My story breaking free from addiction doesn’t define my life story any more than coming third in the cross country in the fourth grade does. But I like to reflect on it because my addiction coloured such a large chunk of my adult life.
My addiction was a layer of protection I carried – like a shield to keep me in the shadow from the sun.
I have been listening to affirmations more than usual these past few weeks. A hushed voice, repeating in a stern tone, I am – like a tall tree with thick and strong roots, connecting deep into mother earth, My potential to succeed is limitless – and so on. Some of the versions have a tribal drum keeping a heartbeat pace underneath the voice. Or an omm, or sounds from deep space. It’s a powerful focal point to have vying for my attention, and I have to admit that it is really seeping into me.
Affirmations work on the premise that, over time, our natural tendency to be uplifted and joyous is becomes eroded. Eroded by being jostled about by the negativity and noise of our day to day environment – hearing about traffic on the radio, listening to others complaining, being coerced into dreaded ‘meetings’ – things like that rub against our essentially positive and good nature so that over time we can become jaded and dull with indifference.
“This is a new day, I am a new me, I am completely responsible for my new day.”
The idea is to see ourselves as bright shiny diamonds that, through the course of the day or week, becomes chipped and clouded through our environment. It’s part of our life journey that we feel obliged to return over and again to the fray – to go to work, to navigate relationships, to confront the present with the shadow of our past always just behind us.
I note that my low times are in the mid afternoon – around 3pm – 5pm – when I have a natural lag and my good nature dips and I can be vulnerable to being impatient, overly judgmental and intolerant. Another vulnerable time is in the middle of the night if I can’t sleep – the combination of tiredness, being alone and darkness can lead me inward to not so helpful places. These times I rely on the scaffolding of affirmations to help me climb out of the depths.
“I am the creator of my experience – I am inspired to do whatever it takes.”
But this does not mean I jump up and listen to affirmations – as this is the crucial part I was getting wrong for so long. Affirmations are not installed when you are at the crisis point, in need of making a switch in mindset. No, it is simply not effective – it just doesn’t help me to hear “I am the master of my destiny” when I am lying awake at 3am ruminating on a past failure.
Instead, affirmations are best installed when you are in an abundant flow – when you are in a positive, light and even ecstatic mood – so that the words enter into you subconscious with the same energy vibrating through your body. Then, when you nest encounter you darkness, you will have a ready supply of helpful phrases to reflect upon to help steer you out of the morass. It works – it really does. I used it yesterday running up a hill – “I am alive and I am strong” as well as this morning when I opened an email and got ‘rejected’ – “I am worthy and I am being led in the right direction”