This is one of the most difficult posts I have ever written.
Imagine a magic trick where you are the one to disappear. Someone else is left holding the rabbit, but the rabbit has fangs.
The trick? It is a great one called Avoidance.
Addiction is like a magic trick: It is a mystery that becomes misery.
Avoidance is a tough topic. It is easy to write about and fun to talk about. We make jokes about procrastination and how the procrastination support group keeps getting postponed. Heck, I have even wrote a definition for Crastination in the Urban Dictionary (please, if you like my definition, “Like” it).
It is easy to write about avoidance.
Being honest about my avoidance, well that’s where the shit starts.
I wrote this post a dozen times and the post is fighting with me. Right now, everything screams at me to not come clean. I swear at myself, I swear at my demons. I don’t want to admit that I avoid, most of the time.
When you name your addiction, all hell can break loose: I. Am. Addicted. To. Avoidance.
I find anything more attractive than being present: Eating, drinking, sleeping, TV, exercise, the Internet and my iPhone. Emotions are my trigger and right now, my triggers are all over the place.
When my emotions get going, I can be like a child. “My name is Sean, sometimes I act like I am five years old but I won’t admit it.”
For me, this is what addiction is:
Addiction is being present but avoiding yourself; recovery is being present with yourself.
Right now, I am present but avoiding myself.
You and I know what avoidance is. It a snake. We listen to the snake when we dodge, we ignore, we deny, we ghost, we become vacant.
I get myself in trouble when I listen to the sweet song of the snake. What about you?
Last year I wrote a post for The Good Men Project titled, Nine Ways that Ghosting Can Improve Your Relationships. That one post has been read by over 16,000 people and has been shared over 7000 times. For me, these numbers are pretty good and yeah, I should be proud of the piece.
Actually, I am a little embarrassed by it. The post is funny, but humor that one of the strategies I use to avoid. In the post, I admit that I ghost people; I avoid emotions and conflicts. And the more that I ghost, the more that my emotions get the best of me and I drink emotional whiskey. But I keep doing it.
Addiction makes things complicated. Recovery gets back to making things simple. We get our lives back when we do the simple but hard work.
This post is not me telling you what will work for you to solve your stuff. If you have gotten this far, I imagine that you are like me and avoidance is a thing in your life.
If you are like me, a member of Avoiders Anonymous, there are a few simple things that work for me:
- Be honest, start with yourself. Just begin with your journal or begin with a prayer. Be funny, but admit when you are deflecting.
- Say sorry, admit when you are wrong.
- Ask for help. Life can be very hard, but it becomes much less difficult when you say so.
- Slow down and think. No, slow down and feel.
- Breathe. Yeah, that one is damned hard because it means stopping.
- Take one step. Make it small, but take the step. If it is a step that feels like a leap, then just move your toe. Moving is what frees you.
- Find a spill partner. Find one person you can be completely honest with and spill.
- Get outside, go for a walk or a run. A physical outlet can ease the tension.
I am curious about you. If you are an avoider, what helps you to come clean? I would love to see you in the comments.
Keep it Real
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