Some folks can have a glass of wine or a couple of beers now and again without ever developing a problem. They can get a little high from marijuana and go on with their day without becoming stoned and unproductive. These are very strange people from the perspective of folks like myself. They’re “normal people” who can exercise self control over things that are still unhealthy but perhaps enjoyable in moderation.
Health and manageability are the products of a balanced life. They reflect a positive foundation in relating to self. Misfits like me learned self control as being endlessly self critical and we reason that if a little is good, a lot is better.
What I know about balance is that I have a highly flawed tattoo of a yin yang symbol on my shoulder. Perfect metaphor and a true story.
I insist on finding the humor in everything. Nearly every recovering addict, alcoholic, and survivor I have ever served has felt the need to explain to me things that are true for all of us, “Jim I live at the extremes of all or nothing.”
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Sure. But that’s not living. That’s surviving.
I love that my brain provides a soundtrack to my life:
“It takes dynamite to get me up Too much of everything is just enough. One more thing I just got to say. I need a miracle every day,” – Grateful Dead
People only function at the extremes when they lack the love and acceptance that make the here and now fulfilling. (Check yourself – that includes self acceptance too). Lack of acceptance leads to believing we are inherently not good enough, which leads to living like we have something to prove/redemption to earn.
Additionally, we get in our own way because our past limits our present – what we survived required that we numb our body, mind, and spirit. It was necessary not to feel then. Today seek to avoid the pain we carry from our past as well as our fears of the future. Therefore it makes sense to me that it takes a lot to get us off.
“Everything that kills me makes me feel alive.” – One Republic
To truly live requires experiencing and expressing a full range of emotions. The extreme that I want to live at is in being open and expressive with people who struggle like I do.
I’ve come to see that anything that makes me not feel doesn’t belong in my life. I still specialize in doing too much – and that’s a hard habit to break, especially when everything you’re doing is good stuff.
I have a lot of good and first world problems. I struggle to squeeze all the great things in my life into my schedule. How blessed am I? You can have this life too. There’s no big secret – no great ability or talent I possessed got me this life. Connecting with kindred spirits is how I got from there to here.
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