I used to have nightmares that would make Wes Craven’s movies look like Sesame Street. The hellish visions seemed so real I would find myself jumping out of bed in the middle of the night in a sweaty panic, fighting off the ghostly images that would follow me into the realm of reality. My solution to this predicament was even more of what was aiding their appearance to begin with, alcohol. To be honest it would actually work on occasion and allow me a period devoid of all awareness, all interest, and all feeling, so there were times I could escape the immediate threat of my inner twisted menagerie and float away on a sea of apathy.
Introspection is the perceived enemy to those who are their own worst threat. What I didn’t realize is that when I avoided looking at myself, those reflections would intensify and re-manifest in other ways. Part of my mind, the part that was fading quickly but still intact, was desperately doing everything it could to warn me of my inevitable demise. No subtleties in play here. The carnival of madness was in full swing, and I was both the audience and the main attraction. My personality was split between rationality and insanity. The war that I encouraged between the two almost killed me. I was a candidate for a straight jacket and there’s no doubt I would have passed whatever test would have been required to acquire one.
On occasion I had times of sobriety (but NOT recovery) and physically this would feel great, but abstinence does not equal nor even add to mental health. Every time I went into a period of self-restraint my ego would eventually re-assert itself. “I” would begin to think “I” could control the urge to do what I knew was wrong. The mistake was interpreting an attitude of smugness for resolve, and again I would find myself in deep trouble.
There came a time where I eventually painted myself into a symbolic corner. I had run out of choices. I had neither the balls to blow out my brains and end it all in one fell swoop, nor the stamina to keep on living. Empty, tired, and desperate I FINALLY started asking for help. Those that came to my aid knew what had to take place. They were the ones who spun me around and showed me for the FIRST time what I was really running from, self-judgment. The absence of self-judgment is self-acceptance, and it is in this state of mind where conflict ceases. What was once broken became whole again. This is something I never could have done alone. The idea of attempting to face my demons on my own was too horrifying a prospect to even contemplate.
IF you are in a place similar to where I was, the only way to get free from that which feels inescapable is to drop your defenses (no more excuses) and ask for help. One of my first entries on this blog (for which I have provided the following link) will clarify just how to go about doing this.
The secret I have learned is this, those demons I was running from only existed when I refused to face them. They are shadows, reflections without dimension. It was my running that gave them strength, my denial that fueled their resolve. Where understanding is present, fear is absent. Where fear is absent, love exists. Where love exists, life persists. Where life persists, the possibilities are endless, and I intend to continue proving it.
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With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood