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Attempting to understand anxiety

November 1, 2015

How do you relax?

It has become obvious to me in recent days & months I do not relax very well.  I certainly don’t do it often enough.  In most, if not all, attempts I tend to not do it completely.  In nearly 25 years of sober living, journal writing, prayer, meditation and meetings I have found ways to relax as positive alternatives to what I did before I found a willingness to understand and adopt this program of living.  I am happy to say the alternatives I have found are definitely working in more productive ways.

But even with time I can see this is not the end of the story.

I have learned how to relax in my sobriety but what has become painfully obvious is a increased amount of anxiety I don’t seem to have an ability to control from it’s inception.  What this means is I am forever trying to relax, to stop, to be aware and to change the way I think.  Unfortunately I am, and may always be, a slave to an over-thinking, over-active mind.  I was born this way and once handled it in a far different way prior to understanding there are steps and methods much more conducive to healthy and successful living.

This, for those who might feel answers and solutions are a bit more simple in their own experience, is not about faith.  I am very faithful to a power greater than myself.  I believe with all of my heart I am not the power and I know I am in trouble when I try to control my life.  My program has taught me how to understand and recognize my need to control, arrest the behavior and understand the unmanageability it results in.  I am able to know my faith can help me breathe and “let go” of the fears and misgivings I can so easily create within the aforementioned thought process I am wired to live with.

Before sobriety I did the same thing with the thinking I do today.  The difference was in how I do it.  In the past I would turn off the anxiety with alcohol and various drugs (depending on the time of my life and the situations I perceived I was in.)  I don’t believe I knew then I was drinking and using as an escape for the over-active thinking.  In my world it was disguised as a personality trait, a party, a method to communicate and socialize, a form of courage and a simple form of humanness.  I assumed it was what people did, I never thought the way I drank to be any different until the problems it produced and the recognition of how it effected others above and beyond how it effected me personally.

The trick today is in recognizing my underlying anxiety creates conversations I have not been fully able to starve or shut up.  They continue to happen and, although I am fortunate to have means to stop them and work into solution and right thinking, will not stop no matter how much of a program I am capable of working.

There is no doubt there are methods for elongating the solution oriented frame of mind, through selfless behavior and service to others, be it within a program for living or in my daily life of work and the surrounding world.  But even within my solution my mind remains powerful and resourceful, creeping in with thoughts I have no way of keeping at bay when arriving at unexpected or inappropriate times and ways.

Does this make me psychologically different than those around me?  Am I outing myself as troubled or problematic in a world filled with normal people?

Not even close.

What this says about me is I recognize traits of anti-social behavior, isolation, anger, defensiveness and shame (about who I am and what people see me to be.)  What the recognition affords me is a better understanding about how to use my program and a realization to reach further than the places I have for the past quarter century in order to afford myself some different or enhanced solutions resulting in the peace and quiet I know I deserve and desire.

I am not allowing myself to be a candidate for relapse.  This is a daily mantra I adhere to stringently.  I am smarter than that.  I know what my issues are and I handle them through writing, communication and all of the tools I have been taught by so many people with similar situations over the years.  But it is also important I look at how some of these thoughts come about.  I must recognize triggers and look through my own sadness about aging, overwhelm, compulsive behaviors and the difficulty I can face when climbing walls and taking actions I know are going to provide me with better ways to think and live.  I am not now, have never been or never will be a perfect soul.  All of my many accomplishments have come through toil and hardships of mistakes made and fears finally recognized and conquered.

In order to learn how to honestly and completely relax there must be changes made in how I think and live.  Although this is not necessarily news in my world, it is something I am determined to accomplish with as much grace, honesty and open-mindedness as possible.  I am in a surrender and with that surrender I will see there may be some different ways to approach this topic and find solutions to take me into another new chapter in the constant evolution of my progress as a human being.  I am ready.

Stop. Smile. Breathe.


One Comment
  1. Kevin permalink

    The answer to reducing anxiety and pervasive negative thinking?—-It’s all in your blog title my man….

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