DEEPLY AWAKE: “New Thoughts On Addiction And Change” By Kathy Vik 7-30-16
I just want to say, I know that part of my deal is to be here to document this stuff. Having decided that, long long ago, actually, this simple take on things helps ease any discomfort I hold, in the end, when I consider just what it is I have been doing expressively the last several months.
This morning, I realized that I have been doing something quite actively, and religiously, daily, for a couple years now. Maybe longer, truth be told. But really, it has reached some sort of critical mass within me, and I need to talk about it. That’s why prefaced as I did. Some things, I feel, should be documented. I don’t know why. I just know I need to do it.
So, here I am again, counter intuitively, but with fresh understandings today that make it clear to me that all of this is going to be changing, and the change is actually something that is not placed upon me, or crashes through the front door. This change is something I have to do for me.
I have known this, and it has allowed me this uncanny balance in limbo. It has been in this void that I have lived, and waited, impatiently, and times so bitterly, but, yeah, I recognized it this morning for what it is. I have been waiting.
I have had profound experiences in my life with this waiting, and even this has increased in acuity as time has passed. Unable, literally unable and unwilling to move forward, and not knowing how, really, I have been waiting.
I see more clearly, every day, that what is called for now are new tools, in order to truly apply all that I have learned.
What has been coming through so loudly, so forcefully, for me, is this notion that now it is all about living this.
I considered that, once I realized that I had, due to habit and comfort level and just how I have become, that I was going inert again today, switching off, waiting.
But what I realized, as I sat back on my pillows is this. I felt, physically, just for a moment, how much raw kinetic power there is sitting there, day after day, waiting for the inertia to break, waiting for the flood to come, waiting for release, waiting for resolution, waiting, waiting, waiting for action, I guess.
And so, it is easier to see how it is my life does kind of blow up from time to time, as passive as I have become with much of it. And yet, within all this inertia, or waiting, there is so much power. There is so much in resting potential.
I felt a grand wave of compassion for someone as keen on movement and activity as me, taking this holding pattern.
The truth is, though, that I had hit the end of so many energetic roads, and by that I mean ways of thinking, of holding myself, of expecting things from others, from my life, from my stories, from myself.
I know of this place within me, I would go there a lot, and stand there, and look at it. This place of wanting to change, wanting for things to be different, in my now, and yet, unwilling to make one move. I can say this in regards to so many areas of my life, knowing full well if I took one step, there would be such sweet relief, and I would most surely feel better. This is true about chores, about work, about reaching out to friends, about risking, I guess. And maybe that’s where I need to go with this.
I have said before, yeah, it’s time for me to write fiction. It’s time to start a new project and just walk from this into something else.
But that’s a big deal, and creatively, I know very well that often this sort of thought comes long before the movement into the new project. It takes time, creatively, to switch gears, and then, bam, it’s done, because it simply makes more sense and feels better to do this new thing.
That’s what I was aware of, after getting a big dose of self acknowledgment, of that whiff of how much power sits on my bed, dallying, waiting idly, passing time. This feeling of wow, what I could with all that pent up action! And then, thinking, you know, from here, that book doesn’t look impossible. I leaned back and started hearing the conversation of the characters, and giggled a bit at them, liking them already. The scene came, the dialogue, but, not the story yet, not that. I am still waiting.
And this is how I move, really, internally, from thing to thing. It is cumulative. So, I know I said yeah, enough of these essays, and here I am again, but it’s my rules, it’s my expression, and I am allowed to change my mind, back out, slow it down, do whatever I want.
Well, the issue, for me now, becomes one of willingness. I mean, I think that’s the general idea. I am so willful, I simply am not going to be doing anything anyone tells me to do, and that includes my own brain. I need to be sure. But, this morning, it comes back, in waves it hits me, there is nothing to wait for anymore.
That might sound dire, and it really isn’t. I just feel that the waiting that had at one time been wholly appropriate to my being, and its expression clung to everything I said and did, for months and months,, here lately, this reluctance, this refusal to do what’s right in front of me, just in full on argument with it, and putting my arms across my chest and saying NO, well, I think that is what is needing to change, always have, and funny, this morning, after working on this for so long, I really do feel different. I feel ready. I actually feel willing.
I hadn’t been. Obviously.
A lot of this comes down to being able to look, now, at my life, especially how I have lived it the last year or so, and realizing that I have in my awareness now many of the qualities I had only been hoping for, previously. Some of my “If only’s” have indeed come true, and as a result, it gets harder and harder to feel sorry for myself, or to believe the chorus that has played in my head for a lifetime, the one that whispers or bellows, depending on the circumstances, “Things never work out for you…”
I felt that way, about a lot of things. Maybe that’s just what people of a certain age do, especially those who have been compliant with others’ wishes, having spent so long focusing on the care, comfort and approval of others.
