This morning, lying on the ground after an arm and ab workout, performing the twenty-minutes of breathing exercises that I have decided help keep me sane, I notice that I cannot stop thinking about reality TV.
Last week, my doctor informed me that I have an overactive bladder and, unless I want to be in diapers when I’m 45 years old, I need to stop drinking alcohol caffeine.
I think, “Oh NO.”
I have been in a steady cycle of “drink coffee from 5 AM-5 PM, alcohol from 5 PM-9 PM, wake up, repeat” for the entire pandemic.
I know what will happen when I quit.
It’s going to be a variation on 2008: Three weeks spent puking, shitting myself and trembling non-stop while dragging my throbbing body from point A to point B, most often on the floor, sweating, all because of a speed addiction.
Quitting speed was one the most physically traumatic events of my life. I remember it well.
The part that I rarely give myself credit for was the mental trauma, the leap from “I AM AMAZING” to “I am a cigarette butt made of dog shit buried in dead bugs”, the swan-dive from dependency to completely-on-my-own-and-vunerable.
I hated myself, instantly.
The pattern repeats in 2016: I quit smoking and end up on a diet of apple juice for a week because I am terrified of losing control.
After speed, after smoking, I have to undergo social re-training, teaching myself that it’s ok not to leave a party every five minutes.
Factor in 2020: I quit sugar and I realize that recovering also means emotional-re-training.
The problem seems to be that I cannot consume any of these substances without completely obsessing over them.
I am not what I am addicted to. I know that.
But, life so much faster when I let addiction become me?
I know it’s coming.
Leaving caffeine and alcohol will keep me in a self-hating thought nightmare for weeks.
But, I really don’t want to be in diapers in ten years.
Last week, I give up my two remaining vices, which I have convinced myself are just fine even though I know that the caffeine/alcohol cycle majorly influences my mood and my self-esteem, instigating embarrassing rage episodes and days where I completely give up on living at 11 AM.
The first two days are met with panic attacks and one tantrum.
I feel bad about myself. I start to hear nagging thoughts about my perceived inadequacies, I can’t hide in booze or coffee or tea or chocolate or ANYTHING EVER AGAIN. So? I start to scream.
My boyfriend is at work, my dog is hiding under the dining table and I am screaming “F* F* F* F* F* F*”. There is a bed in the room and it is torn apart. There once was a stack of papers. Well, guess where they are now?
I get through it by sitting still because there was simply nothing else to do.
By the end of the week, I adopt a morning exercise routine that I’ve decided WAKES me up.
It ends with breathing exercises on the ground.
I lie there, thinking, watching my thinking.
It’s all so stale.
Why do I care so much about these thoughts when so many of them are old and useless?
I am lying on the ground thinking about reality TV.
Reality TV might be my one remaining vice.
In the past week, struck with exhaustion, I lie in bed, practicing my photoshop skills and watching reality TV.
Every night, I fall asleep to the sound of a stranger’s confessional.
The insecurities of strangers haunt my dreams. Commonly, “I can’t believe I am married to someone who can’t accept me for me,” or “All I want is a fresh star,” or “I’m so grateful that Gordon Ramsey yelled at me for an entire season of some show about stressful cooking scenarios because now I’m a better person.”
This morning, lying on the ground, I notice that I keep thinking about these people.
The addiction to fake reality is working.
I don’t see my negative thoughts anymore. I see some of my own anxieties and then the anxieties of fake people from fake reality.
The brain is clinging to distractions.
Numb junk plasters over insecurities and anxieties, it also blurs our creative thinking, our positive thinking, our motivating thoughts, our loving thoughts.
Our minds are clingy. Obsession has a pulse.
It has always been tempting for me to find an escape especially when I have grown to believe that I do not belong, that my thoughts do not belong, that I need to find a way to be appropriate.
Letting go of the junk that keeps us safe feels backwards.
What will I do with all my thoughts?
The answer is nothing.
Fill your head with new brilliance. Inspire yourself to grow into someone who gives back a new perspective.
If you’re like me, you’re a negative thought junkie.
We’re addicted to negative thinking because it helps us understand the torture that other people have inflicted upon us.
As if, if we can remind ourselves how horrible we are, we can make sense our victimhood and we can give ourselves permission to continue on the path of The Victim.
You know, victims can heal too. You know that right?
Every victim deserves a solid end to their search for reassurance and love.
It ends with you lying on the floor, breathing and smiling, remembering the insane fake reality that exists for the sake of The Victims.
Our anthem is: deep breath, sigh, deep breath, sigh.
Today: Stop a dependency.
You will find love for yourself when you recover.