Recovery is a process, not a singular event. In these blog posts we’ve been writing about how your mind, and your inner addict might do everything it can to keep you in your current state of acting out compulsively, and refusing to change. That’s because change is scary. It’s venturing into the unknown. Even if your current situation is miserable, your mind and your addict want you to stay there, because it requires no effort. That’s why we make it a point to let you know that when you first begin looking for your own life story, don’t be surprised if you hit a brick wall.
If you’ve been reading our blog articles and looking into your past, you might be thinking to yourself “My past wasn’t so bad.” Maybe you don’t have memories of abuse, or teasing, or of a tumultuous childhood. Maybe your childhood was actually pretty pleasant. Maybe you were popular in school. You might not have experienced anything obviously abusive. But something triggered your compulsive behavior. It’s now a matter of sitting down and really investigating about what it might have been. In the article “Become Your Own Investigator,” we wrote about getting started in looking for the roots of your compulsive behavior. In our video course, we walk you through some specific exercises to help you do this kind of investigation.
We sometimes refer to the inner addict as a “boy,” because it behaves the way children would behave. But you’re trying to live a man’s life. So consider this: do children always admit their wrongdoings just because they got caught? Do you know any 8, 10, or 13-year-old kid who might lie from time to time? Of course you do!
Your addict is the child, and he is working in concert with your mind to keep you from breaking through to the truth. You know there’s a problem, but your addict and your mind are acting like nothing’s wrong. This is the exact behavior you would expect from a child standing in front of a broken window, swearing he doesn’t know who broke it.
Everyone has a story, no matter how deeply or stubbornly it might be hidden. It may not jump out at you readily, but looking back over your life in a detached and analytical way is still very important to your overall understanding of your addiction. Since this can be an intimidating process for some, remember that you are not your story. You are more. Your story can’t hurt you anymore, so don’t be afraid of discovering it. Bringing it out in to the light, and seeing it for what it really is will help take its power away, and give that power back over to you.
Anytime you find your addict hiding or telling you it doesn’t know why it’s doing what it’s doing, ask your addict this question: “If you did know, what would it be?” Write this question on the top of a blank piece of paper or type into a new doc on your computer and wait. If your addict still doesn’t answer, write or type the question again. If you feel you need some support in getting to the answer, reach out for some help. Sometimes even a small nudge from someone who’s been through what you’ve been through can make a huge difference.