Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Law of Attraction - Al-Anon & AA: Part 2

The Law of Attraction - How We Can Use it in AA or Al-Anon or in Recovery
The Law of Attraction is a powerful concept. It is not a new one, as it has been spoken and written about for hundreds of years. Now, with the advent of modern psychology, the Law of Attraction is not about "magic" - but it is about how your brain functions, and how you draw into your life, things, people and events similar to your dominate beliefs.

I believe the following can be of huge benefit to people in recovery. Whether the people are in Al-Anon people or AA people or people in a different recovery program. It is an important topic, one in which I feel strongly.

I have noticed in my confusion of being in the swirl of an alcoholic environment, that I have forgotten this important concept of how the world works and have not been applying it. Or if I have, I was applying it to give me the opposite of what I desired. This is a follow-on to Friday's post (click here to link to view it).

The Primary Function of the Subconscious
The subconscious mind contains all of our past experiences and beliefs. It functions are a computer program would, except faster and trillions more calculations. Because of past programming, the subconscious acts a system of "checks and balances." It forms a "filter" or a "lens" through which we see the world.

An example might be how two different people from opposite ends of the world see things from a totally different point of view. It is why a lawyer will see an event differently than a salesperson. Both could be looking at the same "thing" and come from different perspectives to provide different viewpoints.

Our Subconscious
The subconscious helps form our self-image. Our self-image determines how I think and act. I act how I believe is appropriate for me. The self-image is made up of our beliefs. Our beliefs make up this filter through which we see the world through the conscious mind. The conscious mind allows "in" information in certain chunks, typically chunks that is familiar to what we already believe. This filter acts like a governor on the car. It regulates the data coming in and keeps us from getting information overload. It keeps us from going insane, or becoming the Dustin Hoffman character in Rainman (i.e. being able to count holes in the tiled ceiling in one glance).

The conscious and subconscious help reinforce our current self-image.

Creating a New Self-Image (if we want to!)
Because our habits or past conditioning act as a filter, we must try to discern whether these habit and past conditioning (programming) actually are working for us or against us. Are the things we learned as children actually still useful in the situation we are in?

One of our primary responsibilities is to evaluate our conditioned responses to see if they are helping our hurting us. Often they are keeping us stuck in an old computer program loop. We do the same thing our parents did, and their parents did. This "program" in the form of behavior is handed down through the generations. It forms the basis from which we operate - specifically; how we respond and react.

It also determines what we feel worthy of. With this we are back to the self-image. For example, if you go to a restaurant, you may be inclined to have something far cheaper on the menu, because, the most expensive item is, well, the most expensive item, and we shoudn't have the most expensive item. Whereas someone else, will go straight for the most expensive item. And another person will order what they want.

Do you understand this? Does this make sense?

It's Not About Right or Wrong. It Is About Thinking About Thinking
An important point here, is any one of the three choices above is not necessarily right or wrong, or worse or better than the other two choices. But it is important to notice what we do and how we feel about the choices.

This same programming may keep you stuck in a relationship, because; "this is what I am worthy of." It may keep you stuck in a job at work, because; "this higher paying job is for 'other' people."

This is not necessarily positive thinking. It is just "thinking about thinking." It is the ability to analyze your own thoughts which govern how to feel and act. And help you determine which ones support you in where you want to go and which ones support you in keeping you in place.

What We Could Do
To have a better life, to become all we can and ought to become, we could begin evaluating our conditioned responses and thought patterns. We could become, "more conscious" of our unconscious thoughts.

We could begin to look at how we feel toward something. Does it make us anxious? Does an event or circumstance conjure up a feeling of insecurity? Of loss? Anger? Righteousness?

Acting or becoming positive is not necessarily the right thing to do, because the old computer program will pop back into the computer and replay itself automatically, when we are off guard. What we could do is to identify the behavior(s) or thought pattern(s) that is not working for us. And deliberately identify them by writing it down and write out a new behavior of how we will respond and react and feel from now on.

