What are distractions to us? Which are good and which are bad? Why do we do and how do we do? These are some valid concerns to how we distract ourselves and how some are good and some are bad. This topic I will be talking from an “I” perspective because I cannot speak for others and that is fair enough right? I’m going to say “right!”
I’ve noticed how I’ve used distractions in the past for mundane reasons to distract myself from what’s really going on for me. Examples like what’s going on for Joe Blow and what can I do to help him? As opposed to what’s going on for me, how can I help myself and what can I do right now (presence). I’ve also taken on more stuff that wasn’t my own and an example of that would be, why is this Joe guy pissed off? Maybe I can do something to cheer him up or take on what needs to be done (However that looks like).
Distractions come at me from every possible direction in life and how I was taught to deal with those distractions is eventually how I grew up dealing with everything to this day. When I first quite drinking and I took a bed at the men’s shelter, I didn’t want my life looking like what was all around me because I was already there and I already felt like a loser. I thought to myself that I could be stuck there and just use the system or I could take advantage of my situation and use those around me to encourage me to do better and not end up like them. (Horrible right? yeah but I didn’t want to dig any further).
What I did do was better myself however I started to distract myself with those around me by snooping around in their lives, their addictions and their choices. I wanted to fix them, I wanted to make them better rather than looking at myself cause of what was going on in my life. I didn’t want to look at me because I was already in a shelter, I had no money, I looked like crap and I didn’t want anyone I knew see me or know I was there.
That was how my life looked at that particular moment, I didn’t want to look at myself because that would entail looking at my truth and the truth in my life was what drove me to drinking so much to begin with as well as bits and pieces of unresolved trauma so I distracted myself anyway I could.
What does good distractions look like? They look like helping someone who actually needs it at that moment. Taking care of regular day to day things that needs to be done; laundry, errands, dropping your kids off at school, appointments etc.… yet I find myself getting distracted all the time. I started this yesterday and I know I picked up my phone a couple times to check Facebook, I went for a walk, I went for a smoke (I started smoking again blah) however without justifying what I did as distractions I can also say I was procrastinating and I read somewhere that to “Procrastinate” is not the doing nothing, but what is the particular feeling associated or behind why I am not doing what I’m supposed to be doing.
It’s that feeling associated with procrastinating that is stopping me. What was my feeling behind why I didn’t finish this yesterday? I know I could say that there is a ton of change happening in the recovery house right now and change is good, it’s not always easy to accept. I had something happen to me with someone else on Sunday and my mind was still comprehending what that was about and trying to just process that. I haven’t written a blog since about the middle of March and I’m scared that I’ve lost it or people won’t take me serious anymore. It’s been utter chaos since I’ve last written and so much change within me as well as around me. Hence the reason I would restart with “Distractions”
Procrastinating is one why we do, there are many others out there to name however I hope you get the picture. I just hope that the feeling behind those distractions are what your aware of when they happen. When we aren’t aware of these distractions we use, we become unwilling to change and this whole awareness is about growth within and about ourselves.
I also use the concept of “Knowing what we know, Knowing what we don’t know and Not knowing what we don’t know.” This as for myself, I did not know what I was distracting myself using techniques that I had learned from a child and perfected those techniques as I grew up. It took me to quit drinking and really look at my actions, my feelings, my thoughts and emotions to find this distracting behaviour and start addressing it.
Do you know how to stop this behavior? Learn grounding techniques, Be present in the moment, ask yourself throughout the day “How am I distracting myself?” I’m using my famous whiteboard and wrote that very thing down. You’re going to have to want this for yourself though and it only takes time and practice.