I did my drive from South Home to North Home a few days ago and had a whole series of ones on the I-want-a-drink scale of 1 to 10. I had previously been appreciating simply my ability to name the ones, as that seems to be very effective at zeroing them out and not going on to twos, etc. (This is a much nicer route than getting gripped by a 7 and crashing into a pint of beer.)
But seeing this little parade of ones as I sat still with relatively little to do became informative. I had already been seeing that I could get information about what my gut/soul is pushing for by noticing what was going on in my life/body/mind when a 1 out of 10 popped up, but the parade of ones created more of a picture.
What’s the stuff? Privacy, and freedom. Or if you combine them, a closed, private mind space where I am comfortably me.
Judging from the flashbacks I’ve kept around of my childhood (make that, created, multiply-recreated over the years… isn’t memory fascinating), I absorbed, and no doubt embellished according to my own particularities, the idea that you do not have a right to your own self/space/preferences/quirkinesses/needs unless they conform in general to certain ideas of what is acceptable, and, specifically to me, involve the input or sanctioning of certain other people or types of people. For me that has meant that I invisibly/emotionally/mentally consider myself to be living in a house with porous walls and all the windows and doors open.
Otherwise known as having porous or flimsy boundaries. What this culture usually thinks that means is either interfering in other people’s business or being a people-pleaser (i.e., letting them interfere with mine, at a social level). I am neither of those things. What my porous boundaries look like is my always feeling watched. To a bizarre and comical degree at times.
It’s very subtle, but it’s powerful and debilitating at a micro level that only I can see, and I believe this is why I drank. Alcohol created for me what felt like a nice, private mental space. I usually drank alone, including at times out at a campsite far from home where I didn’t know anyone for hundreds of miles. Now that’s a wild glitch in one’s mind or sense of being with oneself!
The ridiculous irony is that alcohol produces the peaceful inner space for 17 minutes, after which is proceeds to fill that inner space with quantities of shit. (It probably doesn’t actually even produce peaceful inner space for 17 minutes, but I’m willing to give it that.)
So, from where I sit, the process of wrenching oneself away from alcohol involves embarking on a central human endeavor, that of solidifying (in a mushy, not rigid way) ones’ self and inner space, decorating what Michael Singer reminds us is “a single occupancy apartment,” exactly how we want it. And living there open to whatever comes up, from within or the outside world.
My series of 1s-on-a-scale-of-10s showed little snapshots of what my deep self wants that apartment to look like. Nice for Wolfie to be a tool sometimes rather than just a tormentor…
Happy Sunday! Carry on. Thanks for reading.