When doing this, we need to really decide where we want to go in life. It could be with our relationships or finances or at work or with physical exercise or any other area in our lives that is not what we want them to be. What direction do we want to take our lives and what example do we want to set as a person? What area is not working for me and what beliefs are keeping me stuck in this self-image of what I think I deserve?

Once we begin to see the power in thinking about our thinking, and thinking about our self-image, we can begin looking at our beliefs and habits and see if they fit what we want to become and do and have. Then we can rewrite new behaviors and habits of thought to guide us to where we want to go and help us move in the direction we want to go.

PS - I used this method a long time ago. It worked. I am reapplying it now. It may not work perfectly since I am in an uncontrolled or chaotic environment, but it sure feels good to know that I do not have to be subjected to the whims and fancies of others when I recall and commit to understanding the power behind this important concept.

PPS - I am traveling this week. It may be difficult to post a follow up to this topic. But I hope to show some tools to allow reprogramming the subconscious and our self-image in an upcoming post.


Syd said...

The old computer program will replay the past over and over and will cause the character defects that we hang onto for dear life to continue. Unless I become aware of them and from awareness decide to adopt a different way of thinking. I think that Step Six the way I worked it helped me to become aware. I put down all my defects on paper, cut out each individually and put them in my God box. Each day I drew out a different character defect and worked on it. It made me become more aware of them.

Anonymous said...

I have come to this conclusion:

Nothing changes unless I get out of my pity party, dust myself off, and start walking the talk.

Awareness - Find my defects.

Decision - To change it.

Action - See the end result, and start running towards it.

Peace This Wed.


Catherine said...

I find it so interesting and cool how something that's been on my mind comes up in program discussions.

Thanks for your post, Joe. I agree that it does work to change one's thinking. Years back I changed mine. I am going to be a fighter, I decided. I'm going to be confident and tough and fearless. Well, it did work, and I am definitely all of those things and it benefitted me in many ways.

But now I find myself up against something that cannot be fought, and I'm exhausting myself with effort. I keep reaching for those old tactics: strategize, stay ahead in my thinking, create a plan and don't give up. They get me nowhere.

Syd & KevB, thanks for your wisdom on this subject. Maybe someday I'll learn to surrender.

Thom Rutledge said...

One thing I love about the program is its emphasis on our accepting full responsibility for ourselves. We are served by explanation (how we got into the mess we find ourselves in), but never by excuses. For the past several months, I have been focusing some attention on reaching out to people who have been duped by Rhonda Byrne & Company's dvd/book project, The Secret. What is presented as an approach emphasizing personal responsibility is anything but that. If any of you have time, I'd love for you to take a look at a web site I created for the specific purpose of responding to what I believe is dangerous, even poisonous, about The Secret. The site is: www.thesecretantidote.com. Thanks. Thom Rutledge

Sarah said...

I'm wow-ed by this article. You do include interesting facts about the subconscious mind and how it works. Hmm, do check out http://www.subconscious-mind.org, they have a whole host of interesting and helpful articles. Also,maybe you can use some tips here.

Joe said...

Catherine - going to "toe to toe" with alcoholism is impossible. You cannot win a frontal assalt. It will win and beat you every single time.

Do a sneak attack. Follow the Al-Anon principles. I used to fight it by arguing and trying to control it. It - the alcoholism - will outthink you because it is trying to protect itself from being "found out" and eliminated. It is as if your qualifier is possessed. You are dealing with two different people - because how the brain has been rewired

Joe said...

To All - this Law of Attraction has been written about for years. The best place and best book (I know I say it over and over and over) is Dr Robert Anthony's Beyond Positive Thinking. The entire book is about repsonsibility and how you bring into your life what you think about and dwell upon - not due to magic, but by what your brain filters out and allows in through your eyesight primarily and then hearing and the other senses.

It's only "weird" because we are not aware of how the brain works.


Anonymous said...

Cool! See this... Attraction video