All I want for

Writing for ½ an hour. I can do that.

Who wants to read the ramblings of a stranger?

Ok, maybe I do. Depending on what they’re talking about.

Loneliness. Isolation. Individualism. Collectivism. Our current dystopian world. Hope?

The body.

Existentialism.

Entertainment Addiction.

Attention Disorder.

What am I?

What are we?

Codes of DNA encased in a flesh shell. All that DNA wants to do is survive and replicate.

Is that all we are?

I am a recovering theist atheist. So for those of you hoping to find solidarity in faith or the beyond will not find it here.

You will find someone who struggles with:

loneliness and isolation

being overwhelmed by politics, wanting to do something, thinking if we got together things would change, feeling like it’s all hopeless

trying to adapt with a mind brought up to think in black and white, positivity, afterlife, everything has a reason that clashes with how things really are

still thinks there’s hope and it’s worth fighting for

Existentialism feels more real to me every day.

But E is nothing more than socially programmed humans who have a surplus of time living isolated, individualistic lives:

What do I do with my free time?

The culture of individualism is a culture of isolation / living alone – which leads to stress – which leads to addictions of all kinds – which leads to more isolation and feelings of powerlessness – and this cycle is how we’re pushed more and more out of power / how more and more voting rights are demolished.

One merger after another. We’re definitely heading towards the BnL Wall-E future. Maybe we’re in it already.

How do we escape?

Is it through intentional communities and cohousing? Is that the crux of all this? Shifting the culture of individualism aka isolationism to ‘cohousing-ism’?

The very thought of sharing my personal space with others makes me want to crawl into a hole.

“I’d go crazy” I think.

But I’m going crazy now.

That’s why I’m sitting on the floor of a darkened room with the glow of a computer screen as the only form of illumination. This urge to EXPRESS…this urge to express ME… to cry out…. am I… REALLY alone as I feel?

Seeing words materialize on a blank white canvass feels…comforting. So the very act of typing feels nice. I’m able to shape and create SOMETHING.

So why publish it then?

I am lonely and so are you.

I…. want it to stop and so do you.

I think.

The world as it could be. The world as it could be.

I was born into an environment that shaped me into an idealist.

Phenomenon after phenomenon.

Is there ‘a god’. Are we here for a conscious purpose?

While I ask these questions, I could be helping someone fleeing a country or someone who is starving. But I have the privilege of existentiality. The horror of the mind and the modern age of surplus time and isolation.

Existentiality is beautiful, but not at the price of inaction.

I know I am grossly misusing the term in a strict, academic philosophical sense.

“Existence precedes essence”

But as I lay on my death bed in 5, 10, 20, 50 years from now – at least I did SOMETHING.

I felt lonely. I moved my fingers. I pushed a button. And other people can see it. Hey, I feel that way, too.

Pointless. Hopeful. Maybe it’s a way out of my crippling escapist behaviors. It’s definitely an EB in itself. But at least it’s better time spent then watching another half hour of pornography or the next show on Netflix. It’s better than just being in a reverie of thought-mulling, a trance of rumination, where thirty minutes has passed and I’ve just been sitting on my bed, half aware of what I’m thinking and half not.

I struggle with this process of sticking my neck out. Of now being open to criticism.

You’re a fucking dumbass.

You’re a shitty writer.

Go kill yourself.

How EMBARRASSING. I feel so goddamn embarrassed for you, you fucking loser. You fucking piece of shit loser. Jesus fucking Christ you are a lost cause. You’ve wasted your life and now this? And now this?

Why in the absolute fuck are you putting yourself through more pain?

The pain of exposure.

The shifting judging eyes.

The flying thoughts of judgment like thousands of tiny daggers. The frown. The squint. The click. The turn. The forgetting.

Am I just attention crazed?

Yes. Yes I am. I am in desperate need of attention and that’s why I’m writing and posting on the internet because I have no friends.

(Well, I do have friends, but… I crave community. I crave community. And I crave a life worth living. I crave meaningful work. I crave doing something instead of caving into paralysis in the face of a dystopian society.) Boy, we’ve been fucking dystopian for a LONG ass time. Where the fuck have you been?

Grandpa, what did you do with your life?

Well imaginary grandchild, not fucking much. I did however, once or twice, be in just the right mood to right an existential, rambling blog post.

