I Want the World to Stop

There are times, like now, when I want the world to stop. There’s so much chaos going on that life seems to be spiraling out of control. I feel like I’m in the eye of the hurricane hanging onto a lifeboat. Do you feel this way too?

Stuart Murdoch of the Scottish pop band, Belle and Sebastian, composed the song that this post is named after. In it he sings about wanting to step out of his shell of winter disorder, feel the air again and talk to his friends. Isn’t that what life since March 2020 has been like?

And if you’re like me, you’re tired. When I get tired, I tend to slack off of my personal self-care program. It’s so much easier just to come home after work and veg out on mindless TV. This is my stress response. And the fact that we are in the midst of the holiday season, any healthy nutritional choices go out of the window. 

But one thing that my therapist constantly reminds me is to not get caught up in black and white, all or nothing thinking. This is a slippery slope that inevitably is a recipe for failure. But for someone like me, who is in recovery from addiction, it’s easy to get caught up in anything that ignites the dopamine receptors in my brain. And this is the reason why I’m still involved in 12 Step recovery.

In the program that I follow, we focus on the disease of addiction, not just a specific substance. This allows the recovering addict to apply the principles of the program in any part of their life. Therefore, I can “work the steps” to overcome whatever challenge I’m facing.

There’s a saying in our program, “Sick and tired of being sick and tired.” This basically means that one is tired of the way their life is and recognizes that there is a need for a change. And that’s kind of where I’m at now. But I have hope. And I never give up.

I’m moving next week. I’m seeing this as an opportunity to start anew. It’s not necessarily a New Year’s resolution thing. It’s more of what is known in the clinical world as the “Stages of Change” which is based on the Transtheoretical Model which was created by James O. Prochaska and Carlo Di Clemente in 1977. 

The Stages of Change are: precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. Precontemplation is when an individual does not consider a particular behavior to be a problem. The contemplation stage is when the person determines that there may be benefits to changing the behavior. Preparation is centered on getting ready to make the change (usually within 30 days). The action stage focuses on changing the behavior, and the maintenance stage is when the individual has successfully stopped the behavior for 6 months. 

This places me at the preparation stage. I am getting “psyched” to make the change. One way that I intend to do this is to work with a sponsee on the 12 Steps. In my program, we use a step working guide to focus on whatever behavior we want to address. Our plan is to meet weekly as a means of mutual support.

If there is one thing I’ve learned in my nearly 34 years in the program, is that complacency can be a sure fire way to stifle the recovery process. And that is not a healthy place to be. 

So, despite the fact that the world is spinning out of control, I don’t have to. In fact, it’s all the more important that I “double down” on my recovery and use all the tools at my disposal to be in the best mental, emotional, physical and spiritual shape I can be. At this stage in my life, I can’t afford not to.

Published by Mental Health Verses

I'm a mental health advocate, educator, and TEDx speaker. I also am a featured columnist for BP magazine, I have lived with bipolar disorder since 1981 and I'm in long-term recovery from addiction. I host the program, Mental Health Verses on the SUNY Buffalo State radio station, WBNY 91.3 FM

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: