there lives inside me a restless, angry, rebellious boy who feels forsaken...
... and lately, he's been making his presence felt.
I had a rough week. One day I'd doggedly bring my dysfunctional behavior at work into the light — into the PA Chatbox — and just report what was going on. Which was failure, overwhelmingly; I'd painstakingly make a plan and then fail to stick to it, over and over and over. And consciously I'd congratulate myself for sticking with it despite it being a painful process that I can't see delivering me any instant gratification.
But my subconscious would have a different take. The next day, that boy inside me would say "FUCK this. I'm not sticking my face into a buzzsaw all day again." I'd run away, get pretty much nothing done, feel awful by day's end.
I repeated that cycle all week — one day of consciously felt pain, one day of refracted, diffuse pain.
- A therapist used to say about that inner child of mine, "You need to take really good care of that kid, win his trust, show him that the risks you're asking him to take really do pay off — because you're dead in the water without him. The conscious adult part of you has to show up. Otherwise that boy won't play ball. And he's the one with all the juice, all the energy." This rings true.
- I'm lucky enough to have a career that, when I'm not pinned down by the crushing weight of my neuroses, can truly feel playful and fun, a source of joy. A week ago, at client meetings in New York, I felt that more vividly than I have in several years. I remembered that I'm good at this stuff, that I'm of use, that I have lots to give. But getting back to desk work last week, I lost contact with that very quickly. I'm good at my work when that boy knows he's in a safe place, a place where he's completely free to work at solving a problem in whatever ways feel right, a place where he can tinker, experiment, play. And work is not feeling like that to me right now. I sit down to work and feel tight, leaden, joyless. That's just not going to work. How do I, as the conscious grown-up, let that kid know that he gets to come out and have fun and doesn't have to worry for a minute that anything he does or tries to do will have bearing on his value as a person. How do I use the Chatbox here to report on my work behavior in a way that supports that kid? Last week it felt like I was dragging him in there again and again to be drubbed. That's not working. The answer, I think, is probably to let go of trying to come up with an answer myself. I am not the answer. That's why I have a sponsor, a phone list of other recovering people.
- I'm half-inclined, as I have been for years, to throw myself into a "reparenting" approach to healing myself. But then my 12 Step experience tells me that maybe that's not such a good idea — too much thinking and description of what's broken has never done a damn thing for me. On the other hand, the action of taking inventory — of fears, resentments, harms done, the motives behind such actions, the character defects involved — does tend to show results.
- I asked a friend in program, further along in the Steps than me, whether — when taking a spot inventory, a daily 10th Step inventory, or a 4th Step inventory — if he always resolved something that was disturbing him into a fear, a resentment, or a harm. And he said yes, that's pretty much what he always does, that it's amazing how one or more of those is always present when our serenity is disturbed. And the cool thing about taking inventory in that way is that it always seems to bring one up against clarity about how self-will doesn't work. Against one's need for more power than can be found inside self.
- What I need to do right now is stop, write an inventory, ask for help. That boy inside me is feeling fear and resentment: he's afraid he's hopelessly broken and unlovable and that there's only more dreadfully repetitive suffering ahead; he's angry at the grown-up for not finding a way to better support him when he kept trying and failing in the Chatbox. Time to get out the ol' inventory worksheet.