What I want: a variety of intentional communities (rural to urban) that shifts culture from individualism and isolation and addiction to healthy minded, diverse, and connected individuals who are aware of and participate in the political process, decentralizing power and resources, to create a stable, sustainable union with the planet and each other.

I want to love myself and have the courage to say what I want in front of others, and face the fear of criticism and backlash. I want to believe in myself. I want to believe in the goodness of humanity. I want to believe in hope and give hope a try.

That’s all I want.

An evening of coping with anxiety, despair, and depression

Phase 1 – Denial. Rushing around. Doing things. Doing your job. Going on a run.

Phase 2 – Shit hits the fan with no escape. God no this is real. This is happening. No, no, no, no. Not this. A thousand nos. Sitting on your floor with racing thoughts. Could I turn to this person? This person? That person? Him? Her? Them? No…no…no…no. Alone. I am alone and I … this is all fucked up. I’m fucked up.

Phase 3 – Brief wonder about what my preferred method would be.

Phase 4 – In the shitstorm of despair that is my mind, there are flashes of the ideal group of friends. Flashes of the ideal mentor. Flashes of being loved by my own self. A smile. A denial. At first I feel completely disconnected to it. I am just observing, pushing away, and then seeing the flash again.

Phase 5 – Flashes / Imagining of the ideal become longer. Maybe there are glimmers of feeling in the body. This is the turning point. The internal screams become softer.

Phase 6 – Feel my body again. Feel my aloneness. But I am surviving. Despite my situation, my body doesn’t care – it wants food. I am alone, but I can take care of myself. [Pause for a moment to see my privileges – I have shelter, food, access to a shower, able-bodied. The crises are all internal. No less agonizing, but it could be much worse.]. Get up and take a shower.

Phase 7 – Amidst fits of crying, ups and downs, then sitting on the floor of the bathtub as water spills over me, looking up at the spout, feeling the moment. The warmth. The water. My body. A breath. All these sensations. I am alone, but I am not dead, and I am in company with sensation and breath.

Phase 8 – New ideas. Introspection. A kind of calm. The anxiety, fear, and pain are still there, but they are now shadows. I see the reflection of their eyes, and maybe a silhouette or two, as they wait in the darkness at the edge of the light of the fire. What is the fire? Is it hope?

Do animals have hope? Is that how they fight against depression? Are animals existential? Rhetorical questions?

A message to anyone reading this struggling with despair / loneliness: I am sorry. I am so sorry. It fucking sucks. It feels like the worst thing in the world. I wish I could take your pain away. Things that have / are helping me:

  • Therapy (this develops the ability to comfort, see, accept, and understand yourself when you are alone. I think there comes a time when even your therapist is not able to give you the kind of seeing/understanding you need. But when you have developed critical introspection tools, there is an ability to stand beside yourself, even in really dark times.
  • Exercise (I think a lot of anxiety is partly the built-up unused and excess energy of the body due to a sedentary lifestyle. There’s also a lot of science to back up the health / mental health benefits of exercise
  • Music, shower, writing, breathing, hugging yourself – anything that creates a kind of positing stimulation to begin to anchor you to the moment
  • Imagination: visualization of the ideal of whatever you need being there right with you. Make sure it’s a need and not just a craving / want. What do you desperately need right now? What would it feel like to have that right now? Feel it.
  • Recommended music:
    • Against the Sky -Harold Budd & Brian Eno
    • Even if You’re Never Awake -Stars of the Lid

Honesty.

Courage.

Good luck friend.

Days 4-7 Recap / 170718 Tuesday – Day 8

Brief, several day recap. I begin to develop a kind of daily checklist.

Sometimes I find it difficult to concentrate and remember: ok, what is this blog about again? I want it to be so many things.

I find that, occasionally (maybe even often) writing in this stream-of-conscious way tends to stir up my inner anxiety/despair/self-criticism. Why is that?

I want this to be some kind of record (for science??) about documenting the attempt of a 30-something white male to end an addiction to pornography, video entertainment, procrastination, excuses, avoidance, and a child/follower bear-no-responsibility mind-set over the course of a year.

But, a key step of recovery, I think, is replacing those activities with something that’s positive and something that develops and manifests the core of who I am, so wouldn’t this blog also need to include what I am doing, and not just what I have avoided doing?

Because, I’d like to think I am not just my addiction, even though whenever I think about who I am, that’s often what I think about.

