And just like that, my anti-addiction struck. And it struck hard.
I’ve been addicted to a few things in my day. Some good. Some bad. I used to be addicted to cigarettes. And anyone who’s been on those will tell you that it’s not a matter of the intellect that gets you to smoke. It’s a deep, passionate and physical need. I knew it was hurting me. But the hurt from smoking was not as bad as the hurt from not smoking.
I’m still addicted to some things. Food, for example. If I even go half a day without food, I feel a pain in my body and mind and soon it’s all I can think of. There are a few other things like that in my life. Water. Air. Third-wave ska. Stuff like that.
But my present addictions are nothing compared to my anti-addictions.
If an addiction is a physical / mental need to do something, then an anti-addiction is a physical / mental need to not do something. Ever had that? Here’s how it works:
You sit down to do something very good. Maybe to paint a picture or plan a party or spend time praying or meditating or get moving on your ridiculous novel. Suddenly you feel a deep well of hate rise up within you. You look at your computer and you scowl. You can feel your whole spirit rebel against the idea of doing that good thing. It’s all the symptoms of an addiction, except it’s pushing you away. Steven Pressfield calls it Resistance. I call it a serious, life-stopping pain in the ass.
When you feel the resistance, there are only two ways of success, so far as I can see. First, you can try to plow through and have faith that the road will clear in time and you’ll soon stop hating the thing you love. This is the best way.
But sometimes it doesn’t work. Sometimes the resistance, strengthed by negative distractions and attidutdes, is too strong. The demons pull at your creativity and piss all over it. Some demons can’t be cast out with hard work alone. Some demons need prayer.
I’m a spiritual person, though not really religious. And I believe in the power of mystic prayer. So when the resistance is hard, I stop. I turn off the screen. I pull my legs up and close my eyes and breathe. I let my thoughts leave as I become mindful of my breaths. In. Out. In. Out. Breathing in I calm my body. Breathing out I smile. Dwelling in the present moment, I know it is a wonderful moment.
And my mind and heart calm. The demons stop screaming long enough for me to cup my hands to my face and utter the sacred words with deep mindfulness.
“Our father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth
As it is in heaven.”
And they flee. My spirit soars and touches the source. I float on the goodness of the great compassionate source of the universe.
And when I’m done my communion I open my eyes. I can hear the story being whispered in my ear now. I say “Thank you, thank you” and take the story and put it done on paper.