Embracing the chaos

By CorrineB 01/24/18
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By Corrine Barraclough.

When you take a step back and watch carefully, you start see the cunning tricks your mind tries to play on you.
As I head into my third year of sobriety, I find myself looking at the weird maze of my mind in growing bewilderment. Good lord, it’s complicated in there.
The truth is, my life is more stable than it has ever been before. Why? Because I go to bed sober and wake up sober. That is my constant now. There are no more rash decisions after dark, and there is no more chilling morning fear.
I am consciously in control.
That certainly doesn’t mean I always make the right decisions. Now, at least, I stew on them rather than knee jerking. But being sober doesn’t mean life suddenly becomes easy, simple, that you’re always going to get things right - or that it will remain calm.
I constantly keep on eye on every area of my life with a focus on not making things any worse. It’s amazing the progress you can make simply by sticking to that.
If that means I sleep on a decision for several nights to make sure I don’t feel drawn in a different direction, I take that time to do that.
Nothing is urgent like it used to be.
Nauseating panic subsides hand in hand with sobriety.
However, that does not mean that life becomes constantly serene. Far from it.
My mind tries to tell me that problems washing in will drown me. It sprints to black and white thinking before I’ve had a chance to blink.
It takes immense focus to embrace the chaos as it comes in. I keep my head above water, let it all swim, and focus on not making anything any worse.
The fact is, when you drink or run to a substance, you have an instant escape. You can constantly hotfoot from chaos. That’s much easier, thank you very much.
You very rarely tackle life’s challenges head on because, on addiction autopilot, you swiftly turn to your trusted escape route.
When sober, the chaos (which is actually just day-to-day life) still comes. It’s harder to face up to because you see it all head on now. Financial worries don’t suddenly ease up. Friendships and relationships don’t suddenly run smoothly. Staying health doesn’t magically become effortless.
There are twists and turns in the life’s path, always.
And yet, interestingly, your mind still tries to scream at you that it’s worse.
It tries to trick you into believing that life was easier when you only saw in monochrome. In truth, you focused your energy on battling and hiding addiction and your mind had other things to fret about.
Life sober is harder.
Life in full colour is more intimidating.
Your mind may try to tell you that life was easier before - because it didn’t have to deal.
Your mind may try to tell you that life was easier with chardonnay, or whatever your substance of choice was.
Not true. It’s really important to remind yourself of that. Every day if you have to.
Learning to embrace the chaos of life can feel overwhelmingly challenging. Don’t let your mind trick you into believing it would be easier if you just went backwards.
Look how far you’ve come.
Count those blessings.
All the positives that start to come your way, they are a result of your sticking at your sobriety.
That is your step one.
Do not falter.
Much as your mind may attempt to trick you into believing you could just hop off the confronting rollercoaster briefly, and it would all be easier, it’s simply not true.
Life may look a whole new shade of terrifying now you’ve turned on the lights, but you’re on the right path because you’ve finally opened your eyes. Keep going.

* Find Corrine on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/CorrineBarracloughWriter/

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