Posted by Kim Smith, RecoveryYogini on 27th Jan 2017
Let’s imagine life as a river and we are the water. Most days we flow with our natural essence, of being alive. Some days there are rocks, some days there are boulders, that we have to navigate around, or flow over repeatedly until they become smooth around the edges, allowing peaceful travel. Sometimes, or oftentimes there are waterfalls, tiny trickles over small rocks and pebbles or vast ravines that plummet and disperse. These waterfalls displace our energies, they cause us to shift our perspective and find a new grounding.
Sometimes there are whirlpools.
A whirlpool is defined as water in swift, circular motion, as that produced by the meeting of opposing currents, often causing a downward spiral.
This is the exact definition of how my mind operates when I get caught up and lose my connection to the my higher power, when I lose myself.
Water moving in a swift, circular motion:
The word swift here implies moving at a fast pace. My thoughts are lightning quick, one on top of the other, each one vying to be the loudest, voicing my insecurities, fears, and conditionings.
All of these thoughts chase each other, like a dog chasing it’s tale, in a circular motion.
There appears to be no time to pause, no breath to catch, I feel like I am drowning in my own pain.
As that produced by the meeting of opposing currents:
Ok, this is where things have started getting incredibly hairy for me. There was a long period of my life ruled by self-seeking, self-serving, and “self-will run riot”. (Big Book of AA) Today, I have set aside my pride, and admitted that I have been guilty of existing, rather than co-existing. I like to call my old ways of living“The KIM Show”, starring Kim, written, produced, directed, costumes, lighting, soundtrack, you guessed it, all by Kim. (the Big Book alludes to this a character irregularity in most alcoholics.) As thankful as I am today to be embracing a new wholeness of living, I kind of miss the ignorance of being the star in my own show. When I was driven by my ego I had no accountability or responsibility for my feelings or others. Everything was always someone else’s problem or completely my own. I constantly flipped between being the self-righteous accuser and the pitiful victim. In either circumstance, I felt something was owed to me for thesevere injustices that life had been throwing my way.
Today I am witnessing myself with much more clarity. I am extremely aware of my habits and patterns that are self-defeating. At this point on my life, I can actually witness myself having an argument, lashing out, or turning to isolation and recognize that the reality in front of me is no longer dictating my feelings. My habits, patterns, and conditionings are.
I know I am being irrational, reactive, angry, depressed, and self-destructive. I know I am pushing people away that love me, building walls, and starting fights for no reason. I know that I am coming from a place a fear and not love. I know that there is a more compassionate, loving way to engage with myself and the world. I just haven’t figured out how yet.
The opposing currents are the ones within myself.
Often causing a downward spiral.
Ain’t that the effing truth. It is so easy to get caught up in the whirlpools that my mind concocts. All’s I have to do is flow near the outskirts of insanity and the whirlpool sucks me in. First just a piece of me is consumed, then little by little all sense of logic and rationality has gone out the door, and I am drowning in pure madness. A part of me loves it. I know it well. These dark corners, where hiding out used to mean being in control and knowing it all feel eerily safe.
In the past I would get sucked into a whirlpool and stay there, sometimes for days, sometimes for weeks. Another part of me loathes it, because now I know there is a different way to thrive in life.
Today with the help of the Fellowship and my mentors I have the tools needed to surf the currents of life and flow by unscathed, not harming myself or others mentally or emotionally with my mental blackouts and relapses.
There are several tools I have learned to get back to a place of balance and ultimately to get back to myself.
The first is examining your emotions and sitting with them, really allowing yourself to feel, honoring these parts of yourself.
I am an expert at this.
I know rage tastes like cold, hard metal. Depression feels like a hot, heavy blanket. My disappointment from unrealistic expectations feels like the room is closing in on me, and that nothing, including myself will ever be good enough. Anxiety feels like I am being strangled, unable to breath or focus, like a thousand tiny birds flipping and flapping in my brain and in every cell and fiber of my being.
Having an awareness creates the space for acceptance and then action to promote balance and healing.
Learning how I feel and what my emotions are connected to started a dialogue with myself about how I was hurting inside and how I could find freedom from the past in the present. I had to get sober before I could get this real.
For me it’s as if people have been asking“Hey, how you doin?”and my entire life I responded“fine”, never really bothering to admit there might be a little or a lot more going on with me.
Today I am much more thoughtful and intentional with my words and in my relationships. Whirlpools present themselves and sometimes I do get sucked in, but now I have tools and the spin cycle is exponentially less severe than it ever was in my drinking and using days.
The real beauty of this experience for me is that the whirlpools, the big events or even the tiny slip ups all seem to be for my own growth in sobriety and as a human. The experiences are less violent to my psyche. Today I know that the water will always ebb and flow, and that my higher power is guiding me through in and around whatever storm arises.
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