What do you do when The Voices tell you to give in and up? The answer is insultingly simple.
Think of something else.
i heard in the rooms that our brains are capable of only having one thought at a time. If that thought is one you don’t want, to change your mind you only need to change your thought.
Those of us in Alcoholics Anonymous like to use the Serenity Prayer for this, and we have no exclusivity on it by any means. You could try the Buddhist “Om” or even the lyrics to your favorite song (Bob Marley works well). Mentally repeat this mantra for a couple of minutes and soon your train of thought will be sidetracked and back on the right track.
Alcoholism is a disease of forgetting. When i drank, i drank to forget. To forget what i’d done, what i hadn’t done, what was being done to me and what would never be done to me ever.
Now the problem is trying not to forget anymore. It’s like having the keys to success and not remembering where i put them.
i have learned so much in recovery that sometimes i have difficulty recalling the right lesson at the right time. That’s what AA meetings are for and why they’re so important.
Case in point…
Lately, i’ve been in a dispute with my downstairs neighbo. Conflict situations make me physically ill, literally, but i know that rather than hide from the problem as i would’ve in the past, i have to face it head on. Which was giving me anxiety attacks.
Repeating the Serenity Prayer (“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things i cannot change, the courage to change the things i can, and the wisdom to know the difference”) over and over like a mantra helped me rationalize the situation but didn’t do anything to appease my irrational side. Part of me still wanted to panic whenever i, like stepping on a piece of glass hiding in the summer grass barefoot, accidentally remembered the problem.
So i went to a meeting where the theme that developed out of people’s shares was giving it up to God.
i’d completely forgotten! It’s not my problem, it’s God’s problem! Because i’ve taken all the steps i can to resolve the situation, it’s out of my hands and in the hands of my Higher Power. So now, whenever i start to dwell on this dispute, i remember i’m not driving, just along for the ride. Remembering that nugget makes it possible for me to forget the problem…in a good way!