Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Do I Think? Or Is It Just Happening To Me?

Do I think? Or does thinking just happen?

We all have a little voice going on in our head. Sometimes the little voice runs rampant, depending on the circumstances. Many of us allow the little voice to run around shouting words of fear, anger, worry, pain, and the like. It runs around as naturally as blood circulates in our veins. "It just happens."

In Al-Anon, I have learned that much of the program is "quieting" that little voice or controlling the voice and thought patterns. I hate the word control word now, but I really think the word is a great word in reality, but we can "CONTROL" the voice in our heads.

Obviously, "control" has negative connotations - because we are called "control freaks" and "controlling." I want to say this, about that . . .

Control is a natural outgrowth and coping tool in the chaotic environment we live in, with active alcoholism or inactive. So, first don't allow yourself to feel guilty about this. It is okay to have been controlling. Unfortunately, it slipped into other areas of our lives, and it slipped into areas where we really have no control over. In Al-Anon we learn to recognize this and we learn that it frustrates our relationships, dampens growth in others, and we learn it actually hurts us. It gives us a false sense of self. But . . .

We can control the voice in our head. And we should try!!

Our mind is conditioned by the past. our past is how we were brought up; religion, political party, our thoughts and beliefs about money, sex, people, race, where to live, how to live, cars to buy, clothes to where, hair cut to get, food to eat, food to cook, places to eat, and so on. Can you see and think back to where we got the silliest of ideas and notions?

The Toilet Paper Example (I have your attention don't I?)
These thoughts and previous programming comes even right down to which side of to the toilet paper we hang on the bathroom wall? You know, with the end or beginning of the roll facing toward the wall or away from the wall. Would you believe that I an away from the wall hanger of toilet paper, whereas my qualifier is an in/toward the wall hanger and we EVEN had a discussion that I should hang it her way! AND to tell you the truth I DID! Because it was SO important to her! I laugh now. But, think about our crazy habits and conditioning. We all have them!

So, because our mind is conditioned and conditioned means "habit" to a large degree, we tend to reenact the past again and again. EVEN when we know the desired effects are not possible and the typical effects of the past behavior and thoughts are or can be disastrous! So why not learn to control your mind (or your thoughts)? The term of reenacting the past is called "karma." You know it from Eastern religion/ or philosophy.

Identification With The Voice
We are identifying with the "voice." And often the "voice" is someone we have learned or know to dislike! For example: the voice may be one of our parents. What they said to us when we were small. We now know it is wrong. But we have replayed their "voice" and their "words" in our head for so long that the words are automatic and!!!! - devastating. It can be a voice from a past boss we didn't like. Or a past "friend" who "evaluated" us, and although we knew it (whatever they said, to be untrue, we learned to replay the words over and over again, until we started acting it out. Here are some ideas that might be floating around in your head:

1. You never finish anything you do.
2. You can't cook.
3. Look what you've made me do!
4. How come you can't do anything right?
5. Why are you always late?
6. You're not the brightest bulb in the drawer.
7. How come John can do this and you can't?
8. You're just not good at math.
9. You can't sing (play sports, play an instrument, etc)
10. You're too old (too young, too . . .)

Get it?

But this voice, and these words, are NOT you! You have allowed them to BECOME you! You have allowed the voice to program you thoughts and control your thoughts and control your interactions with others! These are crazy voices - words that are UNTRUE. But because you BELIEVED them to be true, the words fit the patterns and you behaved in a manner fitting these words, and actions and interactions reinforced these words and made them believable, or more believable.

Does this make sense? Does this describe anyone you know?

Positive Affirmations
Would you like to change these patterns? Once you know this - "the past = the future" - you can change by interrupting the mind, and the words, and replace the old words with new words. You can do this by rearranging the words above - and AFFIRM the new positive behavior or thought;

1. I complete the projects and the things that are important to ME.
2. I can cook. I cook great meals.
3. I don't make anyone do anything. People do things on their on accord.

