Discerning reality is no easy task for addicts. Here’s a hint: Listen with your eyes. It works.
When a person or activity is pulling me back into romancing of the past, I visualize the end result. One of my friends says, Watch the tape all the way through.
Let’s say I start thinking about 2 Buck Chuck, a Merlot that I could get at Trader Joes for $2. It was a really full-bodied and earthy tasting wine. I bought it by the case.
When such thoughts break in, we might recall, a little ruefully, how much store we used to set by the imagination as it tried to create reality out of bottles. ~Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, 2011, p 55
I play the activity in my mind, past the initial ‘hit’ of euphoria with the first sip and on to the end result. What is it, this bottle of Chuck?
I ask myself, Where does it lead? Peace and serenity and a sense of well-being? Does it lead to the throne in the bathroom or the throne in my heart? Is the activity going to decrease my conscious contact with God, or increase it?
By watching the tape all the way through, I can rescue myself from wrong thinking. All the facts are there, I just have to listen with my eyes to see the truth. Chuck leads me to more Chuck and more Chuck…to upchuck! Or, at least, it leads me to passing out.
It’s not just activities that call to me in my addiction. Sometimes it’s people. If my romancing is directed towards an individual from my addiction, I run that person’s character through my mind. The same technique works.
I rip off the mask they wear (the words they said which woo me back) and take a good look at their past actions. Show me, don’t tell me. I make myself listen by looking at what they’ve done in my life. Has that relationship given me peace and serenity and a sense of well-being? Does it lead to a saner and richer life, encouraging my conscious contact with God, or does it hinder my conscious contact with Him?
When I refuse to listen to the memorable words, but listen instead to the actions, I get a firmer grasp on the reality. I used to be easily swayed by the things I wanted to hear. Desperation made me fantasize about how things could be.
It can be dangerous for an addict to fantasize. I need to refuse the fantasies of yesterday and keep in mind the consequences of yesterday in order to grasp the reality of today.
Reality isn’t a fantasy, it’s just real.
We found the Great Reality deep down within us. ~Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, 2011, p 55
PS: If you want real, watch for it, don’t listen for it.