Just a few days ago I wrote an article about the importance of having healthy outlets for the overactive addict’s mind to be regularly engaged in. But just as important is something that’s probably the hardest action for someone recovering from an addiction and that’s becoming still at times in sobriety. Unfortunately, an addict’s brain, especially a newly sober one, is rarely structured in that way. Instead, most have been programmed to be the exact opposite.
If somehow an addict could quantify the exact amount of time they actively sought or engaged in their addiction, I’m sure the total tally would be staggering. That’s precisely why an addict’s brain becomes programmed to never be still because it’s constantly been engrossed in the pursuance and use of the substance of their addiction.
Thus, being still is a completely foreign thing to an addict’s brain and the very reason why things like prayer and meditation feel next to impossible for many who find their way to sobriety and recovery from an addiction. For others, being still can also cause incredible anxiety because in that action alone they are being forced to face the very thing they’ve always run from, that being themselves.
Nevertheless, an addict’s brain is a lot like a young puppy, having to always wander from here to there, from this thing to that thing, constantly craving attention. All that energy of seeking and indulging in the substance of an addiction creates a very unstill mind. Hence the reason why it’s so hard for an addict to be still once they give up their addiction because their mind isn’t geared for that in any way, shape, or form. This is much in part why I tend believe addicts often feel they have attention deficit disorder, because they have created the very condition within their brain after all those years of engaging in their addiction.
But a squirrely brain can be unprogrammed. It just takes work to get there and it begins with small acts of being still. I think it’s significant to note here though that being still doesn’t necessarily mean only prayer and meditation. It can also mean listening to music in a chair, or sitting in a park and observing nature, or even doing something like staring at a candle for a while, all of which I’ve done at times to help slow my overactive brain down. In addition, I should mention that becoming more still in life can even translate into doing things like working on puzzles or painting or drawing or reading, as each help unprogram the mind from being so erratic.
The bottom line is that while being still is often a daunting task for a recovering addict, it is a crucial part of their growth in recovery and it begins by taking baby steps. I was once one of those people who couldn’t sit still for even five minutes, but thankfully, I’ve become a lot more comfortable with it for far longer periods these days. So, trust me, if I can do it, so can you…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson