Sunday, 11 August 2013

Change

When I think angry, jealous, resentful thoughts, I feel bad. I am presented with many opportunities to think angry, jealous, resentful thoughts—as I go through the day, I notice things around me; if I then judge those things (by comparing them to how I want things to be), I will become angry.

When I am going through the day, I can tell when I am judging, or being angry, jealous, or resentful. I have a choice. I can continue to think about those things, or I can think about something else.

I have a plan for the day. At any point during the day I know what I am supposed to be doing. When I spot that I am angry, jealous, or resentful, this means I have left the moment. I am not concentrating on what I am supposed to be focusing on. I ask God to bring me back to the moment, and I drop my vision of how I think everything ought to be. I concentrate on where I am and what I am doing.

I sometimes find it helpful to write a list of what is my business and what is not my business.

In my recovery, I have learned I have to stop moaning about how bad I feel when I am the one punishing myself by letting myself get carried away with negative thinking. To feel better, I have to decide I want peace above all else and that there are certain things I cannot think about without consequences. My number one priority then becomes to turn my thoughts to the present, to how I can be useful, and to consider things like gratitude, trust, and faith. I read spiritual books to fill my head with positive ideas.

I have had to stop complaining and start changing, and the hard work had to be done by me. I had to stop doing obsessive inventory when what was needed was change. I was drawn to inventory, because it meant I could continue to focus on me. That has never worked. Step Four is not the only Step. There are also Steps Six and Seven.

I now know what my character defects are: I think negative things then want to avoid the emotional consequences. I then act on those consequences and on selfish desires, which are designed to alleviate them. Instead, I need to think about God, and gratitude, and deliberately fill my heart with love; then, I need to absorb myself in action.

I have had to be absolutely brutal about not permitting negative thinking. I have had to take responsibility. I have had to develop sometimes blind trust in God, regardless of whether I believe in God in that moment. The only reason to be resentful is because I think I need to have my own way as I do not trust God. Full stop. That is it. End of inventory. Then I have to change.

Friday, 2 August 2013

A few things that have helped me

(1) Prudence and caution are fine but fear, particularly of what others think, is an irrational waste of time. Saying that won't get rid of it but overriding fear and acting right will, if done consistently enough. Contact with reality (as opposed to mental speculation) will ultimately dispel it.

(2) Find things I'm interested in and do them regardless of what others think, regardless of long-term outcome, regardless of my own facility or ability, just for the sake of it. Getting lost in the world and all it has to offer is the surest way out of self-obsession.

(3) Find some kind of spiritual path. There are lots of available, from the intellectually rigorous through to the numpty, with everything in between. This is probably the best way to end up with a quiet, highly functional mind, as opposed to one that is eating itself alive. Therapy's unlikely to bring peace although it may bring understanding, adjust the cognitive response to past events in line with reality, and produce a touch more functionality.

(4) Take an interest in other people, particularly helping them. There're a lot of people who need helping and who are in a lot more trouble than me, however bad things might seem at times.

(5) Contact with nature. Lots of it.

(6) Exercise 5 to 6 times a week, just as an experiment. This is good on every level: mood; health; sleep; looks; having something fun/distracting/difficult to do.

(7) Get lost in cooking, particularly for others. It's endlessly diverting.


The best way to become a happy person is to live like happy people live: productive; useful to others; engaged. The mind will tend to follow, eventually. The other motto is to avoid contempt prior to investigation. Everything that has ever driven my life forward when I have been stuck looked like a terrible idea at the time. I’ve learned to follow the suggestions of people who are happier than me on the basis that they seem to have found something I had not. Change happens when I fear stasis more than the unknown.