Son of a Beast

It’s been nearly a year now since I stopped ingesting ethanol. Time has flown, and I am just so happy that I don’t do that any more. No so-called sobriety here, I am free and clear and happy.

I think one of the reasons why so many 12-steppers and people who adhere to common popular myths and language around ethanol are always on the edge of so-called “relapse” as if their “disease” might resurface and end their “recovery” (read remission) at any moment, is that: Once those addictive pathways were paved into your gray matter, all it takes is that proverbial “just one” to render an old overgrown dirt path back into a super highway. This is why it’s essential to stay alert and aware of what’s going on in your head and body, and to treat certain ideas like the useless, and potentially harmful, thought forms they are.

Many people who have several months of freedom under their belts have mentioned that they have had sudden cravings for a drink. This caused me to look deeply into my own thoughts, and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to an occasional tiny inkling of feeling so free and okay that “just a little” might not hurt. But I know better.

It’s because we’ve become relaxed around it, and just by habit we are not as vigilant as we were in the earlier weeks and months when we were actively breaking the cycle. We aren’t as highly conscious of every smarmy beer, wine, and liquor advertisement we see and hear; we gloss over all that romantic, celebratory, fine dining, mommy juice blather we see on Facebook. If not seen for what they are, all of those subliminal messages can dig down and shake hands with that little son-of-a-beast – that kernel of addictive potential.

The little monster that’s been basically starved to death is but an occasional glimmer, a tiny, sneaky golem hiding out in the dark, rubbing its hands in anticipation, “down there” in the cave of your subconscious, hoping for a break.

“Oh, relax. You show no signs of being the addict you once were, so just one can’t hurt.”

But I know better.

And then there’s when you’re so busy or stressed or whatever, and just need a rest, and up pops the idea, “I want a drink.” Fortunately this hasn’t happened to me because I know I truly do not want a drink, but many others have mentioned it, so I’ll address it here.

When that little voice says, “I need a drink.” or something like that, what it’s really saying is, “I need a rest.” So much of addiction (I noticed this with cigarettes too) is based on this need for a break from thinking – a rest. So, if that idea breaks through the surface of your mind, all you really need to do is correct it from, “I need a [fill in the addictive substance or action],” to “I need a rest.”

Sit down, and if I have the time, I set my timer for 10 minutes, and if I don’t I just sit and breathe and get quiet. I breathe deeply, attending to my breath; I listen the the sounds around me, and just notice; I feel where my ass meets the chair and where my feet meet the ground; I scan my body by from head to toe including my guts; I pull my attention back to my breath if it gets briefly hijacked by thought, which you can be sure it will. I treat all the sounds and thoughts equally, as benign passing vapor, and return to my breath. It’s that easy. That is rest. That is what you really want.

I look at the son-of-a-beast like a toxic relationship that ended long ago. You might run into it every now and then at certain events and social occasions, and you politely acknowledge it, and move on to something more interesting, healthy, and engaging. No need to rekindle that bad relationship. We know better.

8 thoughts on “Son of a Beast

  1. I am going to hold onto that advice about when my mind tells me I need a drink not really I need a rest. I have been in and out of so-called recovery for years and so often after a so called relapse I would wake up the next day and realize what I really needed was some sleep and then the horror with setting of what I had done… all that I had so-called lost after making the choice to drink. I’m with you regarding all these words too. I’m rethinking my belief system around addiction and many of the words are used to use have no place now except explain or talk about what I disagree with. Thank you for your beautiful blog. I read almost all of it now.

    1. I have never felt more whole and happy than I do now. Just taking those 10-15 minutes at least once a day brings balance and presence into my entire life. 🙂 And if you’re still grappling with addiction, make a point of taking those rests, especially if the beast is trying to get at you, and you’ll see that all that inner conflict is just internal smoke and mirrors. xx

  2. I want to hear more of what you have to say about Co-Dependency. I think I have a horrible addiction to a person. It hurts all the time but I don’t let it go. I am pretty sure it’s codependent but don’t really understand. I just know that love has always hurt and I’ve always ended up feeling pitiful…begging for love…chasing…manipulating through ultimatums and such 🙁

  3. Maybe I’ll write a piece about codependents because it’s really interesting. In the meantime, you might try reading this book I read around 25 years ago (and then handed to a family member) – Codependent No More by Melody Beattie

    I was and am not codependent – I am independent 🙂 but I was raised in a family/society that has/had a few textbook examples: Codependents depend upon the perceived weaknesses or failings of others in order to bolster their self-esteem and sense of purpose (think nurse who depends upon people being sick for livelihood). The counterpart to that is the “sick” or “needy” one – the enabled of the enabler. You need 2 to play the game.
    Ethanol addiction (and all the myths and notions of so-called “disease” of “alcoholism”) create a perfect platform for active codependent dynamics. There are the needy ones who look not inward for their sense of wholeness, but outward upon the “needs” or “diseases” of others to fulfill themselves – just as the addict looks to the substance (and the enabler) for completion. They feed on the business of others like it’s a drug, rather than to look at themselves.
    Bottom line, a toxic codependent relationship is like any addiction, and you know what you need to do to stop it.

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