Saturday, November 26, 2011



I know that the quest for serenity sometimes seems unimaginineably difficult. This  is most  true when we are in  the midst of the chaos of addiction. There are 2 keys that help us navigate these difficulties. They are 1: understanding that serenity, when we first discover it,  is a small island in a huge  raging sea. I f we work on making the island bigger and the raging sea smaller  we will have more and more serenity.  If we think that serenity is a final state  and permanent in that form , then we are bound to be very disappointed and disillusioned.. The amount of time we are serene starts out ver y small. But it  will grow if we  understand the second key ; believing   that we are the gatekeepers of our heads and its contents.  Both of these two keys take time to find and embrace. If we believe we will find total serenity  in an instant, or if we cannot accept that we are the gatekeepers of our heads,then the process will take that much longer.
The first key is the easier to understand understand. Keeping people and their problems out of our heads is much harder and takes a lot of work. We must believe however that we have that power and that we can control what impacts us and our emotions. The issue is very much the same as what  I refer to as  the front burner,back burner  phenomenon. We all know how to move a pot from one burner to another, but we struggle to move problems in our heads from a big area to a small area. It does take practice and hard work. And I guarantee that it can be done if we  want it enough..
So often what seems impossible is really the result of our  unwillingness to make it happen. If we really love the chaos that the addict brings and love having the addict live with us so the chaos can be fulltime,then we will never find serenity. PERIOD. That is why we have to be WILLING and READY to make changes in our emotional needs and then in our behaviors. So often people complain  that none of the beautiful changes we talk about  are possible. But that is only because they are  getting something from the chaos generated by the addiction . EVERY BEHAVIOR HAS A REASON;THERE IS NO RANDOM BEHAVIOR. I BELIEVE THIS 100%. When behavior is crazy,some one is deriving a benefi (or a an emotional reward)from it. Find  the benefit,eliminate it ,and the behavior goes away. This has been demonstrated over and over in every clinical psych class and psych  book. And this can be shown to be true in addiction and in our codependent behaviors. We enable because it give us a psychologic benefit . Enabling give us pleasure because it fills the emotional  hole we created by  believing we caused the problem,or we didn’t show enough love,and on and on……… If you take away the belief through behavioral modification ,the reward  disappears and so does the behavior. I know it sounds simple,but because we are complicated  people, nothing is simple.

It is very much the same with belief  that you are the gatekeeper of your head. To get there you have to eliminate the benefit you receive from all the turmoil of letting the addict(and other problem people) control your head. Once you understand this  ,it is a lot easier to do what you need to do. Where does behavior modification  fit  in? Behavior modification is what we get  from going to meetings, listening to people with years of experience, and  studying  our  literature. The addicts gets  the tools for recovery(behavior modification)   from rehab, from living with other recovering  people,going to meetings and studying  their literature.

So if you really want to find serenity , you will  find it. So much of the difficulty,  as I said earlier, is within us. It’s in eliminating  all that nonsensical clutter and the  erroneous belief systems which   dominate our thinking  and blind  us from  seeing  the truth. When we are ready to change our lives  and find  serenity, we will gradually  clean out the mess in our heads   and move forward with our lives with the help of our Higher Power. And if we are lucky ,the addict will do the same.

 Looking back on all of this 22 years from the start, I find it hard to believe how incapacitated  I was and how much freer and better  I am today. I struggled for years over these same issues-just like everyone else.  But having arrived at a place where I understand what I went through and why I had so much trouble changing ,I hope to pass on some  knowledge from the  recovery  side of the battleground  to help others . By relating what I learned  from my struggle ,perhaps I   can l help you shorten  yours. And  I want to assure those  who are mired in despair ;there is hope  for all of us –and our addicts.


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