practise accepting help
Some pretty amazing stuff happened in yesterday’s open call. one of the parts that i keep thinking about is when we practised feeling better. If you listen to the audio, this part starts approximately 24 minutes into the call. Here’s an extract from the transcript:
We’re going to practise it now. We’re going to practise accepting help. Here’s how it goes.
Everybody’s going to sit. Relax your shoulders. And have a couple of big sighs.
It’s hard to accept that help is possible. It’s hard to accept that your life can and will be different if you are sober for a longer period of time.
If you are 180 days sober, it’s hard to imagine you’ll ever get to one year. You don’t even know why you’re bothering. If you’re on day 7, you think this whole thing is rotten and you don’t know what the point is. I guess what I’m saying is that you can have a rotten moment no matter where you are in the process.
So let’s practise feeling better, shall we? It goes like this:
For about the next 25 seconds you are going to pretend that you’re happy. And that you’re sober. And that there’s help for you.
If this is an uncomfortable feeling, I’m going to tell you that you don’t have to do it for very long, just for about 25 seconds. All of the anxiety that you have that you’re broken and that it can’t be fixed, you’re just going to set that down – just for 25 seconds.
I know that it’s impossible to give up being anxious forever just because somebody asks you to. I’m just asking you to practise it now.
We’re going to let go of the anxiety that we cannot be fixed.
We’re going to let go of the fear that there isn’t anybody to help.
We’re going to accept the fact that we are in charge of our own lives and how happy we are, and that that’s a good thing. Because the world is full of lots of opportunities and things – and I don’t want the same things in my life that you want in your life, so it’s good that you’re in charge of you, because you get to pick and add the things to your life that you like.
So we’re going to practise it. Are you ready? Crying is fine. Crying is actually good sign.
[Crying is a great sign. It means you’re listening. It means you’re actually getting it. Because you know what? There’s a lot of defensiveness – “this is bullshit, and this doesn’t work for me”– and honestly I think that if there’s crying that means that it’s actually going in. Maybe you don’t like it and it feels uncomfortable. I understand that.]
OK, here we go. Twenty-five seconds. Now just listen to me and pretend that what I’m saying is true, OK?
I am a happy sober person. I’m not broken. Once I stopped drinking I realized that my life got dramatically better. And all those ideas of moderation – whether they are true or not – I don’t need to consider them because what I have right now is actually great. Sobriety is actually great. Even if I could drink again, I wouldn’t.
There’s lots of support for me. There’s lots of help for me. I raise my hand, there’s help there right away.
I’m taking good care of me and other people are taking care of me, too, and that’s OK.
I’m going to put down that backpack of rocks that I’ve been carrying around with me for fucking 25 years … 20 years … 15 years … 40 years … set it down.
‘Oh but Belle, it’s my family, I can’t set down my whole family backpack of rocks in one go’ … I know you can’t. Just set it down for about 25 seconds.
That’s it. You can relisten to that clip of audio. You can accept help when it’s there. And you can practise the feeling that it’s going to be OK. Because I know that it doesn’t feel like it’s going to be OK all the time. I know that. It doesn’t.
You can practise feeling better for short periods of time until it becomes more true for you, until it feels more real.
“Belle, what if you forget what happy feels like?”