Blogs


Notices

Mindfulness: What Does it Want?

Old 04-20-2021, 04:49 AM
  # 1 (permalink)  
Hears The Voice
Thread Starter
 
Nonsensical's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Unshackled
Posts: 7,691
Blog Entries: 20
Mindfulness: What Does it Want?

Mindfulness is a significant part of my personal sobriety regimen. I approach it by asking myself, "what does that thought or feeling want?" A common example is a desire for alcohol. "What does that desire want? Why does it want that?" I can easily disempower an emotion by analyzing it. If has worked very well for me.

For the past few months I have had some memories of bad drinking experiences randomly pop into my head. They are creating very strong emotional reactions. For example, I'll be working and suddenly my brain will say, "Hey, remember that time you came out of a blackout and you were driving on the highway and sitting in a puddle of urine?" That memory will create an immediate and very strong emotional response. A flood of anxiety, shame, and regret to the point of nausea. I take a few breaths and ask myself, why is that memory here? What does it want?

Honestly, I do not know. Anyone experience anything like that? What does it want? Why is it here? Is it teaching me regret? I think I already have that covered. I am baffled.
Nonsensical is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Nonsensical For This Useful Post:
MesaMan (04-20-2021)
Old 04-20-2021, 05:39 AM
  # 2 (permalink)  
Member
 
Aellyce's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 5,285
Blog Entries: 69
YES! I think mindfulness can be a bit overused and vague term nowadays in various contexts, but it sounds like what you talk about is being self-aware and, especially, introspective. If that is it, I absolutely relate because I have been that way as far as I can recall. Always spend a lot of time analyzing my experiences and pondering what my thoughts and feelings mean, how I can use them productively. Of course, the focus and clarity this can achieve is on a whole different level in sobriety. For me, finding/keeping a healthy middle ground with the instrospection is very important, because I am prone to overdoing it, even just using it as distraction sometimes from other things that need to get done, and then I procrastinate... And, as you also point out, sometimes it can generate unwanted and not-so-useful anxiety. So I need to know when it's useful and when to just stop some unproductive thoughts.

The thoughts and feelings associated with past drinking experiences - I just made a post this morning about something similar on my most recent thread. I was talking about the AV and the phenomenon of cue reactivity, as behavioral science/psychology calls it. In that context, it would be more thoughts and emotions associated with past drinking memories that can serve as triggers for desiring the drug/behavior, but yours sound more like aversion, not memories that encourage drinking but the opposite. I have a bunch of those as well and actually find them quite helpful because they do create powerful momentary aversive states and help to recall negative consequences and cement my determination to never drink again. Maybe that's what "they" want? If you are on a quest for permanent sobriety, it's not surprising that your mind brings up bad memories, I think it's better than the so-called "euphoric recall", where we remember selectively the good and then don't care about the consequences. Are you worried about those memories popping up? I personally would't unless they become excessive and disruptive.
Aellyce is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to Aellyce For This Useful Post:
MesaMan (04-20-2021)
Old 04-20-2021, 06:06 AM
  # 3 (permalink)  
Member
 
biminiblue's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 21,626
I don't think there is always a reason.

I have a lot of bad memories that pop up.

Just like the AV, I have to ignore them and move on from them - not ruminate and analyze and freak out.

I tend to just say, "Brains are weird," because they are. Fear is a powerful and instructive emotion and it is the basis of survival. It can become a slave-master if I let it.
biminiblue is offline  
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to biminiblue For This Useful Post:
MesaMan (04-20-2021), ScottFromWI (04-24-2021), Tatsy (04-25-2021)
Old 04-20-2021, 05:03 PM
  # 4 (permalink)  
Member
 
MesaMan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Colorado
Posts: 3,294
.
Early on some Years ago here around SR, I was genuinely perplexed by those holding themselves to the impossible Standard that they must not be 'cured' yet because they still had occasional thoughts of Drinking. My take [only for me] was that I also had old Memories. Of my fav Childhood Dog. Of Fishing with my Dad. Of my uber-hot High School GF. I thought then it was both reasonable, and healthy, to compartmentalize all Memories into the 'inevitable' category. They're all *just* Memories. Me superimposing attributes of 'negative' of 'positive' upon Memories was itself actually the root problem.

I guess this is why I took to AVRT before I even knew the official name for it. 'Urge Surfing' thoughts and reactions, once learned, became seductively attractive. And, liberating.

