Is my brain my enemy sometimes?

Old 11-02-2014, 02:03 AM
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Is my brain my enemy sometimes?

I often think of my brain as "me", where my consciousness lives, if I have a "soul" where that lives; the rest of my body is merely mechanical and does what my brain tells it to do. So my brain's my "friend" because it's "me"? Well....maybe sometimes, maybe sometimes it's a little different. I've been told a lot about my primitive "lizard" brain, where the "beast" (or AV) lives. That rather childish, but clever, scheming game player, needs watching, watching and control by the more "rational" elements in my cerebral cortex (which can be numbed and weakened by alcohol and other addictive substances).
But it's more subtle than that. Psychologists tell me that sometimes or perhaps often when I think I am "willing" or "deciding" to do something, that has already been "decided" in my subconscious and the feeling that I have "decided" comes as an aftermath, an instant later. Scary! Raises all sorts of doubts about "will power". Particularly if there is concern about my taking that first drink.
Who am "I". Where do "I" reside? How much "power" do "I" have? What happens to "me" after I die? Why am "I" here? These questions, some of them possibly unanswerable, have haunted humanity for thousands of years. "We" may know some of the answers after "we" die, that is if there still is a "we", an "I".
What does this all mean in practical terms for "me" as an alcoholic, right now? To me it means that somehow I have to be on watch, watch not only the "beast", which lives in the "lizard" part of the brain, but watch even the more rational elements elsewhere, which means that somehow that part of the brain is watching itself, setting up "fail safe" controls, like a computer programmed to flash signals when a glitch develops. Built in or self developed security systems. Complex but not impossible. I must learn to understand myself, forgive myself as I hope to understand and forgive others. "Trust" but, as an ex President once said, "Trust but verify".

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Old 11-02-2014, 02:16 AM
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Without a doubt the most difficult part of getting sober for me was recognizing, realizing, and accepting that part of my brain is actively betraying me and some of my own thoughts and feelings can not be trusted.
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Old 11-02-2014, 03:03 AM
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True! So much is said about the "head vs the heart" but they're both the same thing. Emotions reside in a different part of the brain than the rational parts but both thoughts and feelings are the results of the same brain processes. In a way each part of the brain is running on different software, interconnected but distinct.
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Old 11-02-2014, 03:26 AM
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I used to feel my brain was my enemy - I felt that for years - but I realise now I was not well, I was addicted and not completely sane.

My brain and I are on the same side now

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Old 11-02-2014, 06:09 AM
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Dee: I can't figure out whether those Salvador Dali waffles are "blueberry" waffles, as they say in New England (or are they raisin waffles?) and I'm puzzled about the breed of the blue dog with the frog face and eyes. Dali's limp watches represented, as I recall, the persistence of time. This is most appropriate since we are changing our clocks this morning from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time, one hour earlier. The change took place in the early morning hours. That is why the little blue dog with the frog face is asleep.

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Old 11-02-2014, 06:11 AM
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What D said
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Old 11-02-2014, 06:16 AM
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Wpainterw; surely those are warm and gooey chocolate chip cookies and the blue dog is Cookie Monster. Cookie Monster and I have always been on the same special wavelength so I have the inside story.

Reconfiguring my brain and its thought processes was and remains instrumental in my sobriety. Sobriety was a total overhaul process - body, mind, soul.
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Old 11-02-2014, 06:36 AM
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Originally Posted by wpainterw View Post
I must learn to understand myself, forgive myself as I hope to understand and forgive others. "Trust" but, as an ex President once said, "Trust but verify". W.
Yes, RR had it right. But, that begs a question for me. As I am at what I'll consider for the moment - the End of my Beginning of sobriety - my efforts do indeed focus on the journey within = self. Self abuse is replaced by self confidence, or perhaps regenerated. But, too much self confidence will lead back to self will run wild, perhaps. Balance is not one of my strongest learned behaviors.....

Trusting and forgiving myself and others is foundational in sobriety, for me is a leap of faith - Act "as if" until new habits are created. So the question I pose entails RR's statement - trust but verify; is this in the spirit of living in faith?

As not having long sobriety - 5 months - I have found the pendulum of balance having swung from complete drunkenness and all that goes with it (mantra was trust no one, to quote another) to complete abstinence and faith in a better way of life. My current mode is love and trust everyone = faith. Perhaps blind faith>!??