And if that’s the case, it doesn’t make what I write, where I go internally, how I express externally any less valid. Simply giving some of this a voice is appropriate, I think.
But after thirty years being this one thing, and doing things this one way, and identifying from a relatively narrow band of expression, I have, since ‘12, been really willing to try on other expressions, and to give myself new experiences.
This has indeed changed my life, and it remains the foundational advice I give anyone who is depressed. It is the hardest thing in the world, sometimes, but it is imperative to do something new. That shocks the system, and it opens up worlds.
That is not hyperbole. It’s just that, if you yourself have refused to do something for you that you really want to do, are motivated to do, but don’t do, this creates such tension, such trouble, and it’s really something I am a master at.
It’s simple things, around the house. It’s blowing something off I shouldn’t, that I know I shouldn’t. It’s not following through on a promise, or letting myself down in some other way. And then it’s focusing on a ll the shit feelings that that sort of behavior is supposed to generate.
The alternative, though, is to break through, and some of us, I know, are sitting on big big things we want to break through. It makes any action, no matter how small, seems gigantically important, and that’s a set up. But it also calls to mind a trick the mind does to keep us in a depressed state. And that is to make things seem very important indeed.
The thing is, these little incremental changes, they are the way out of the big problems. Doing one thing I know I must, taking that off my list, leads to relief from that self recrimination that many of us know very well.
I am aware that some do not have this particular issue to figure out. But I am glad that it got slow and clear for me.
It brings up, though, what happens next. I won’t ever say never, because these essays seem to write themselves, and they find an audience, and that’s good. It means there are others grappling with the same issues.
And I’ll digress here to say that sure, my age bracket might lend itself to scrutiny of daily habit and life goals for experiences yet to have, that are valued very highly by me, but also, I think it is a function of this ascension stuff, or the changing times we are in. It seems to me there are few who are not grappling with wanting to change, and many who maybe don’t even want to, but, boom, here it is, ready or not.
I mean, that’s sort of the idea here.
To move from one way of expressing, based on a consciousness, based on agreements, based on beliefs, into something new, based on new awarenesses that wind up being so sturdy, that after they are adopted, looking back on how life was once lived, a person can feel awed, and heartened, even. As we gain awareness, or compassion, or understanding about ourselves, our needs, our path, then by nature, this seeks expression. I think the imbalances I see, and have experienced, have come from not expressing these new things.
And that’s kind of where I was, this morning, on my bed, having a think.
I feel more desire to continue in new ways, than I do for waiting, even one more day.
And that means ACTION.
Hasn’t it been my actions, as incremental, as seemingly small and at times ridiculous, but the new behavior, the seeking out, the action, this is what has led to the ease I know, the hope I feel, the proof I have, that good things are finally afoot. They are finally afoot, I realize, because I am willing, now, to put another foot forward, in a brand new way.
I realized it has to do with writing a novel, now. And it has to do with making improvements in my daily life that I have been unwilling to make, up until now. I had been waiting, up until now.
I don’t fault myself for any of it, simply because I know that even at my most idle, I am being highly productive, and there is much that is changing within that simply hasn’t been allowed to be expressed, given how things have been for me. I have clamped myself off, I have slowed things down, and now, after this last few months, I can see release is here.
Twice, with two separate people, recently, I have been called upon to discuss this inertia. It is a common thing with many, you know. And it is the same thing that addiction is made of, habitual, counterproductive behavior which is comforting in its numbing regularity and predictability. That’s a biggie. But further, what I have found to be laugh out loud true about all addictions, and believe me, I have had some monkeys on my back, the story is this: you an literally spend a lifetime in the disease. You can spend years trying to figure out why you acted that way. And many do. I know I have, with many things.
And what I have learned is this. Study, all you want. Go for it. It is a vast and true study. But in the end, the only thing that will change anything is change itself. Insisting on knowing why, well, that is a way to stop change. To stay in the addiction. That’s how it’s done, really.
Because it can’t be changed from this inside.
In the end I think it comes down to self definition. That’s how I shook a lot of things. Realizing that yes, at one time I did this really unhealthy and dumb thing, a lot, and it was self injurious and it hurt those around me and made them know just how pissed and stupid I was, actually, but well, would I have been doing that if I didn’t fell it was appropriate to the situation and to myself? I did all of it on purpose. I chose it. So, huh.
