Dealing with My Addiction

WARNING: This is another one of my long-winded diatribes. Read at your own risk.

My name is David, and I am an addict. I’m not a booze hound, pill popper, dope fiend, chain smoker, or any of the other things most often associated with addiction. No, I am addicted to negative energy.

To some of you this may sound like a bunch of bullshit, while to others it might be something you’re having trouble comprehending. I understand and respect such reactions, and to be quite honest, if anyone had said to me a few years ago that they were addicted to negative energy, I would have laughed in their face. As a matter of fact, one or two friends over the years have given me a hard time for what they call my “addiction to drama.” I would laugh it off, and go on about my merry way, and never gave it much thought. Addicted to drama. Who the fuck gets addicted to drama? Who the fuck invites crazy bullshit into their lives, surrounding themselves with people who may care about them, but still, time and time again, manages to put them into harms way?

Me. That’s who.

Unlike the other monkeys that have climbed on my back over the years—a long list that ranges from drinking to masturbation—I’m not sure how this particular addiction got started. I was raised in an oasis of love and nurturing that existed within a vast desert of alienation and hostility. I was fat, poor, and half black in a predominately white town where nearly every family had more money than mine. I was picked on and made the butt of many jokes, but rather than crying and feeling sorry for myself, I fought back. I was that smart-ass kid who could verbally cut anyone down to size, and if my verbal assaults led to fights, I was more than happy to slug it out. I was the only kid in the third grade willing to go toe-to-toe with a sixth grader, just as I was the only kid bad enough to smash another kid in the mouth with a rock for talking shit to me.

It has been over thirty years since I knocked anyone’s teeth loose with a rock, and I haven’t been in a real fight for many years. But as I begin to crawl around in the dark corners of my being, trying to get a better sense of who I am, I have begun to see that this person that I call me has had a long problem with negativity.

So what is it that has suddenly made me realize there is something wrong with me?

I’m not sure how to describe it. Spiritual awakening sounds so damn pretentious, and it’s the sort of thing that makes me roll my eyes when others say it. But it really has been a sort of spiritual awakening. Or, if you want to leave spirituality out of the equation, I could say that in trying to get to know myself better I stumbled across a boarded up window that led to my subconscious. And if that is also too pretentious, I can just say I had what alcoholics and other addicts call “a moment of clarity.”

Let me take a moment to explain some things. We, as human beings, along with pretty much everything else that is actually alive, are a combination of matter and energy. Matter is what our bodies are made, a series of genetic codes that come together to form our skin and bones and muscles and organs and all the things that make us human. Energy is what drives the matter that is our bodies. The organs in the human body work together to create electrical impulses—measurable energy—that allows human beings to live. Since I am neither I scientist nor an academic, I can’t really explain it much better than that.

The complexity of the human brain is more vast than my dropped-out-of-college ass can truly comprehend, but I do know and understand that the brain is the source of energy that gives us life. Through the brain we are able to process all sorts of sensory perceptions—sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell—which, as we mature and amass knowledge become part of our conscious and subconscious thoughts. Through these sensory perceptions and the processing of these experiences, the brain creates a series of energy patterns that we call emotions.

Most people don’t give much thought to how we form emotions, or what the true power of these emotions can manifest. But because emotions are a form of energy, created by the conscious and subconscious mind through sensory processing, it is important to realize that emotions carry with them as much power as any other source of energy.

While emotions may seem complex, and indeed are complex, there are only two actual types of emotions: positive and negative. This means that we as human beings, in the process of converting sensory perceptions into emotional responses, are creating from within us energy signatures that are either positive or negative. Period. It’s that simple.

As I have begun, in my rather remedial way, to understand and study the conscious and subconscious mind, I have been forced to examine what happens to the energy that we create. Here is what it comes down to: through our conscious and subconscious mind we create energy. That energy both attracts and is attracted to similar energy patterns. Therefore, if you are generating energy that is positive, you will attract positive energy into your life, whereas if you are generating negative energy, you will be drawing negativity into your life.

