There are two paths: one going up and one going down. The one heading down is filled with anger and depression and self-doubt and over-emotion: let’s call it the hurting slide. The one rising up is the one that makes me uncomfortable, embarrassed, exposed, weak. It also happens to be the one all the good people are taking: the escalator of happiness. So why would I constantly and deliberately throw myself head-first down the slide of despair? Simple: It’s what I know, and what I can control.
And because it’s what I know, it must be the truth. To abandon all my instincts now means to admit failure when it comes to living a life. Yes, I see all of you up there on level three, enjoying your fruit smoothies. And yes, I am envious and resentful of the party you’re having. I know you used to send me invitations, but after the repeated no-shows, you got the point.
And if I were you I wouldn’t want me there either, right? So in my mind I’m doing you a favor. I’m self-aware enough to know I don’t belong. You should be thanking me for staying away.
Step 3: made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood Him
When it’s me in control, I never find the willingness to begin a day by surrendering myself to the care of God. Instead, I want to prove the Serenity Prayer wrong as quickly as possible, often before getting out of bed. The negativity, self-doubt, and self-loathing starts before my eyes even open. These default feelings are seen as fact this early in the morning, then radiate out over everything. So, better not to reach out and risk showing vulnerability; better to shut down and sink back into myself and my wrong-headed thoughts and my diseased take on the world. It’s best for all concerned if I don’t join in, as I always, always, always, make things worse.
FYI: When the softer, easier way is to become miserable and isolate, that should be a flashing neon sign that I’m too much up in my head: too guarded, too reactionary, too willing to enact a first-strike initiative. My feet haven’t hit the floor, and already it’s the world versus me, like I looked out my window just now and found that life had egged my car.
Now for the good news: this is all fixable. And it’s fixable constantly. If my insane, controlling thoughts were repeatedly used to create a daily regimen of bad habits, what’s the worst that could happen if I turned everything over? Making things worse and then claiming ownership doesn’t make me noble; it makes me diseased.
Keep things real. Just honestly knowing that it’s not all about me makes things easier already, doesn’t it? And yeah, choosing happiness over angst seems like a no-brainer. Which for this alcoholic is precisely the problem: my brain has been programmed for angst. That’s why it’s so important to turn over the reins to my Higher Power each morning, first thing, and then again throughout the day, whenever the opportunity arises to look up from my feet and check in with my surroundings, as well as my direction.