How about stopping.
Just stopping, and not identifying myself like that anymore.
How about that?
And that works.
The trick, is, of course, being in agreement with all of it. That there is addiction means there is some sort of denial or untruth going on, something not being acknowledged. That’s what I have found. It’s an embracing of self injury. I’ve often thought it is a way that individuals can experience their own crucifixion and resurrection, even. The point is, I have always found resistance to change is at the heart of addiction, and once one toe goes over the line, the spell is broken, in a way. It’s all smoke and mirrors, in the end. We each KNOW what feels best for us. And that is the point of these times we are in, I think.
What I have found has brought me so much happiness, and so much relief is when I actually do the thing I’ve been afraid of. Is that being sober? Is that going on that interview? Is that reaching out to someone? What is it? What are you afraid of? Putting your clothes away? Hmm. Well guess what. Today, you get to do that.
And it’ll be uncomfortable, and it might actually wind up being mortifying, if it is a new thing you do with someone else, and it may be a failure, and it may just make you feel icky, but, then, once it’s done, it’s no longer totally cool to label yourself powerless.
The corollary is that doing new things is supposed to make you uncomfortable. that’s the idea. In nursing school, a key concept is that human beings will always go toward comfort. What this translates into in bedside nursing is much different than what it translates into behaviorally, and especially with addictions, which, I submit, are just self defeating behaviors that feel good because the reinforce a self image that is distorted and needs to be addressed and integrated. And it’ll sit out there for as long as it needs to, and get as scary or lethal as you need, to finally venture out and do that which you want to do, but refuse to do, for some weird reason. What do I mean by “do that which you want?” I mean, go out there, greet it, and bring it home, but then retire it. Letting it not be in the driver’s seat anymore.
That’s basically my take on addiction.
And I see it play out in my life in avoidance, really, which had been based on a belief structure which had me playing a socially inept, unwelcomed person.
I had an opportunity, last night, to feel some of that. And it was a really good night. I went to club, and although I was an honored guest, and I had friends there, we exchanged pleasantries and encouragements, still, at a certain point, all I really wanted to do was lounge. I wasn’t up for dancing. I just wanted to be.
In those settings, I see how aloof my behavior is, and how utterly I am unable to control it. I like, in the end, that I am quiet and retiring in even the noisiest of settings. Even then, I always find pockets of quiet, of peace. Then I can dive in again.
Last night I sat in a beautiful conversation pit and wanted to be on my own. I felt really good, sitting there by myself. I saw the people around me and realized how much older I am, and far from feeling embarrassed about it, I was simply grateful. That I am there, with them, that I am me, at this age, and then, I realized some of the things that I have been teaching, or that they have, I guess.
I mean, I was just sitting there, and normally this would have made my self recriminations, and my acute sense of un-paternered-ness flair, but there I was, realizing a few things, and feeling really good about everything. I came with a friend, and that makes all the difference. She danced and celebrated, I took it easy, and I enjoyed the time of reflection, rather than feeling bad about myself for being alone.
That is progress. That’s a big deal.
And maybe that’s why today this is finally rounding a curve, and I am feeling more complete in my skin. I don’t know if this is what embodiment is, but my thought is that integrating the soul, and being as functional, and as peaceful as possible all the time, that’s sort of the point.
Now I see that it includes acting, once again, in my life, in ways that are new, and these, of course, can lead to a sense of discomfort.
I grin. The psychological model for this idea of comfort is that we tend to stay in situations which match our beliefs about ourselves, our self definition, and to begin questioning this leads to discomfort, and to new behavior. You can paint it all sloppy with the addiction stuff, or you can apply it to how you pay your bills, or how you parent, or how you apply yourself at work or in relationship with others.
To end, I will say this. It is an amplification of something I wrote about early. It’s about changing yourself in our core.
For me, I held a lot of worry, whether it was going to be ok with others if I changed. I knew that by disagreeing with certain old behaviors others had toward me, I’d be changing our relationship. In some of them, I had always been seen as the weak one, the one who fucks up, the irresponsible one, the flake. It’s an amalgam, but it is a real hard one to shake. Black sheep syndrome, or whatever.
It’s when I began to act differently toward those who had always put me in that box, I got worried, but felt I had no alternative. I had to rewrite the script, and it led to tension, but, the curious thing was, I didn’t really have to do it all that often. What I found was I was easier to get along with. I had cut myself some slack and just derided that the changes I was seeing were good, and as such, they should be allowed wide berth, free access, full permission. Radical self trust, radical self acceptance, those became things I pondered on, as it all began in 2012, and these key concepts strengthened me, and made me react differently.
