom on what they can focus on, though. And without guidance, what they will find to focus on, and obsess over, often will not be something that serves us. For fifteen years my ego was obsessed with drugs and alcohol. That obsession almost killed me. Once my subconscious mind believed that the most important thing in life was getting and using mood altering substances, that was my auto-pilot. And obsessions beget obsessions, so… food, sex and/or debt obsessions often work hand in hand together in a downward spiral. They certainly did for me. Yesterday’s meeting was a “step” meeting. Step 2, actually: “came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity”. The “God” steps kept me away from AA for years, because before I sobered up I considered myself an agnostic. This step does not mention God. It mentions “a power greater than ourselves”. Behind the conscious/unconscious mind dynamic that we all have, we also have a part of us that sits and watches. I highly recommend Eckhart Tolle’s book “The Power Of Now” if you care to learn more about “the watcher”. This is the part of us directly connected to God. This is the part of us that knows only love. Step 11 says: “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.” By getting in touch with “the watcher”, and changing the patterns of our conscious thoughts, we create new subconscious beliefs and start working from this new mindset. That is where all the work is done to stay sober, or change direction in any area you feel your life isn’t working. If you are in any way obsessive (I think almost all of us are), the obsessions that brought you down will change focus, and become obsessions that will begin to serve you better. Many people get obsessed with going to meetings, reading/self help and/or spiritual study, fitness, work, etc… which is great, as long as the new obsessions don’t start to create similar problems in life as the old ones did. It’s a never ending battle. When thinking about what is MOST important to me today, I came up with two main things. #1 is my relationship with God as I understand Him. I have a LOT of work to do here, but everything I do in my life I do it seeking to be the best possible person I can be and helping as many people as I can in any way I can along the way. I really need to be in touch with God on a daily basis, though, and in that regard I am seriously shirking my responsibility. Mainly because of one of my new obsessions: work. My responsibilities there are never ending, I love what I do, we help other people every single day. I’m questioning whether this particular obsession is becoming “unmanageable”, though, and might need to somehow be pared back a bit. And, #2 on the list for me is HEALTH. I watch so many people struggle with health issues, especially later in life, that health is a huge priority for me. I have plenty of work to do here as well. If you’re over fifty, I highly recommend the book “Younger Next Year”, it’s fantastic. They have a separate version for women. Love the information, totally haven’t been following it (yet). Basic premise is that the older you get the more important it is to do a physical activity for at least 1hr/day six days a week, as well as learn to eat right and control portions. I found it extremely well written and compelling. Easy advice that’s hard to follow. Find the part of you that sits back and “watches”. Get in touch with the eternal, all knowing presence we’re all born with and live from that place. Everything is possible, but you’ll see it only when you first believe it so for yourself.