|"Inner Demon III" by jdotjam|
I figured it out by accident.
I was preparing for war, mentally and emotionally. I learned patience being locked away for 6 months with drug addicts, bad criminals and all-around fuck-ups, and I practiced patience when setting goals for myself this past year. I worked on little things in my life, not really pushing to get to whatever my next step in life was supposed to be. I was interested in the here and now. I attempted to understand who I was without an influence in my body, and I focused on emotions moment to moment as I experienced them. This sounds tedious and mundane, but it had been a long time since I really dealt with emotions...or with anything for that matter.
So, I took my baby steps for months. I wrote when I was inspired or disturbed...or both. I handled whatever was in front of me. (Okay, that makes me sound like a groping uncle or your creepy coworker. There's a better way to phrase that.) I took care of issues as they surfaced and met my immediate needs. (No, now it sounds like I just masturbated alot. You get the idea, I hope. Moving along.)
Doing my best at work, performing when I could, obeying the sober house rules, staying sober, skateboarding, meditation...I followed a routine for months. Good things started to happen - I thrived at work, I wrote new jokes, I maintained an inner peace, I met Katie. And then recently, I completely paid off probation and moved out of the sober house.
The transition to the "real world" is all but done. In less than two months, I'll be done with probation completely, and I'll no longer have this breathalizer I carry in a backpack. It couldn't have happened at a better time. I was tired of being around the same type of people: shifty addicts either beginning recovery or pretending to be in recovery. I've had to deal with them for over a year in close proximity, and I was ready to be around normies. This is Austin, though, and I hang around kitchen staff and comedians. Normal is basically functioning drunks and drug users. Still a warm change, people who function.
While all this is going on, I am working on my mental state, ready for my addiction to fight me at the first sign of bad news. My inner demon...that devil on my shoulder...I knew it was still there, getting ready to attack. My assumption has always been the major battle will occur the day I have no one watching me anymore, which would be March 1st. I no longer believe this to be the case as I'm positive there will be no big attack from my demon.
You see, I made a breakthrough back in October that I touched on in the Duality of Me post:
"I don't really think that the angel is always good or the devil is always evil."
"My duality has to do with who I was vs who I am trying to be now."
"I can't stop being me."
"I am my imperfections, and I can embrace them."
Addiction, anxiety, negative thought...it's all in our mind. Everything is in our minds. No shit, you knew that. It's because it is all in my head that I had to change my thinking over time in order to make this new life while clean and sober thingy work.
I had to convince myself that my new life was cool. Sober in AA with a higher power looking at my past as all negative did not sound acceptable. Being very much pro-drug and pro-alcohol but considering myself a retired drunk and junkie looked better. Approaching the reality that I've milked all the bloody fun out of booze and pain killers and the lifestyle associated with both was how I convinced myself to do something new. Take that as a daily affirmation along with my decision I was done for good so that I don't kill myself and revisit them every 24 hours. Lather, rinse, repeat.
It's been working. Like really, really well. My success with rewiring some of these patterns in my selfish know-it-all ego-driven brain made me starting thinking more about the angel and devil on my shoulders...I mean obviously, my perception of "good" and "bad" separated instead of being all one big yin-fuck-yang. If this was a fallacy, wasn't referring to an addictive personality coupled with self-destructive patterns as a demon just as bullshit? I mean, obviously I don't have a demon possessing me...but the concept of separating negative aspects of yourself into a conceptual entity that you have to fight sounded stupid all of the sudden. It's all me, man. I don't need to try to kick my own ass here.
Somehow I ended up in this position and mindframe to consider urges to revisit old habits to be fleeting and pointless. We're old, brain. We've done that already and I'm bored with it.
Like I said...I got to this point by accident.
Just for good measure, though, I focused within myself and formed the angel and devil again. Instead of being combative with my demon, I simply told him, "Hey, I don't like being told what to do." Without warning, I immediately took out a broadsword and Ned Starked the angel, never taking my eyes off the devil. I added, as I mentally cleaned off the blade, "I welcome any suggestion you may have, though. I do like to have a good time, now and then."
Not really defeating the demon so much as deeming him irrelevant and scaring the shit out of him. He hasn't said much since then. RIP, shoulder angel.