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My name is Mark and I’m addicted to control

November 16, 2014

Please don’t call me a control freak.

I have long held an awareness about my issues with control, or the unconscious fear of losing control, but I work with this daily and the intentions from within are honorable and heartfelt.

This is a key character defect for me.  I look back on my life up until now both in and before my sobriety and see there has always been the need to control.  Over the years with my awareness this has become a much more manageable defect, but it does not (and probably will not) go away completely.  Although I have made my peace with its existence (some things will not completely subside and are best accepted with management,) I do realize that the attempt to completely move out of this state of thinking is always going to be a goal.

As a child I found myself creating worlds of my own.  I had my own country, my own movie studio filled with stars, I built my own world of music and Top 40 charts filled with original songs and re-created tunes that lived on the real charts.  It was all very authentic.  It was also the beginning of my need to control my environment.

Where does my need for control come from?  Fear.  When young I felt like an outcast for a number of reasons and because of it needed to create a place that I could feel comfortable.  This need for “safety” or fear of losing control became the catalyst to the early adoption of alcohol and drugs into my life.  They offered me solace, comfort, a quieting or numbing effect on the over-active thinking and, beyond anything else, the courage to face a life that scared me from deep down inside to the obvious surfaces and outer realms in every social or human level experience I was a part of.

For years I have wondered whether it was my fears that pushed me unconsciously to try and control the situations I faced or if the habitual actions of control resulted in the fears I found myself always handling.  It would seem that no matter what the level or type of control I was issuing I would invariably be trying to protect something that I thought I was going to lose or insure somehow that I would be getting something that I really wanted (or thought I wanted at the time, it has been proven far too many times that I am not always the best “judge” for what it is I believe I want or need.)

Is all control bad?  Not at all.  There are distinct advantages to the world I built for myself through my willingness to grow, change, learn and build a better world amidst other human beings (and definitely with myself.)  With a good degree of awareness and the right intentions my control of situations has allowed for miracles in my life I would not ever have expected possible.  I have learned control does not have to be a negative, but if held too tight it is likely going to be one.

It is when control begins to hurt me that I must take a long hard look.  If I am holding on tight for reasons that at any point don’t make sense or can be second-guessed the obvious reason is in the motivations behind them.  If fear is present in choices I am only going to end up suffering, wasting precious time, and possibly hurting relationships and opportunities.  This is not conducive to any aspect of my growth.  It takes the opposite effect and throws me into deep dark cycles of shame and holes that I must find help to pull myself out of.

I’m an alcoholic, asking for help is never the easiest thing to do.

The fact that I find myself still looking at this character defect 23 years into my willingness to pursue sobriety and a different way to live this, my only life, is not something I allow to dampen my spirit or judge the the way I handle the world around me.  I look at my behavior and realize that I am worlds better in how I have learned to understand and maintain a spiritual program by working with the imperfections I am coupled with. I am cognizant of my actions these days and proud of the changes I have made throughout the years.

Control is part of who I am, it is part of my personality trait.  This is not an excuse as much as a necessary acceptance.  I am thrilled I am able to know this and continue to work with it.  I have faith in my intentions and in continuing to learn to let it go.

…just don’t call me a freak.

Stop.Smile.Breathe.

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