Anxiety shampoo, with a fear conditioner, trying to manage the split ends.
In this practicing of recovery, I have said many times that it is mostly practicing better thinking. That always sounds so easy, and basic, but it is by far a simple task. In my personal recovery the insights come when they do, the bright light moments are not programmed into a set of steps, or the passing of time, or in many cases anything at all but life itself. It is part of the learning, relearning, and awareness level, that each person is at in their respective recoveries. As I have documented at length already, there is more than one type of recovery going on, I think that is more common than some understand. Alcohol was but a condition, the other things that came with life were the determinants, the reason for the alcohol, and the opening ourselves up for its abuse. Throughout this recovery the means to a better mental health has been the impetus as much as a desire for a better life in general.
In that practicing, the things that become noticeable in my thinking patterns become points of discertion. The opening up of the processes exposes insights into how the thinking mechanics, whether good, bad, or indifferent, begin and formulate. Understanding that these pathways are not universal, but enough may be shared that it begs some consideration. This commitment to recovery has required diligence to those things large and small, so when a thought went through my mind, I had to follow it for a bit to find out where it came from. In doing so, I got a glimpse into a part of the processor my body is using to navigate this world. That processor is chock full of thinking that I am not always aware of, not always conditioned to see, or ponder upon.
It all started just thinking about some old friends…
Science is just starting to understand this human universe in many areas, the capacity of the human mind among the most surprising. The evidence that is accumulating in a multitude of studies, is that people, humans, are more precognitive that previously understood. Our collective experiences, and understanding, come together to provide a snapshot of the next few milliseconds, the ones that haven’t happened yet. Based on expectations and history, the programming allows us a graduated list of what to expect, what to act upon, and what the end results will be… Milliseconds. So, when thinking about old friends branched off into pondering about those alive and dead, the branch broke, and revealed an insight into the programming language.
It came in the thoughts of older friends, and acquaintances. The morbidly horrible, but very human practice of conditioning oneself for their passing. I know it sounds absolutely inhuman, but I can assure most that it happens in the back rooms of our thinking whether we recognize it or not. It’s a form of conditioning ourselves, shielding ourselves from the news that could damage our souls so completely. That thinking was not new, I had known about that area of humanity for decades, the appeasing our guilt, adjusting our joy, girding our emotional loins. The distancing ourselves from those we love dearly, because we love them dearly. The thought that resounded after dispelling those dark dwellings was, what other conditioning is going on? What other assuaging of our expectations occur when we are too busy to notice?
I dug into the easy to reach places of thought, and even in that front yard of thinking I found plenty of examples. Built into the precognitive state that our brains have us in, the setting up of expectations have us at a disadvantage from the beginning. I realized in the time between that thought process opening up, until now, that as a species… It’s how we work. To various extremes, through various difficulty levels, to the individual themselves, we do a lot more precognitive work than is widely known. I had thoughts of my cat, and what it is going to be, and feel like, when he is gone. I went through the possibilities of this action, and that action, the outcomes, and the fear or reward mechanisms involved. The outcomes of the football games, and conditioning my sensibilities for either outcome. The fears that are built in because we are aware of the dangers, the courage that is built in as well from the same factors. The negative starting points and the euphoric what ifs?
My sponsor has used the term, condemnation prior to investigation, in examining the fear responses that dictate a greater portion of our psyches than we consciously know about. The expectation, experience, emotion, subroutines are playing constantly against the backdrop of life/reality. The anxiety shampoo that we lather ourselves up in whether we know it or not. The soothing conditioner of going over the outcomes, the emotions, and the expectations, that could, or could not arrive. The resident fears, the choosing of rewards, the discerning of worthiness of those rewards. The programming of better thinking begins when the rhythm is known, when the way it is built is revealed, and when the willingness to change is at the forefront. In that willingness, my experiences have taught me that the ways to a brighter future are not always revealed on a timeline other than life itself. That ways to a better health of mind are sometimes contained in the smallest of pieces, the nutrients of thought.
It is a part of the mechanism that makes up the arbitrary anxiety; That wholly made up set of circumstances that eat at your piece of now. These aspects about thinking are making their way into my purview because of change, because the suggestion was, and will always be, change everything. Growth leaves nothing at the same level, not even the roots, and change is required for growth. One of my favorite sayings is that of a sober friend, who often exclaims that he “Can’t wait to see what he believes next year.” As the years go by though, the fears that had fallen to the wayside through recovery were quickly replaced with others. Either completely amassed, or broken into the bits and pieces that go unattended to along the way. I had a better attitude about addicts, and alcoholics, but I developed a distaste for evangelicals?… Fear is an awfully big wig, hard to manage, and usually leaves us looking more unkempt than we recognize.
Fear may be big, but there’s the point of departure, the point of change. On this road of recovery, I have been able to produce, and place, the signs needed, the stop signs, the yield signs, the directional arrows, and the speed zones. In doing so, the practices of a poorer mental health were revealed, making my management of, not control of, anxieties, depressions, changes, and expectations, much more efficient and less devastating. Knowing that within the personal lathering I construct with my daily routines, the more I can manage my split ends, my unmet expectations, and my positive constructs. As opposed to the fear based, conditioned reactions, that are built into the subroutines of past experiences. It allows that part to be rewritten, and with it more change. A rinsing of the mental materials, and the clearing away of some anxiety shampoo.