We are a mix of desirable and undesirable qualities, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Sure, if I could press a button and be perfect, I’m not sure what would stop me from pressing it. But what does that even mean, and is it even categorically possibly? What is ‘perfection’? And if I never made mistakes, I would lose something quintessential to myself. Would I even be able to recognize myself? Would I actually be conscious? Or just some kind of automaton? Is a fundamental part about being human the process of holding space for your imperfection and fallibility? The understanding that at this very moment, because of my lack of knowledge of the future and all options, I am on course to my next mistake, my next thousand mistakes, and eventually, my death.

I think I am going to develop a kind of checklist. I’m not sure if I will complete it daily, or if I will do a kind of review at the end of each week.

Work in progress:

CHECKLIST

  • Pornography? Yes, 1x, yesterday (Sun)
  • Video games? No
  • YouTube? Yes, in the presence of my partner.
  • Unstructured news browsing? Yes
  • Unstructured general browsing? Yes
  • TV/Movies? Yes, but with another human being
  • Maintaining clean apt? No
  • Sleep for at least 7 hour? No
  • Career/Passion work?
  • Misc/daily chore/task work?
  • Eating well?
  • Exercise?
  • Physical affection? (Hugs, cuddling, sex)
  • Feeling the inner parent?
  • Social interaction?
  • Introspection?

Frustrated by/ Needs work:

Grateful for:

I can feel how this blog can become an avoidance mechanism (and it has been that occasionally). I still am figuring out how to establish a balance.

One of my biggest challenges is simply maintaining some sort of basic schedule and plan for the day. 98% of my life has been becoming absorbed by some activity until an external force pulls me out of it.

170714 Friday – Day 4

Even with small success, I remind myself I have a problem, and explore what this blog is about. A stream-of-conscious prompt at the end.

Sleep: <7 hours

I am feeling a classic pattern of:

“Whoa! I’m free! Psh, I’m not an addict, I’m fine! This is easy. Wow, I wonder what it must be like to not have control.”

When can I say, “I’m no longer an addict”? Definitely not after 3 days.

And is a ‘true addict’ only someone who cannot recover unless they move / are moved into some kind of controlled living environment where they are monitored constantly?

Regardless, I have a problem. A problem that, while I hasn’t wrecked total havoc on my life, it has ‘delayed’ it (at least I feel like my life’s been delayed), and has made day-to-day living a roller coaster of emotions. I don’t like thinking ‘I have a problem’. I don’t want to think there’s nothing wrong with me.

But I’m three years behind in taxes. I don’t have healthcare. I’ve deeply struggled with relationships. Having crippling anxiety. Etc, etc. Sure, some of that is structural issues with society itself (isn’t everything?), but I have to believe I’d be a little farther along if I hadn’t chosen to play at least 8-15 hours of video games every weekend or losing 1-2 hours of sleep to watch pornography almost every night for years and years. Sure, there were periods when I didn’t touch video games. There were times – not usually more than a week – where I was responsible. But these have been far and few between.

The two edge sword of this blog process for me is that, while I am processing my feelings, and while I feeling a greater sense of feeling accountable to myself, and to the people who read this, I am feeling the nagging feeling that I may begin to use writing as a way to escape my daily responsibilities. And I suddenly just realized that I am on unstructured time right now.

Ok, just created a small schedule.

As I was saying, that this process can do the opposite effect of being present with myself and with my surroundings, and instead, delve into what ifs and stir up latent anxiety.

I pause.

And hear

the silence

of where I am.

I play ‘Dark Beyond the Blue’ by Hammock on repeat.

Silence is fresh. Silence is sharp.

And it’s not that there is no sound. I hear cars. I hear others talking. I see movement. But it is all movement that is happening now. Not the rushed cavorting about that happens with avatars and distorted time frames of movies and shows.

An unbroken stream of time, real-time.

I notice I am breathing.

This person comes. That person leaves.

The clouds are moving. Can I see them move?

 

What is the end goal of all of this?

This is a blog not just about reporting back on withdrawal symptoms and how bad pornography and entertainment addiction is.

This must include the journey of facing all the feelings I am trying to get away from. Of letting Shame and Self-Hate speak, and then reminding it of my other parts. Of seeing how anxiety makes my skin crawl as though I’m covered by thousands of ants.

And it must include the journey of fostering the inner parent, which, I believe is the most important part of all.

