“I am a remarkably strong-willed, intelligent, and inspiring individual who had given the best of my emotions to alcohol. I no longer wallow in my own misery. I am in control of my anger. I am the caliber of man who I know I can be.
I am the master of my domain. I think & speak mindfully, with purpose and clarity. I will not pick up a drink today.”
I’ve been meaning to get that written down in physical form for about 3 weeks now, and tonight I finally did. The above is my personal affirmation regarding my recovery, which will now become my daily affirmation. I wrote it out on two index cards, placed two strips of packing tape over them to protect again water and steam, and put them on the mirror in my bathroom. I will recite this each day when I wake up.
Why is this important? Repetition is a key part of a successful recovery. During my 28-day stay as an inpatient for rehabilitation, much of our schedule and curriculum was designed with this in mind. It can become tedious to listen to the same information be delivered ad nauseum, especially when in comes in the form of a lecture. But it is what the brain needs, for that message to become fully ingrained within as an undisputed truth.
Hot Chip – Over and Over
This is demonstrated in the format of A.A. meetings, as well – each meeting opens with a prayer, and then the recital of How It Works, The Twelve Steps, The Promises, and The Twelve Traditions (or a slight variation of this). This usually takes at least 10 minutes, and sometimes up to 17 or 18, if there are announcements that need to be made. Given that the meeting only lasts 60 minutes, it may seem overkill to recite these passages at the start of every meeting. But it’s not. We need to continually hear them, to remind ourselves why we’re there and what the program has to offer. This is what we need, in order to unlearn the habits we formed while using.
This process of recognition through repetition naturally happens in other aspects of life as well. What kinds of things get “stuck” in your head? They can come in all varieties: images, sounds, rhythms, words, feelings, and so on. I find music to be the thing most often stuck in my head. I conducted a kind of mental experiment while in rehab: since we weren’t allowed any personal devices (to keep us involved in group settings), I kept a daily journal of songs that would pop into my head, whether randomly or triggered by some aspect of discussion I was involved in.
These beats/riffs/lyrics would tend to spend the rest of the day bouncing around in my skull, because I welcomed the notion of music playing in my own mind. I eventually plan to make a series of mixtapes (one for each of the four weeks I was there) out of these songs, as an interesting reflection & memento of what came to mind in my time there.
Yes I like Kylie Minogue and no I don’t care who knows this about me.
Plus I get down like the Fresh Prince. So there. Boom.