How much to invest?
In real life with, or without the introduction of recovery, emotional health is an important piece of coping with that real life. In recovery the mechanics of it vary wildly between individuals. The needed parts differentiate themselves after some time. In other words, after the recovery from drugs and alcohol, what is left? What was the reason for the addictions to begin with? With myself the overt causes were emotional, the inability to train basic aspects of my character to behave in an non-destructive behavior pattern. I was, as I have heard in other’s stories as well, very much in an emotional kindergarten, the progress was stunted. In learning to handle and cope with my emotions as they pertain to the world there have been many pieces of information along the way. There have been many slogans, sayings, and excitement derived motto’s.
The, One day at a time; Think, think, think; And what other people think is none of my business, were important mantras and practices, and still are. How they have morphed over the years into a toolkit for coping better with life, myself, and others, is part of that individualistic nature of this commonality plagued disease. I have witnessed in myself the growth of the proverbial toolbox, the amassing of various implements to take an errant thought apart. I have noticed the changes from the basic rock, paper, stick, that I started with into some very nicely engineered tools. The graduation from stone age to modernity is noticeable in hindsight, not that I don’t still use the rock, paper, stick when it is the right tool for the job. Even through all of it though, my emotions were my jumping off point, the part that wouldn’t settle down even in recovery. So this was what I was trying to supress? This was why my addiction seemed so rational, because I could get rid of the emotional wreck. The only part was, I couldn’t see well enough then to realize I was just causing a magnification of it all. I wasn’t getting rid of it, I was growing it.
So as the years passed by and the true character made itself aware of things better, I took on a new mantra, a different way of looking at some things. Knowing that my emotions were always going to be there, and overachieving as they wished to be, I made a conscious effort to give them a budget. I was tired of waking up and reading my various news sources and ending up overly emotional, drained, and tired. I had had too many trips into wrecking myself emotionally over things I had no control over, events I could not change. It was part of the self forgiveness trap of not allowing me to let it be what it was, over. I had had enough of the all or nothing way I was spending my emotional resources. When the events of one day drain enough out of you inside that you can’t function the next day, someone is overspending.
Faced with that, and wanting to achieve change, I began the process of breaking up my emotional resources into sub-categories. What was imperative? What pieces did I have to use, and how much did those cost me emotionally? I knew that just like anger, politics, the fate of the free world, and many other aspects of my thinking were actually wild spenders, not looking out for the needed supplies and sundries, and consisting of mostly dubious luxuries. It is not that I couldn’t care about those things, it’s just that I should right size that caring. That allowed me to allocate more caring for the pieces that needed it more, like gratitude, openness, and loving, those things that were truly important in my life. After a while the categories became one of those tools I use, or maybe they just became the obvious dividers that line the toolbox? Just like reaching into that toolbox for a tool to use in various situations, I found myself more and more wondering if I should be reaching in there to begin with? Would it be wise for me to “get into” this, or that?
Somehow, that mental note wondering about reaching into the mental toolbox morphed into spending energy, and spending morphed into a monetary symbolization. It made sense, in my recovery energy was something of a finite resource, so anything draining it needlessly became important to find. I did find that I was leaking energy, allowing those emotional, and thus energy consuming habits to nickel and dime me to death. So I developed a thought pattern that helped me visualize, and defuse many of those leaks. It helps me stay in the present and current thinking, and allows me that second thought, or that third. It was the Think, think, think, all over again.
I only have a buck of emotional money to spend each day… That’s my saying that has been going on for a few years now. It started off being applied to the bigger things, those areas of interest that needlessly drained me. The state of society, the divisions of humanity, my neighbor’s problems, and whether or not my team will win the game. I began to notice the emotional string being pulled sooner than before, overlaying that pulling with the basic thought of… Do I invest in this? If so how much? Is it a want or a need? Is there a coupon for it laying around anywhere in my mental storerooms? Because my ego will allow me to believe that I am more important than I truly am, that more of what goes on in the world affects me more than it truly does. Not diminishing my importance, or a knock at my esteem, it’s just a natural side effect of affluency. In acknowledging that I only have a buck to spend, it enforces the finite amount of emotional energy that I have, that I can spend, and whether or not I will have some at the end of the day.
It also allows me to more easily stay in the present, the emotion of now, how I currently am. When I find myself future tripping or drowning in the past, it reminds me that I am using other money, savings or credit. Either way that is money that I don’t have, is not really for me to spend. It is those little adaptations, the placing of one practice I manage better, money, as a transparent template over the practices that need better managing, emotions. It is similar to the way that we were taught to count by showing us visuals of apples and oranges. I don’t know about anyone else but the number 3 is still surprisingly green when I see it, Granny Smith Apple Green… Utilizing this investment strategy as a means to help stay in the present was a pleasant side effect, an unknown quality when I started. It is now self serving, one aspect reminds me of the other, the third Think if you will.
In life, and in recovery, not everything will work for various reasons. The coping with, and living out is hard on everyone no matter what the causes. In my case it is addictions, behaviors, and emotions, that drove my life down the worst and best roads imaginable. I have had to learn to adjust my adjustments and correct my defects of character mostly from my own perspective. Life is tough, and emotions don’t make it easy on anyone to get through it unscarred. The amount that I invest into any one thing, any one desire, passion, or feeling, is up to me at any given moment. That is something that although I am not perfect at applying, is making it easier to jump through the days and years that go by. I don’t have the money for everything, and I am a man of simple means. I will not spend a penny on those things that just take, but will spend a dollar on those things that give. I have more than a dollar inside, but I only have a dollar to give though. It is a way to protect the resources, a way to keep the bank balance in in the black and leave enough for everything else. An investment in myself, my emotional current-cy.