You get the idea? Positive affirmations are excellent.

Going to Al-Anon meetings and discussing the voices and words in our head enlightens us and reminds us that we are not the past. We are not the voice we hear. We can become, positive, more fully functioning human beings.

I hope you see and sense that we have extraordinary possibilities.

I am going to leave this post up a few days, as I think this is key to our recovery.


Anonymous said...

Good Morning All,

The voice inside my head....

So conditioned at times in regards to affecting the things I do, things I say, and the reactions to both. I find that many times the voice is actually what I think others think, and say about me, and how my perception of that is, right, wrong, or just plain skewed.

I work this morning on what it takes to re-inforce me, how I feel about myself, how I see myself in the mirror, my talents, and yes my short-comings. I can no longer wake up every morning assuming I need to be someone I am not, just because it is what I think I need to be for someone else, my job, or my friends.

I seek peace in my heart, compassion, desire to excel, and when I look in the mirror I like what I see, from the INSIDE OUT!

Peace this Tuesday.


Anonymous said...

I'm SOoo excited!

Probably most of you out there go to Al-anon meetings - I can't because my funny little island hasn't got any organised so YOU have been my only link to sanity, but now I have another. Amazon has just deposited "How Al-anon Works" on my door step.

You have all helped me to start to understand, so THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart.


Catherine said...

It's true I'm not a great cook; that's why I use a calculator!! (OK, probably only I thought that was funny.)

Sue, I wonder if the World Services organization can help with your geographical isolation; they are committed to helping people find meetings, even remotely.

My qualifier nearly had me convinced that I have an out of control temper, and it's really a wonderful strategy on his part. I nearly bought it because I do get angry at him.

Anyway, I've just decided to ignore him on this point. I can decide for myself about my personality and leave him to his perceptions.

I've noticed a lot of that thinking can come from family, from childhood: every member of the family has their labels and their roles. The Martyer, the Artist, the Drunk, the Baby, etc. "You're so much like your father," became a very loaded statement in my family because it was often attached to his negative traits and the low self-esteem he displayed.

I've left a lot of that stuff behind but am still a member of the family, so the perceptions persist. As with the qualifier, there's no reason for me to exert myself trying to change the opinions of others.

Uh-oh. Gotta run!

Serenity girl said...

I had never thought of this but it is true.
I am going to make a point of listening to the voice in my head and trying to analyze it.
I wonder what I will find out..negativity..whose voice is it??

I'll have to wait and see.

Syd said...

My sponsor told me to write affirmations when I started Al-Anon. I now tell my sponsees to do that, along with a gratitude list. We are who we think we are--if we think negatively, then that's what we become. I can choose to be happy and think positively or I can choose to be sad and think negatively. It's really up to me.

Alicia said...

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Standing back and seeing what I am today, as a capable adult not a child or as my qualifier sees me through his beer goggles/hangover, and over the past two weeks I've tried new actions on for size. This was all going well,keeping that voice quiet or at least scolding it and thinking something more positive and realistic. Today though, I feel so exhausted and pessimistic. Is it because I haven't been true to myself so long that I'm not used to it? Or is it fighting the voice everyday? Does it get easier? I'm new to al anon, went to my first meeting last week, but already it feels better just to know there is someone to talk to that can relate. Thanks!

Catherine said...

Hi, Alicia;
I know exactly how you feel. Sometimes some of the things that I've learned in AlAnon feel so counter to my personality that it's a struggle to apply them to my daily life. I had a crappy week and really could have used the program more to help me THINK about my responses to my qualifier. Instead I allowed his junky behavior to get to me and I seethed. Oh well... I have to let it go and know that tomorrow is another opportunity to grow. (One Day at a Time, right?)

I've been sticking with it for a few months now and seeing some improvement in my life. To change the way I think and the way I respond is a big job and it has required a serious investment of my time. It's been worth it, though. Hang in there and good luck to you!