Does all life derive from some kind of deep sense or hope of importance, attention, and love?

My inner parent doesn’t know all. But they are calm.

S(HE feels some fear and confusion too. But she is confident in my being. That, she does not second guess.

I…but…here. ah, shh, it’s ok. just take a breath, in, in, and hold, and let out. relax the shoulders. I mess up so much. I mess up so much. I mess up so much. why… why am i….looks down, ashamed. hey, hey, look at me. what do you think I think. tears. a small smile. but… so troubled. yes…but not just troubled, right? no, true. and breathe…feel it in your belly…push it out if you need to….feel it in your chest…relax that jaw, and those cheeks. and now the water works. I am an infant crying. I want to be held. but no one is there. it’s dark? I curl my fists. it’s hard to breathe. I writhe. all muscles contract. am I on a table? want to scream.

It’s about living well in the time that we have. And I have some time today. Small steps. Small moves. I bring the inner wounded along.

We are all walking wounded, as my therapist used to say. Does knowing that it make me feel better? Is it actually true?

How do we all become unwounded?

170713 Thursday – Day 3

Partner is moving (will break up). I calm myself down after having racing thoughts.

5.5-6 hours of sleep.

Am I writing for people? Am I writing for myself?

What is happening?

(I am in one of my spiraling inner panic / anxiety / self-doubt episodes right now).

My partner is moving several states away soon, and at first I thought maybe I’d move out there with them, but there’s a new opportunity for me here, and as a result, we will probably break up.

Feeling a whole mix of emotions.

Calm.

Deep breath.

Calm.

7:41 AM – There’s this kind fascinated horror that happens – there’s the ‘panicker’:

“But what about this?! And what about that?! And this?!” They’re running around, flopping down in despair. Just kind of crazy, and all the while, there’s this other part, the observer, that can only watch:

“Uhhhhhh” And the observer is kind of panicking, too: “Dunno what to do! Dunno what to do! D…”

But deep breaths.

One thing at a time. One

thing

at

a

time.

 

Calm. Deep breaths.

 

I feel the chaos.

 

And I can also feel the calming effect of deep breaths.

Both can be true.

 

This blog keeps me accountable.

This blog helps keep me accountable.

(See how I like to externalize responsibility?)

 

Now I feel like crying.

 

Relax the shoulders.

 

So…

so much tension…carried in there.

Relax the back the arms.

Hard to open the chest while typing.

But I want to relax that too.

Always crying.

Always in pain.

But always in breath, too.

Gah that was melodramatic.

Roll credits. (Self-hate)

So…

Breaths.

Breaths.

I don’t feel…Ok, a part of me doesn’t feel like this breakup will be good for me. It’s established so much stability in my life. It’s brought me a lot of joy. Have learned tons about myself and how to navigate awkward, difficult parts with someone very close to you.

“They fill me with so much joy” (i.e. I won’t have that joy when they’re gone).

“When I see them, when I am with them, I feel joy.” (This takes more agency).

What is the self? (Rising panic, and beginning philosophical ramble: where is the human race headed? does my life mean anything? what would it take to get to a society living in harmony with itself and the rest of the biosphere? nothing I do matters. it’s all hopeless. Is there an afterlife? What difference would it make?)

All of this is a way to keep myself stimulated. It’s distracting. It causes more anxiety.

What’s helpful right now?

Making a schedule for the day:

Just made my list. It’s just one thing at a time.

Embodying the parent.

Fostering the parent self.

The parent self is calm. It doesn’t necessarily know what to do, but it knows that being confidently, gently calm with deep breaths, and thinking about basic next steps just for today, are important.

Foster the parent self.

So, a lot of this is very stream-of-conscious, if you couldn’t tell already. 8:08am Lolz

170712 Wednesday – Day 2

Another sum of what this blog is, and I reveal another part of my entertainment addiction or compulsion

Gah so many thoughts!

Still formulating how I want to present what this blog is about. Right now:

  • Entertainment Addiction and Recovery, which includes healing inner wounds, inner psychology, family history and development, and so on
  • Thoughts on what could help the world (in avoiding environmental / social / nuclear catastrophe (maybe it’s a little too late for that 😦 ))
  • General thoughts

Feeling the need to clarify that this blog is not about drug addiction (although some would argue that the chemicals released by the brain when viewing video entertainment is a kind of addiction).

