There is no mind without mindfulness.
Practicing mindfulness calms down the localized reflexive nervous system so that we are less likely to be thrown into fight, flight, freeze, or fuck. What were you thinking right before you threw yourself into a dry drunk? What was going on inside your mind right before you acted out your emotional trauma?
Supermarket check-out line therapy
A few days ago when I wheeled my shopping cart up to the supermarket checkout line I wanted to tell the un-masked young man in front of me that he should be wearing a mask. But instead of saying anything I kept my mouth shut. It felt good. I am older and wiser now and so I did not need to hear his infantile bullshit. I need to be safe and happy. So I let him pay for his groceries so that I could then pay for my own goods and continue on my way unimpeded. I didn’t let a selfish person delay me on the way to the golden silence of blissful solitude inside my home.
At the core of recovery is self-awareness
The most important phrases in EMDR and trauma therapy are “Notice that” and “What happens next?” Traumatized alcoholics live with exploding sensations. They feel loneliness and isolation in the core of their bodies. Alcoholics often state how they feel a “hole in my gut”. I used to walk around on the verge of a heart attack. Then one day I had a near fatal heart attack. These feelings cannot be avoided by ignoring them. Living in the unhealed psychic distress of trauma will eventually lead to acting out our trauma in one way or another. The childhood images imbedded deep within our sub-conscious are activated in the present moment. What happens next? Lashing out in an infantile rage or tuning into my body by practicing interoception?
What happens next . . . how about a little interoception instead of my usual automatic over-reacting?
Mindfulness of our brain and body enables us to practice interoception. Simply noticing my annoyance with un-masked individuals and the anxiety they create in my body is the first step. Notice that happens next? Do I choose to lash out at un-masked imbeciles in the supermarket or do I practice gratitude for my shopping cart full of clean healthy food? I am excited about turning 65 in a few months because then I will be on Medi-Care. So how about celebrating the fact that I have survived and thrived despite my traumatic childhood? When I look at the lives of my fucked-up siblings I become supremely grateful.
Practicing mindfulness helps me to shift my perspective and opens up new options other than my automatic, habitual over-reactions. Self-awareness puts me in touch with the transitory nature of my feelings and perceptions. Even though trauma is a thing of the past, the emotional brain keeps generating sensations that make my fear and suffering give me a feeling of perpetual helplessness. This timeless, ever-present experience of trauma-mind in my pain body are my proverbial demons that made me into an alcoholic. Practicing mindfulness conquers my demons!