Thus, one approach is that a thought or feeling *wants* absolutely nothing [my take on it]. I, too, have some weird, random, mucked-up Memories. They hit for no reason. Rarely. I just give them all the consideration and emotional response they deserve: none. This practice further leads to an easy-going sort of Mental Discipline, and less fretting, in other areas. 'Tis all good!

Another advantage of this Learned Detachment is that it fosters Serenity. Something very important to me maintaining what I call 'Effortless Sobriety'.

MesaMan is online now  
The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to MesaMan For This Useful Post:
Dee74 (04-24-2021), DriGuy (04-24-2021), dwtbd (04-24-2021), silversky (04-29-2021), Tatsy (04-25-2021)
Old 04-24-2021, 09:20 AM
  # 5 (permalink)  
Member
 
DriGuy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Posts: 2,483
Originally Posted by MesaMan View Post
.
Early on some Years ago here around SR, I was genuinely perplexed by those holding themselves to the impossible Standard that they must not be 'cured' yet because they still had occasional thoughts of Drinking. My take [only for me] was that I also had old Memories. Of my fav Childhood Dog. Of Fishing with my Dad. Of my uber-hot High School GF. I thought then it was both reasonable, and healthy, to compartmentalize all Memories into the 'inevitable' category. They're all *just* Memories. Me superimposing attributes of 'negative' of 'positive' upon Memories was itself actually the root problem.

I guess this is why I took to AVRT before I even knew the official name for it. 'Urge Surfing' thoughts and reactions, once learned, became seductively attractive. And, liberating.

Thus, one approach is that a thought or feeling *wants* absolutely nothing [my take on it]. I, too, have some weird, random, mucked-up Memories. They hit for no reason. Rarely. I just give them all the consideration and emotional response they deserve: none. This practice further leads to an easy-going sort of Mental Discipline, and less fretting, in other areas. 'Tis all good!

Another advantage of this Learned Detachment is that it fosters Serenity. Something very important to me maintaining what I call 'Effortless Sobriety'.
Wow. You nailed that.
DriGuy is online now  
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to DriGuy For This Useful Post:
Dee74 (04-24-2021), dwtbd (04-24-2021), MesaMan (04-26-2021), Tatsy (04-25-2021)
Old 04-24-2021, 02:32 PM
  # 6 (permalink)  
Forum Leader
 
ScottFromWI's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Wisconsin, USA
Posts: 16,531
Originally Posted by biminiblue View Post
I don't think there is always a reason.

I have a lot of bad memories that pop up.

Just like the AV, I have to ignore them and move on from them - not ruminate and analyze and freak out.

I tend to just say, "Brains are weird," because they are. Fear is a powerful and instructive emotion and it is the basis of survival. It can become a slave-master if I let it.
I would agree with this. While I do practice mindfulness and seek self actualization/detachment when it comes to random thoughts - I feel there are simply some things about our existence that we simply cannot understand. As an example, we understand more and more about how our brains work all the time - but only in the context of dimensions and measures that we already understand ( physical structure, electrochemical, etc ) What actually tells the brain how to do all the things that it does? And why does the operating system that runs mine have the addictive program installed while other people's don't?

I think we are also one of the few species that are cursed with the ability to "think" - sometimes to our detriment ;-)
ScottFromWI is online now  
The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to ScottFromWI For This Useful Post:
Aellyce (04-29-2021), Dee74 (04-24-2021), DriGuy (04-25-2021), MesaMan (04-26-2021), silversky (04-28-2021), Tatsy (04-25-2021)
Old 04-29-2021, 07:54 AM
  # 7 (permalink)  
Member
 
Aellyce's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 5,285
Blog Entries: 69
Just want to add to this that, I think, a lot of what we experience as "understanding" of our own thoughts, feelings and motives is actually not understanding causality but projection. It's easy to infuse anything with whatever occupies our mind currently. I think a very good example for how this works can be anxiety - often it is merely the result of chemical reactions, which generate uneasiness that we want to rationalize, so we look for causes and relationships and create some, instead of truly identifying them. Or the good old one about rationalizing substance use with saying it's coping with something, we picked up because X or Y happened. We are wired to find meaning in things, external and internal. I think most of these are mental projections, but it can feel very significant and real in the moment.

Hope you are doing well, nons
Aellyce is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Aellyce For This Useful Post:
DriGuy (05-01-2021), MesaMan (04-29-2021), Tatsy (04-29-2021)

Currently Active Users Viewing this Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off




All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:25 AM.