Also wondering about the criticism this blog may attract:

  • “Your pain/experience is less than a true drug addicts pain, so you don’t have much right writing about this.” Akin to a rich white kid complaining that he didn’t get the car he wanted from his parents.

Is that true? Should I not write about my experience because it may not be as bad as someone else’s?

And why am I worrying about potential criticism?

I am a people-pleaser, and I’ve struggled with that most of my life. I often believe I am the wrong one whenever a conflict arises (and if I do try to fight my point, I feel terribly guilty afterwards). I believe this people-pleasing, self-effacing tendency developed out my parents constantly making me feel selfish for having needs or expressing strong emotions, for my fear of abandonment, and for my desire to have a mentor/rescuer/parent-I-never-had. So when I make myself extremely agreeable, I cast the widest net for potential parents.

As I was at work this morning, I was feeling embarrassed by how much I’ve already shared in this blog, and that’s another criticism I’m wondering about:

“Wow, this guy is embarrassing himself. This is way too melodramatic. This is over-sharing. He just wants attention.” (Which then I take “his pain isn’t actually something important to talk about).

Again, I feel ashamed about talking about myself, my feelings, my experience. My experience doesn’t feel valid. And this gets into part of the reason as to why I’ve decided to start a blog:

MY FEELINGS ARE REAL

MY FEELINGS ARE VALID

MY EXPERIENCE IS VALID

THE THINGS THAT HAPPENED TO ME HAPPENED TO ME

THE THINGS THAT HAPPENED TO ME SHOULDN’T HAVE HAPPENED TO ME

NO ONE DESERVES THIS PAIN

I struggle with a deep sense that my existence is not valid or important. It’s why I’ve struggled with feelings of suicide in the past. I have felt deeply unseen by many, if not most, of the adults that were supposed to aid in my development. I’ve felt used, manipulated, overlooked, glossed over, avoided, abandoned, forgotten.

And now I’m filled with anger and rage at all those who I feel hurt me. The people who were supposed to protect me. The shitty jobs they did. The thousands of hours and days, the years that have been wasted. Where I could be. The shitty place I am now.

Ok. Ok, ok. This is not going to be a blog that’s solely focused about bashing and venting, and never about solutions, and moving to a state where I am trying to take responsibility for my actions.

BUT

Again, for me, my particular experience was that showing anger and frustration is BAD. You’re SELFISH if you make ME feel bad.

But no I don’t want to be selfish! I’m good…right? I think? So felt/thought the child.

I think a deep part of healing is going toward the pain. Part of healing IS venting. If we stay there, that’s a problem. But to gloss over it just makes it fester. We HAVE to vent. Venting is tricky because…sometimes when I keep nudging myself to vent, to be more and more honest about EVERYTHING I am feeling, I can go to dark and disturbing places. But the further I go, I always come to a place where I don’t actually wish for all the things that repressed self expressed. That self wants justice, clarity, accountability. But overall, my highest self wants healing for everyone, and for everything. And if there’s anything that is more apparent in this world, violence breeds violence. Hate breeds hate.

But there is – and MUST be – a place (a safe place) for venting, expressing, and showing the deep pain we have been bottling up all these years. (I have to be careful about using ‘we’ ‘us’ and ‘our’ language because then it begins to sound preachy. I will go back to speaking from my experience.

When I express this anger, this pain, there is another part, perhaps a part of the pain, that says, “Yes! AH, I FINALLY feel like I’m able to be SEEN. To be expressed! To feel VALID.”

See, I think what’s happening is this constant denial inside as a way to cope. I was shut down so many times that I began to deny that my pain existed. But the problem with that is it’s crazy-making. There’s a deep clash inside where the pain is obviously there, but there’s another part that is keeping it all locked up – that desperate, fearful, survive, abandonment-by-others-equals-death part feels that my own anger and pain is a threat. And rather than acknowledging it’s real, it’s easier and takes less energy – in that moment – to deny it’s existence. But that part that feels that certain way that elicits anger, rage, resentment only feels more of it. It feels bewildered. It feels crazy. And underneath all of this is a deep sadness and confusion.

So many layers.

So much I want to write about.

