Everybody gets to do what they want

Years ago, prior to embarking on a spectacularly unwise course of action, I ran the plan by my sponsor as a ‘hypothetical’ situation.

Truth be told, I didn’t really want nor need his opinion and he wasn’t going to sway me from the overwhelming, maddeningly compulsive need to act…

I ran it by him because I was ‘supposed to’ and so I could later emerge from the flaming debris and have an audience ‘on deck’ to field my complaints. I bolstered myself and made my case – basing it on ‘anything but a no = tacit approval.’

To my disbelief he said ‘Go ahead. Everybody gets to do what they want. That’s how you learn about the consequences of your patterns of behavior.’

Of course, I heard that as ‘It sounds like you have a heart of gold and a fantastic plan’ so…I went full steam ahead and drove straight into the ditch.

Ouch. I had sold myself a bill of goods…again. Double ouch. Why do I do this?

At that point in early sobriety, the idea that I could actually be aware of what I do and perhaps even stop doing it was a novel one and so…being a resident of the head and not the heart, I began to dissect, analyze and quantify anything and everything behavior related to near Sherlockian levels. That led to less overall collateral damage for sure, but growth as a human is limited at best.

How to reconcile mindfulness with obvious patterns of unhealthy behavior in yourself and others and not beat everyone up over it?

How to get a Sherlock to be compassionate?  That was the dilemma. Still is.

Old habits die hard unless you actively work on killing them. First and foremost, I have to drop the stories and op/ed pieces which is a tall order.

There is no right or wrong way to do it.

Everybody gets to do what they want.

Turns out that the Dharma has this covered if you are up for it – Buddhist Thought might consider it a ‘Karmic Propensity’ for unhealthy behaviors. Thich Nhat Hanh refers to it as the ‘Habit Energy’ that gets and keeps us stuck. Pema Chodron calls it getting ‘Hooked’ into old behaviors.

I’ve experienced it as thinking ‘If I could learn enough and know enough – the magical ‘Dukkha Free Path’ would present itself to me.’

The concept that ‘Someone or something external could end suffering’ – only leads to more suffering. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. This has to be learned from experience. Or not.

Everybody gets to do what they want.

I heard this at a meeting once, ‘If you’re still doing it…it’s not OLD behavior.’

Everybody gets to do what they want. Get better. Get worse. Move on. Stay stuck. Go forward or go back to the poisoned well for another frosty mug.

It’s all up for grabs. It isn’t right or wrong – it just is.

Everybody gets to do what they want and deal with the consequences. Or not.

See what I did there?

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