From here things get a bit more complicated. First and foremost it is important to never underestimate the subconscious mind. I say this because it is possible to consciously think and act in a positive manner, while subconsciously giving off negative energy. You may not even be aware you are doing this. And the only way to even begin to explore what is going in the subconscious requires a person to look so deep within themselves that it scares the shit out of most people. French philosopher Teilhard de Chardin described the process like this: “I took the lamp and, leaving the zone of everyday occupations and relationships where everything seems clear, I went down into my innermost self, to the deep abyss whence I feel dimly that my power of action emanates. But as I moved further and further away from the conventional certainties by which social life is superficially illuminated, I became aware that I was loosing contact with myself. At each step of the descent a new person was disclosed within me of whose name I was no longer sure, and who no longer obeyed me. And when I had to stop my exploration because the path had faded from beneath my steps, I found a bottomless abyss at my feet, and out of it came—arising I know not from where—the current which I dare to call my life.”

The exploration of “deep abyss” Teilhard de Chardin writes about, the place where his “power of action emanates” is the subconscious. And this is the place we must all go if we are ever going to understand ourselves, and move forward with our lives.

The difficulty of exploring the subconscious is only part of the battle. Lurking within our subconscious mind are all sorts of hidden demons, phobias and uncertainties that are the result of sensory perceptions processed at a time when we lacked the capability to fully comprehend what was going on. In other words, you may have experienced something when you were only one or two years-old, and incapable of processing it, so the sensory perceptions became stored in the subconscious mind, not unlike a file on your computer you forgot to name and can’t remember where it was saved. It could be something as simple as being scared by a dog. Your subconscious mind has a clear memory of the emotional response of being afraid of the dog, even though you have no conscious memory of the event. Perhaps this subconscious memory causes you to be afraid of dogs, even though your conscious mind tells you there is nothing to be afraid of.

There are ways to unlock the subconscious mind, but it can be difficult, and if successful, you are then faced with the very real prospect of actually getting to know yourself all over again. And while you can meditate and do all the things you need to unlock your subconscious, the reality is that outside energy patterns can effect us almost as much as those we generate from within ourselves.

You may be a generally positive person, but through whatever circumstances, you may find yourself in a negative environment—be it work or a relationship—that over the course of time can effect your own personal energy. Say you are working in a place that has negative energy surrounding it. You may not even notice it at first, because that negativity may be very subtle, manifesting itself in the form of one co-worker who likes to gossip, another co-worker who complains all the time about marital problems, and another co-worker who bitches and moans all day about how much the universe is secretly conspiring against them. Individually, these three people might only annoy you, but with prolonged exposure to the combined negativity they produce, it begins to effect you. Soon, you are gossiping and talking shit about other people. Then you are caught up in the drama of someone else’s bad marriage. You may even start to feel like there is some sort of universal conspiracy against you as well. And that is because prolonged exposure to negative energy will eventually affect you negatively. It is like living in a house filled with dogshit—no matter how much you may clean yourself, the stink of the dogshit will eventually get on you.

For what seems like my entire life, people have described me as being everything from cynical to pessimistic grouchy to grumpy to mean. I have been called asshole, jackass, cocksucker, motherfucker, bastard, and son of a bitch—none of which were terms of endearment. And up until very recently I would shrug off such descriptors and say, “Fuck ‘em if they don’t like me. This is who I am.”

But now, as I look at my life and I see that some things are not right—not the way I want them to be or, more important, not the way I know they can be—I must ask why it is that way. And as I look at my life through glasses that are not tinted with nostalgia or romance, I have begun to see patterns of negative thinking, negative actions and reactions. I see the negative energy that I have given off, that I have attracted into my life, and that has drawn me in.

This cycle of negative energy was most apparent in my relationships with women, but it was also clear in many of my friendships, definitely within my family, and very strikingly in my workplace. And while my many failed relationships were the most clear and obvious example of the negative energy that I attract and that I’m attracted to, what I would say was the most profound source of negativity for me was my workplace. Now, on the off chance any of my former co-workers are reading this, it is important that they know that there was no one person or situation that created the all-consuming negative energy that was sucking at my soul for over seven years. It was a combination of elements and personalities that over the course of time had created a negative environment that seemed benign at first. And because the company I was working for was providing tremendous opportunities, and financial security, I either didn’t notice the negativity or I ignored it until I was so addicted to the energy that I was uncertain how to live without it.

When I parted ways with the former employer after seven long years, I found myself in a bizarre tailspin of uncertainty. Negative energy is energy nonetheless, and it is something that you can feed off. Without my job, the source of energy that was feeding me was gone, and I was lost and confused and uncertain of what to do with my life. And what is very important to understand is that while this was going on, it never occurred to me that what I was going through was some form of withdrawal from the negative energy that had been surrounding me. That understanding would not come until later.