And, I think I’ve decided to just take the plunge and be honest about something else. (Squirm away – gah no don’t embarrass yourself further! What if this destroys my credibility or respect in the future??) Eh. We’re probably all fucked anyway. And I’m eventually going to die and I won’t give a shit about my reputation. If some alien race, or future iteration of humanity reboots the internet and finds this and giggles away to their friends, so be it!

Pornography!

I have also been addicted to pornography.

“Stop using the word ‘addicted’!” I hear someone saying. “If you’re not being being debilitated by it, then it’s not an addiction”.

Well…what do you call something you feel unable to control yourself against? That you use day after day? That occasionally interrupts sleep, definitely destroyed a part of my social life, etc, etc?

I am not a sex or sexuality basher. I am sex positive. Sex is great. Artistic representations of sex and the body is fine and welcomed.

But, I think there’s a problem when I’m unable to control my impulses.

So, this blog will also be documenting my attempt to come out of an addiction – a compulsion? – for pornography.

SO EMBARRASSING.

What if people find out about this and…and…this gets all over the news? Then, anytime I show my face, people will be like:

“Oh…oh HE’s the PORN guy.” Chuckle chuckle chuckle. What a fucking jerk-off. What a sad, pathetic loser. Haha. Let’s all laugh at the guy who’s looked at pornography.

A part of me is pleading, “Please, I beg of you – don’t share this. Why?? Everyone does it. It’s ok. Do we REALLY need to talk about it?”

If I’m starting a blog about ENTERTAINMENT ADDICTION…and it’s about myself experience…and I DON’T talk about pornography (while specifically mentioning all the other stuff…then…?

Whelp. This is me going toward my pain. Of sitting with my pain. (But you’re creating even MORE pain for yourself!!) But here are some of why I think this is pretty essential:

a) It’s kind of exhilarating to admit this big squeamish embarrassing secret (You TOUCH yourself! AND NOW EVERYONE KNOWS OMGGGAHHHHHHHHH)

b) I am deep unhappy because I keep choosing to use my free time to drown out my inner anxiety with video games, TV, movies, YouTube, news scanning, web browsing, and pornography. I hate the self-hate. I hate feeling out of control. I hate the lack of respect I have for myself. I hate the lack of faith in myself. I hate feeling unsafe with myself. Hate feeling like I’m wasting my life. Hate feeling like I have nothing to offer the world. Hate feeling like I’ve accomplished nothing. (Stop using the word ‘hate’ so much!)

c) I choose these things because they drown out – temporarily – all the voices above. I have felt that I am unable to face and deal with those voices. That letting them speak would be a greater threat than masking them. But I am trying to tell my irrational self that in the long run, this survival-mechanism is cause me more more pain. It’s doing exactly the opposite of what I’m hoping it will do. And so

d) the way out is becoming comfortable with that pain, and responding to it – i.e., saying to that self-hateful part, “Actually, I don’t hate everything about my life. I don’t hate everything about me. There are some good things.”

So, this blog is one of the tools I am using to be with that pain. To parent-myself. To soothe it. To let it out. To let it speak its mind. But to remind it, the pain, that there’s also hope. That, along with it, there could also be some other things.

You’ll see that I will continually be trying to validate to myself the writing of this blog.

That’s all for now!

Oh yeah, and I also realized yesterday that this blog can’t just be: I write until I fuck up, and then abandon it. I write regardless. Healing includes some fuck-ups. Even though I just want to be perfect and have no ‘relapses’, no mistakes, no anything.

Day 1 – 170711 Tuesday

Kind of a continuation of my first post. How my addiction began. Life background.

I apologize in advance since I will be rambling. Not a lot of crispness. I figure I will begin my post at the beginning of the day, write in it it as I can, and publish at the end of the day.

What am I addicted to?

Entertainment!!

Well, the tip of the iceberg is entertainment, but what I’m actually addicted to, I think, is the feeling I get (or to avoid the feelings that watching prevents).

How my addiction began

So here we go for the deep dive. Eye rolls, emotion violin playing aplenty ahead.

I’ve been in a kind of psychological/emotional holding pattern beginning when I was 8ish with my parents’ separation (and later divorce). I’m pretty sure I’m just an 8 year-old in an adult body. Most of my life can be characterized with a simple 3 word phrase:

Avoid and Wait

As I wait, I avoid, and as I avoid, I wait.

Waiting for what?

For my father to come back and my family to be whole again.

