There’s lots of wisdom in 12 Steps programs.
Not only do they help people recover from addiction, but they also unlock the hidden potential within us to become the best version of ourselves.
(No, that isn’t hyperbole. I really mean it.)
Unfortunately, the 12 Steps are often expressed in ways which some people (including me) find problematic.
That’s why I’m grateful to Russell Brand. In his book Recovery, he explains the 12 Steps in his own words. I get on much better with Russell’s explanations.
Russell’s version of Step 3 says:
“Are you, on your own, going to unfuck yourself?”
This comes after admitting we’re fucked and we need some help.
I love Russell’s phrasing, his invented word “unfuck” puts a smile on my face when considering what’s often a deadly serious subject.
A Need for Support
I haven’t been to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting for several weeks. I have mixed feelings about this. As I’ve written before, there’s parts of NA I really like and parts I really dislike.
My recovery is going pretty well, on my own. I’m 3 days away from 5 months clean. The urge to take drugs is almost totally absent.
Strictly speaking, I’m not on my own in recovery. I have the guidance of Russell and the 12 Steps with me. And I have my very own Mental Buddy who is my partner-in-crime on our mutual journey towards better mental health.
But what I really miss is the hugs, the feeling of camaraderie, of mutual support. People who genuinely seem to give a shit about me getting my life back together, whilst trying to do the same for themselves.
It’s also a really nice feeling when someone tells me that they’ve found something I’ve shared useful.
If I could keep all those good bits of NA and get rid of the shit I find unhelpful, that would make me very happy. I might even start going back to meetings.
Today in particular, I could do with some external support.
Bad-ass Jocko Willink says, “Discipline equals Freedom”. And he’s right.
I’ve been getting much better at how I organise my time. I try to do the most important jobs first, leaving the fun distractions for later.
This makes me feel proud of myself.
But it’s also like a game of whack-a-mole.
Just as I feel I’m getting one aspect of my life under control, something else seems to get worse.
Right now, I’m struggling with staying up too late at night. This leads to serious overeating.
I know from previous experience that it only takes a few nights of poor sleep for my mental health to fall apart. And the overeating just makes it worse.
Today I feel pretty rotten, physically.
And the impulsive, undisciplined, pleasure-seeking part of me that’s associated with my addiction – it’s desperate to find an escape.
It feels like a nest of snakes in my chest, trying to take over.
It wants me to abandon all of my displine, my To Do lists, and just sack everything off.
“Just have a duvet day”The seductive voice of the devil on my shoulder
I need to stop and take a breath.
I’m not trying to be perfect. I’m not trying to be the ultimate embodiment of discipline and organisation.
I’m actually doing really well. Every day I’m making small progress in the right direction.
I really AM getting my life back together, even if some days are harder than others.
I won’t let a rough day make me abandon everything I’ve worked for. I’m not going to run away, hiding in a hole of self-pity and trying to escape the world.
I’ll stick to my plan. Two steps forward, one step back.
I’ll choose some easier goals for today. One or two useful and important things.
And I’ll remember to breathe and be kind to myself.
P.S. I’m still seeing repeating numbers (like 11:11 on the clock) all the time at the moment.
(Well, not all the time. That would mean I’m living in a house of broken clocks… Clocks that happened to all break at exactly the same time. Now that would be freaky!)
I know it’s probably just coincidence, but it feels like way more than that. It seems to be happening more often than I can reasonably attribute to dumb luck.
I’m choosing to believe that the numbers mean I’m on the right path. They are affirming my spiritual awakening, every day.
That seems like a pretty harmless belief. Even if it’s just placebo, I imagine it can be quite helpful.