The same patterned behavior is available in these relationships, it comes up even now, but it gets easier each time. It’s not so much, anymore, about self defense, with these individuals as it is about self definition, as I deal with them. Often there is no need for confrontation. But the limitations are obvious, the patterning thick, and still, even there, I find there is better connection. Mostly because i can self-manage better, while knee deep in the drama I am asked, at times. to play in.
The funny thing is, the more I liked myself, the more others did, too. I know others had been telling me that might be what was happening, but I was still so focused on scowls and what I did not have, how much I had been gypped, how unhappy I have been, all that stuff, well, it needed to be expressed, it needed to be felt, and it needed to be put aside.
It’s taken me time, and very hard lessons, to figure that maybe now what comes next for me is to live this more fully, and as a result, yeah, I want to do some things differently, and one of them is how I am writing, what I am writing, and how it’s delivered. I’ll never say never to a tune up here, because that’s what this thing was started for, but I have always known that what it means, in the end, is change itself.
I’ve always walked around knowing I have this other life available, and it’s completely different than the one I live currently. New pursuits, new sources of income, new companions, new endeavors, new pursuits, but all of these I have had visions about since I was a kid. They don’t change, they only get enhanced. My friend Chris knows of this. She’s known me since elementary school.
The frustration for me has been that I am in this life here, not that one. And I want that one. I know that one. I prefer that one. That has been a core thing for me. For me this has felt either or, writing or nursing, and that has been why.
Returning to nursing now, though, it actually makes me feel excited and honored. Those feelings come back, now. I finally understood, as messed up as my linear brain is, as long as it takes to GET IT sometimes, I realized that now, due to the work I have done, the network of amazing people I now know, where there is mutual high regard and high creativity and kindness, well, golly, from there I an go further with my endeavors, but I will do it gently, and in respect and gentleness to me. I see there has to be a transition, and once I saw that it is temporary, it is actually, honest to god, temporary, this life I have been living, and what I want is right at my fingertips, it’s really close, well then, that helped.
It’s been frustrating, to be seen as the weird one, all this time, when I really have enjoyed my non vanilla, weird side most of all. To have come to a place of refinement, of embodiment, maybe, but of some forgiveness, I fully comprehend my impatience, because this has always been so real to me. To see that it is close, that this last part is temporary, that helped. But what helped the most is realizing to make this happen for me in this now, I must apply myself in a brand new way to everything. Really, just, everything.
So, that’s why the meditation on addiction and changing behaviors, really. To further explain to myself, and by extension to anyone who feels drawn to this lengthy tome, my thoughts on changing myself.
To close, I’ll tell you, I have an amazing friend who is very young. Yesterday we fist bumped each other on text, and she said she hopes that when she gets to be my age in her earth vessel that she’s like me, something to that effect. I felt really good, hearing that, and I think so highly of her as a human being. It was great.
The connections I have with people now are better, and I am less suspicious, timid, freaked out, angry, awkward, uncomfortable. It took time to ease into being human, I think, sometimes. Lived as an alien, almost defiantly, for so long.
But now is the time to just try new things, and to make myself do things that I have resistance for, knowing full well the resistance is ridiculous and counter productive. I think these are the things that hold me back from good things. That’s my take. That it will involve many aspects of my expression thus far, well, so be it. They might seem like small things to an on looker. Not to me. Not to me. But I was fatigued. I was sad. I was bitter. I was scared, and maybe those are all the feelings that go into those last moments as the cocoon seals shut, I don’t know. With these essays, especially the long rambling ones, I really do not know. What comes next? I don’t know.
The weird thing is, more and more, I really am beginning to believe something Kryon was repeating to us here, not so long back. Get ready to see that it is all benevolent. The changes that occur, which might be massive, just buckle up and know, they are all for the good. I thought that was mildly retarded, in some respects, and I am really good at grieving and being sad, and I really like that addictive thing of resistance. It’s bad, but I engage in it, and it’s dumb. I can say that because I now have enough evidence, I just do, I have had enough social success, I guess, as a previously isolated (by choice) person, to say that I feel more comfortable doing things that I at one time would never have thought of doing, and now I cannot for the life of me understand why I didn’t have this earlier. It’s just a real happy, familiar place, and I like it. If doing one or two new things, or things that I “have a block about”, and just go “yeah yeah yeah, tell me all about it as we do what it is you’re so blocked about,” if I do that, I think I am going to be ok here for the next part.