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“Addiction” is my second name.
I have been clean and sober from Chardonnay, cocaine, and pharmaceuticals since 2002. I am currently trying to lick my addictions to Diet Coke and shopping. Just this morning I bought a lovely Lancôme jade fever eyeshadow.
The current pandemic has plopped so many of us in our homes for much more time than normal. I’ve learned from my therapist and life coach (yes, I have both) that my most recent addictions are likely present to compensate for what isn’t available right now. I’ve also been told that my addictions are most likely linked to my poor self-esteem.
Trying to connect the dots requires a fair bit of soul-searching. In fact, I think the pandemic is actually fueling a blossoming addiction to self-help.
So, how do I try to help myself? Let me count the 12 ways:
1. Somatic therapy on Zoom
My therapist’s name is Sarah. Right now, she has me making a list of when I feel worthy. So far, I’ve come up with this: I have been able to set boundaries with my adult daughters. Pretty pitiful list, eh?
2. Life coaching on Zoom
During my last session, my life coach, Kim, connected me to my inner child so we could have a talk. We discovered shame, meekness, not feeling recognized or seen, and insecurity. Reminded me of when I did my first step four—way back in 2002. I discovered that the root of all my character defects was insecurity. Here we are, some 18 years later, and it’s still here. Better do some self-discovery. Hey now, there’s an idea.
3. The YouTube video, “Facing Pandemic Fears with an Awake Heart”
Kim recommended renowned mindfulness practitioner Dr. Tara Brach’s YouTube video. She is best known for explaining the RAIN concept, but the video is 61 minutes and 12 seconds long. I just don’t do hour-long videos. I did fast forward to the 42-minute mark and discovered this gem (every little bit of growth helps, right?):
“And sense that your awake heart can offer what’s needed in a very direct and intimate and immediate way just washing through and bathing that vulnerable place with some quality of tender presence.” ~ Dr. Tara Brach
4. Russell Brand
Here are Russell Brand’s versions of the first two steps:
>> Step One: Are you a bit f*cked?
>> Step Two: Could you not be f*cked?
He’s so f*cking cool!
5. The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook: A Proven Way to Accept Yourself, Build Inner Strength, and Thrive
This workbook by Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer has been pretty helpful. Here’s a no bullsh*t question from the book:
“Self-Esteem Working for You? How do you feel when you receive feedback that your performance is average in an area that you care about (e.g., work, parenting, friendship, romance)?”
My answer? Really sh*tty. But then it gets followed up with this gem:
“When we notice that our need for high self-esteem is causing problems for us, it’s time to practice a new way of relating to ourselves—with self-compassion.”
I discovered a few favorites on a good list of 50.
>> “I have great ideas and make great contributions.”
>> “Every challenge I face is an opportunity to grow and improve.”
>> “I am the architect of my own life; I build its foundation and choose its contents.”
>> “My potential to succeed is limitless.”
>> “Today, I abandon my old habits and take up new, more positive ones.”
7. Sarah Blondin meditations
5 a.m. every day, I’m right there with Sarah.
She is a genius! I have been taking her “Coming Home to Yourself” meditation course. I get up early, go to my basement office, light a fire and a lavender candle, and listen to Sarah’s sedating voice:
“The attention you’re bringing into your internal world is akin to sunlight beaming over fertile earth. Things will begin sprouting from the innermost part of you from ground once cracked from drought. If at first you feel uncomfortable with this rumbling of growth know you are but wrestling with the unfamiliar.” ~ Sarah Blondin
It is powerful and I have grown possessive of my morning time with Sarah. I even choose it over cuddle time with my significant other, much to his chagrin.
8. Yoga. Every damn day.
5 p.m. every night, I watch “Ease Into It Yoga: 30 Days of Yoga With Adriene” on YouTube.
9. Self-help books
I have to say these two books have not resonated with me yet. Mind you, with all my 12 steps of self-discovery it could be that I have not come around to reading more than—fine, okay!—maybe just their covers. But I’ve been told they’re good:
10. Zoom sobriety support meetings
Laura McKowen’s is the best, if you were about to go looking.
11. Zoom sharing circles
“She Recovers.” You’ll thank me.
12. Readings from books
I especially like John O’Donohue’s To Bless the Space Between Us. Here’s a quote from the poem, “For Light”:
“When we look into the heart,
May our eyes have the kindness
And reverence of candlelight.” ~ John O’Donohue, “For Light”
In conclusion, I’m still a major work in progress. But then, aren’t we all?
What’s keeping you safe from your addictions these days?