That 8 year old is still in shock and denial about the collapse of the traditional family. And, because of the nature of the separation, and the total lack of professional help I was given, I began a holding pattern centering around entertainment addiction:

I will watch this movie, and when it’s over, my family will be whole again. If my family is not whole again by the end, I will watch another movie.

I will go to sleep, and when I wake up, the nightmare will be over, my family will be back.

When I get back from school my father will have returned, and everything will be normal.

I will play this video game and wait until my family becomes whole again.

This is how it played out in my mind.

So, instead of feeling at ease with life, feel good about myself, thinking about my future – as normal children and future adolescents do or begin doing, my mind was occupied by this kind of continuous, nebulous, fuzzy, never-ending panic. What?? What is…why is dad…where… And with an emotionally turbulent household, my father dropping in at whim, then suddenly leaving, and repeating this several times, the only kind of stability and calm I felt was when I escaped into the world of entertainment. I became a disembodied observer. I became what I was observing, but knew it was all fundamentally unreal. In this world, time didn’t exist. I had no problems. I just observed that particular world I was in.

Of course, eventually the movie would stop, or it would be time for bed, or I’d get hungry, or something external would force me out of this world that was away from the deep and growing emotional pain and stress I was experiencing.

And because then we began a series of moves soon after (changing schools halfway through at one point), life just became this day by day, moment by moment experience. The future didn’t exist. My safe haven was entertainment. Was to become a disembodied observer with no panicked, stressed body. With no existential worries or fears. I lived vicariously through all the worlds I was watching. Sometimes I had a family. Sometimes I didn’t.

So as I waited for the chaos on the outside to settle down, I buried into movies, video games, TV, and so forth. When it was time to move again, then I’d deal with that, but I would always look forward to going back to that surreal world.

But time continued. Life continued. School continued. School ended. A personal marriage. A personal divorce. And now I’m a 30-something year old still feeling like my life hasn’t really began.

I strongly believe there’s a deep, undeveloped part of me that is still desperately hoping my father will return, my family will be whole again, and we will just pick up where we left off, hopefully with some family vacations, meals, game-nights, and so forth.

I have moved from job to job to job. Social circle to social circle. Repeating the cycle. Doing menial jobs and tasks while avoiding bigger life responsibilities, all the while hoping for a rescuer, for an external influence to come along and solve everything.

I struggle with impulse control. I have been unable to control my impulses to watch or do certain things, and, because of the resulting consequences, and the lack of achievement, this has left me experiencing shame, guilt, regret, frustration, and anxiety on a daily basis. Deeper still is a fundamental sorrow. I always feeling like crying. Or crawling into a hole, going to sleep, and never waking up again. Whenever I think about real-life responsibilities, I feel like I am suddenly coated in molasses. Difficulty concentrating. Irregular sleep, eating, and exercise (little, to no exercise).

Always waiting for me are the voices of shame, despair, and regret, ready to greet me whenever the overload of stimulation dips in intensity.

Why did I share my life story with you?

While it may not be necessary to understand how an addiction began in order to recover from it, for me, it’s helpful. Much of my life has been this dull, numbing, confusing white static – remnants from the ‘big bang’ of the long, drawn-out separation. So when I experience clarity over confusion, especially about origins of things, I think there’s a kind of catharsis.

But the retelling also helps to be able to identify triggers, and patterns.

And most importantly, I think, the more I am able to sit with my pain, and not be overcome by it (overcome meaning I turn to Netflix, YouTube, or all other manner of things to avoid it). Going over my origins helps me sit with my pain.

I am not addicted to tobacco, alcohol, heroin, or the like. I am not an expert on anything. I only know what has worked in the past for me, and I am hoping that beginning to blog, along with laying down some money, will be one of the major pushes for recovery and transformation.

Tasks, Schedule, Timeline

I think a major part in all this, in addition to welcoming and sitting with my pain, which I will get into more later, is sticking to some schedule, and knowing when I will begin AND END tasks.

Already, I didn’t really set a timer for this writing session, so I am repeating behaviors of going-until-I-drop, or going until an external stimulus pulls me out of it. So, let’s begin now. (As you’ll soon see, I have become obsessed with time-stamping everything as a way of seeing the flow of time).

It’s now 7:07pm. I want to be IN BED by 8:30. I want to go on a run. So…kind of need to leave now to go on the run. Yeah.

This is all pretty fluid and experimental.

And I really, really want this to work. 7:10pm.