There is no power in delusion. Yet, we keep a lot of delusions around. The reason we keep them is that sometimes they seem to serve a purpose. Telling yourself that drinking is what is getting you through a crisis—while being prone to addiction—is a form of delusion. Promising yourself that you will address old traumas through therapy one day is a form of delusion. Picking a specific sobriety date is a form of delusion. Saying, “I’ll do it next week” is a form of delusion. Delay is a form of delusion. What is not a delusion is actually doing the things. Often, our very sanity depends on discipline.
In these unprecedented times, it can be hard to find discipline. While the world seems to be on hold, the days of the week suddenly seem arbitrary. Deadlines seem ridiculous, and making plans seems like a gamble. I know that pretending that things are as they used to be might seem like the biggest delusion, however, paradoxically, it’s just the opposite. Allowing ourselves to coast and use the lockdown as an excuse to avoid responsibilities and dismiss our mental health will have a negative consequence in the future. We must make an effort to participate in life now more so than ever. The reality is life still goes on, and we should be prepared for it.
In my own practice, I tend to my mental health daily. I’m vigilant about my recovery/well-being and make sure that I stay connected to what nourishes me and supports me. That means talking to loved ones and others in recovery, or reading literature on it, checking with trusted accountability partners, meditating, practicing my philosophy, and always—always—checking in with myself to make sure that I stay grounded and in reality.
I understand that not everyone has those kinds of practices in place, but I encourage you to come up with even the most straightforward plan. This could be 10 minutes of meditation, one phone call with a supportive friend, maybe reading a self-help book, or an article on-line that talks about mental health. Add to it some exercise or even something as non-demanding as going for a walk, and you have a small routine devoted to your well-being. Having a routine will prevent you from falling for one of those aforementioned delusions. It will also give you a feeling of having accomplished something. In turn, it will also make any of those daunting things that you would like to put off seem way more achievable. Make sure, too, that you set an intention to complete this routine and acknowledge each time that it has a purpose -and that this purpose is to improve your life. From my experience, I can tell you that developing those kinds of practices helps immensely to fight off any delusions. What is left is reality, which is liberating and allows us to grow and heal.
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