Sobriety begins again today. Its all gone, there’s none in the house, and no money in the bank to go get more. The real test is payday, and every moment after that.
I start a temp promotion at work this week, a position I interviewed for and my colleague got. I was sober for the interview, and I need to be sober for the job. I need to be sober in general.
I’m finally coming back to summarize my experience with Vironika Tugaleva‘s The Love Mindset; a book that offered great things as I went through it, but have not yet integrated into my life. I’ve added this task to my to-do list for weeks, and that is why I need to be clean. I do really recommend this book.
In the preface Tugaleva states that her relationship with herself was the most verbally abusive relationship she had ever been in; this spoke directly to me. Yes, I have had shitty models of what a loving and respectful relationship looks like, but why on earth should that mean that my relationship with myself be that way? I’m worth more than how I was taught to see myself.
In her first chapter, she explains that the vast majority of us are starving for love; looking for it in all the wrong places, attributing false experiences as love, not accepting love as universal and the central emotion of acceptance. We are aware of this void, and either passively submit or violently resist it. If we are not growing with love, we are dying; building or degrading, learning or regressing. We must actively choose growth, and grow with and into love.
The cover of the book has an image of a tree overlapping a persons heart and head; roots growing into the heart, branches growing into the brain. The tree metaphor is relevant throughout, telling us that we need to water our roots to grow and that if we want to change the quality of the fruit, then we need to change how we care for the tree.
The mind is supposed to operate as a control centre, a leader. An effective leader listens to their people and adjusts to fit their needs. Goals and plans should be based off of the group’s struggles and hopes. We need to break away from the autopilot of seeking pleasure and avoiding pain.
“Mind opening is the process of developing resilience.” Tuning out solves nothing, the solution lies within understanding, and using the tools we have properly.
To change my experience, I need to change how I take care of myself. The more I do, the easier it will become and the better I will get. I need to be the leader that I need.
Tugaleva talks about how we become addicted to behaviours that initially offered us some form of relief or happiness, but over time, these “triggers” lose their effect. This is the basis for addiction, we become addicted to something that we think will make us happy, but over time it slowly kills us instead. We need to acknowledge that what we are seeking can be found with no intervention other than being open to love. Once we are more familiar with it, we can love without having anyone or anything to remind us of it.
The same as you are what you eat, you are what you think. The solution to healing is not blindly numbing our emotions, but listening to them and their signals to change. No matter how difficult securing positive change may seem or be, delaying is much more challenging in the long run.
The only constant is change, so thinking that things will remain the same leads to disappointment. When we strive for perfection and do not achieve it, we take that as a sign of failure, and thus a loss in self respect. Expect change, expect error, and life will be less dissapointing.
Tugaleva focuses on the importance of being whole yourself, not relying on another to make you who you are. “Two people in a loving relationship can help one another heal, develop, and thrive. They can do so by providing an environment of safety, support and unconditional acceptance. This does not, however, mean that they are halves meeting together as a whole. […] We compliment, we do not complete. We build our lives around supporting one another to heal and grow.”
This chapter caused me to think deeply about and accept what my life would be like should my fiance and I part ways. As much as I would miss him, I would obviously be able to eventually move on just like any other breakup. Where I got stuck here was finances, I was worried about life with a single income rather than a double, but settled that issue by talking to my current roommate, and we agreed that we’d just start living together again. That removed a lot of stress of me worrying that he will leave me one day. I mean, my anxiety still does that to me, for multiple scenarios, but I know that I would survive. Like I always have.
Removing that fear was and is essential. I was having major anxiety over the fact that my partner could leave me, which then becomes anxiety that my partner SHOULD leave me, which puts a strain on the relationship and has the potential to become a self fulfilling prophecy. Whether the perceived danger is real or not, we still are reinforcing our fear response. The solution is to live in the world of thoughts, rather than the world of emotions.
We live in fear of exposing our pain, for we imagine it to be too sensitive to reveal and fear more pain than we are currently experiencing. But… “when you allow yourself to feel pain, you find what is beyond that pain. In the end, no matter how excruciating it is, pain is temporary. No matter how much you cry, the tears will try. No many how many nightmares, flashbacks, visions, or terrors you endure, they will pass. To weather these in order to gain the peace you deserve – this is not a risk.”
It certainly feels like one, since I will have even less control over my emotions and I will likely have to take some days off work so that I don’t accidentally kill someone. Opening the floodgates before I have access to therapy seems like a risk. Disappointment in myself when i don’t succeed feels like a risk.
But I have to think Big Picture. I need to recover. It got bad when I started smoking daily. I need to accept that I have been making my situation worse, and that I have to fight for my freedom.
The villain and the love mindset; this is where I need to focus quite a bit. There are no villains in the love mindset, only people who have been hurt. To forgive the past is not the same as excusing it.
I should come back to this.
I’m going to wrap it up here, I’ve been working on this most of the day, and its time to do other things.
While working here, I did a little addiction recovery research, and I’m actually planning on going to an NA meeting tonight.