The best comparison for what I have been going through would have to be my problem with alcohol. I began drinking at the age of 17, and partying with such due diligence that by the time I was 21, I was feeling pretty burned out. I won’t go so far as to say I was an alcoholic, but I drank hard, partied hard, and often paid the price the next morning. I was the person at the parties that was always being handed something to drink, and people often watched just to see what dumb shit I would do next. Between the ages of 20 and 23 I quit drinking many times, until finally, one night in 1992, I vowed that I would not get drunk anymore (and to my credit, I have not been drunk since that night).

At the time I made my “no more getting drunk” proclamation, most people didn’t believe me. In fact, there were people who tried to get me drunk, nearly all of whom were my former partying friends. It would frustrate me that the people who claimed to be my friends could not respect the fact that I was done drinking. Eventually, my decision to not drink became the line with which I was able to separate my friends and determine who was being kept on the books and who was getting a pink slip.

Something that is very important to understand about me and drinking was that there was no one single incident that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Instead it was series of events that made me realize I was running the risk of fucking up my life, and I knew something had to be done.

Fifteen years later, there was no individual event that made me realize I was having a problem with negative energy. As was the case with drinking, it was many things over the course of the years, not the least of which was a job and series of bad relationships. As I looked at myself, and where I was with my life—professionally, personally, financially—I was so far off from what I wanted and had planned for that it was depressing. Who could have led me this far astray from my goals? Who was to blame for what seemed to be so much disappointment and so many unfulfilled desires in my life? Who was behind the conspiracy that made me feel like life was out to get me? Whose fault was it that I was a failure?

Me. That’s who.

The process of realizing how much negative energy was surrounding me and consuming me was not easy to come by. If you think reading this piece was long and painful you should try living it. But as difficult as it has been to get to where I’m at, I can’t express how great it feels to be here. The hardest part has been dealing with the people who laugh at me when I tell them I’m done being negative. The lack of real encouragement has been somewhat overwhelming. And when people tell me, “We want the old Dave back,” I stare at them in disbelief.

The old me was always in a bad mood—always angry and complaining about who and what he hated. How anyone could miss that version of me was initially beyond me. But then I realized that many of these people were actually part of the problem. Not only were these people trapped by the same negative energy that I had been feeding off of, like me they were also feeding into the negativity, giving in strength. My breaking away was a reminder of their own problems. It was really no different than when I finally stopped drinking altogether. Misery, one of the most powerful of negative emotions, loves company.

Things have not been easy. I have found myself avoiding some people, and realizing that it may be time to start handing out some pink slips to certain friends. But this is what most of us need to do. If it is true that we, as in each of us as individuals, are our own worst enemies, then that would make some our friends the evil henchmen that aid our enemy. It is a sad and scary process to leave behind some of the people that have been with us on our journey. But if you are drinking too much and decide to stop, and if the person who always has a drink to hand you doesn’t stop handing them to you, that person needs to go. The same is true for being positive. If there are people in your life that can’t bring the positive energy that is essential for healthy growth and well-being, then it is time to kick their ass to the curb.

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3 Responses to “Dealing with My Addiction”

  1. iowan Says:

    kid, you ain’t lied yet! i had to leave behind some family members as well as “friends” so that my life can be drama free. especially as a single mom, i had a few female “friends” that were more than willing to encourage me to stay angry at my son’s father because of some unresolved shit that they never resolved within themselves. needless to say, they have been removed from my cypher. there is no need to be around people that are so willing to add to your personal chaos but are never inclined to help you grow and go forward. keep going forward.

    ~iowan

  2. gkleinman Says:

    So when are you going to write your book?!!? This stuff is just too good to just be up on a web site 🙂

  3. Boogaloo Baby Says:

    Walker… You are so right on track with this rant. I mean as much drama as there is lurking outside your door why have the shit in your own house so to speak. I mean you’ll never be able to completely avoid any drama at all unless you resign yourself to be a complete hermit and that’s because you can only control yourself and not others but hey I’m all about limiting the drama and knowing the nature of my relationship with people (i.e. is it business or personal).

    As for the concious and subconcious this book I’ve been reading breaks a whole heap of that down. I know it doesn’t have a lot of drawings but it does have copious pictures… it’s called Man and His Symbols by Carl Jung. Check it out! Fascinating stuff!

    BB

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