What is my “drug” of choice? I don’t mean for medicinal purposes. I don’t even necessarily mean a drug such as alcohol. I mean – what do I use to numb myself so that I don’t have to feel? (This quote and the following reflection about it comes from Day 7 In the Pursuit of Love).
If I’m numbing emotional pain – am I still able to feel love? I’d have to say no. If I have emotional pain then I have fear. I do not believe it is ever possible to feel fear and love at the same time. I have to feel the pain so that I can acknowledge its source so that I can eradicate it for good. Some drugs like alcohol and heroin are obvious ways to misdirect ourselves from our real issues. Other “drugs” are not so obvious like gossiping, overworking, rescuing others from their “poor” choices or an addiction to anything. These “drugs” create an illusion of living.
I have to say the top “drug” on my list was rescuing other people whether they wanted my help or not. This all kept me busy enough so that I didn’t have to do the work to rescue myself. There was some push back from people who liked me carrying their burdens but I finally figured out that first comes the lessons and then the work and then the blessings. I was depriving people I loved of the chance to do the work and earn the blessings. And I was depriving myself of the same thing.
I was proud of myself — a few weeks ago — I was at a very crowded park and a boy of maybe 4 years of age stopped on his bike when he realized he didn’t know where is mom was. My habitual rescuer gene screamed for me to run over and offer my assistance. But I noticed that after that first moment of panic that drew my attention — he calmly scanned the area — spotted his mom — and headed back to her. I wonder how different he would have felt if at that first moment of his panic — I had stepped in and took over and found his mom for him. I would have stripped him of the chance to problem solve — to self-sooth his fears — to know he can get himself out of a situation — to have the confidence to ride away from his mom again rather than clinging to her in fear he’d never find his way alone again.
Since I’ve cut back on my “drug” of choice, I’ve found my life to be much more peaceful and fulfilling. It is interesting to note that now that I’m not “fixing” everyone elses’ lives — I have the where-with-all to fix my own.
Do you self-medicate to avoid doing the work and learn the lessons that will lead to the peace in your life? Am I the only person who has taken helping to the enabling/annoying level? How do you find your peace?