Daily passage meditation quiets my brain from a state of ......hey, I am over here! What are you doing, come join me.....we're bouncing around in time and space - wheeeee!!! To a state of - come back. We are not doing that right now brain.....were are focused on this passage - Know That I Am.

As you may surmise, Fly's brain needs more work. I need to trust myself and learn to engage all phases of my " being " = Body, mind and spirit.

Work in progress.....
Thanks for the interesting, thought provoking post.
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Old 11-02-2014, 06:54 AM
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I've just recently been to a Greg Brayden conference where new research shows that the heart has 45,000 neurites almost identical to the neurons in the brain. Moreover, we did experiments where the heart wins out over the brain as far as thinking goes. It sends signals to the brain. (Hence, what wins out? ego from the brain or feeling from the heart). Additionally, the buddhists have talked about it for thousands of years that our organs and other parts of our bodies have their own consciousness - for example eye consciousness, nose consciousness etc. or in Greg Brayden's teachings, heart consciousness. For me that's where the soul is - it is a part of me/us that is whole and connected with source - and the part that leaves the body when I/we die.

The beast that has risen up like an ax murderer (sorry it's halloween)is a part that has split off from the whole and has become a self or an ego unto itself. I have gotten to know this part of myself recently and yes at first it felt like she was out to get me. However, I've come to see her as a part that protected me from the "nasties" when I was young - a part of me that I needed, that protected me, that gave me huge courage and power. However, that protection became egotistical (you know how AA says alcoholics are "egos gone wild.") And alcohol became the way I protected myself from the world; from feelings, from people, from going places etc. etc. etc. So now, I love the idea of acknowledging the feelings of the ego beast and just watching her settle down and not feel so engaged all the time. She's beginning to know that I don't need her to protect me ALL THE TIME. I acknowledge her feelings without letting her be like the goddess ****, who wants to destroy everything in her path.
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Old 11-02-2014, 08:55 AM
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Yeah the question comes up all the time, why do I drink? why do I keep slipping?

The answer for me was that part of my brain was addicted to alcohol and alone in isolation my mind would have already made the decision to drink and the actions followed, hence this internal battle in early Sobriety, and the need as I mention on numerous threads to have something outside of ourselves, a support network to almost short circuit what that part of the brain wants us to do.

As the addiction is increasingly pushed to the kerb, that part of the brain seems to slowly loose it's grip, cravings fade and sooner or later it feels like mind, body and sanity are all reading off the same page and on the same side once again!!
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Old 11-02-2014, 05:43 PM
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A lot of interesting posts here. Thanks so much! The AA folks say "Keep it simple" There's a lot of wisdom in that. On the other hand, I sense that alcoholism is a very complex situation, the net result of numerous factors, personality, genetics, culture, upbringing, yes maybe lack of "willpower" (just wanting a buzz), yes, maybe "character defects" as the AA folks say, although I dislike the word since it seems to say, "You've been a bad boy!" ("You've been a sinner! Confess and Repent!"). And just stopping to drink is only the beginning. There's lots of homework to be done, maturing, stuff that got postponed when I was numbing my brain. Reminds me of when I was in the Navy down in Panama City, Panama and I took over a desk job for a month or two from a fellow who got shipped back to the States. The drawers of his desk were full of report forms which he hadn't filled out, correspondence which had gone unanswered. I spent at least a month cleaning out the backlog. He'd just let it all pile up and accumulate, goofing off I guess. Alcoholism, substance abuse, is that way. "Don't worry! Be Happy!" "I'll think about that tomorrow!" ("Tomorrow" never comes). So when the drinking stops it's just the beginning of a long upward path- into the sunshine, into happiness,into real freedom...

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Old 11-02-2014, 08:45 PM
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Yes, it was uphill for me today. I made it hard by pondering how hard it's going to be to recover some of what I've lost (and I'm not talking things-more like living skills). Didn't want to go there but I was down and had to look at me. I hadn't had an urge to drink but yesterday I could taste the vodka it was so strong for 20 min. The truth can be liberating. I got a long way to go uphill but at least I have a chance. Thinking through the drunk yesterday got me to look at all of me that I've compromised in the past for a buzz. I want a construct of "me" that I like. So far, booze and smokes are gone (still vaping) and I have less overall chaos in my life but there is a lot of mess yet--guess I will clean some more tomorrow..
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