a metacognitive meditation on blogging for recovery #alanon #na #aa #da #slaa #oa

June 22, 2014 § Leave a comment

I was talking to my friend in recovery this morning about the role blogging plays in coming to terms with the issues that drove my addiction(s) (to food, debt, love and romance, drugs, alcohol, people). In a traditional step 5 I would write my way through steps 1, 2, 3, and 4 and then share my writing with my sponsor. The act of writing down my own internal and external realities serves to put into words memories, experiences and activities that had remained vaguely undefined in my own awareness. Enunciating events and encounters into words provides a way to explain or describe, to myself, the internal and external realities of my day to day life. In the process of describing, I broaden my perspectives and deepen my understanding of my own condition. This process then informs the next round of description, and with each pass I become better at putting things into words.

During this process the relationship with my sponsor becomes a model for an initial experience of building a trusting bond with another human being. The act of sharing my writing with a dispassionate sponsor serves to give me an objective view of my own thinking and behaviours, it also has the potential of giving me perspective of the conditions within which these thinking patterns and behaviour rituals are endorsed.  I record and then reveal my deepest secrets, shames, and desires. My sponsor listens, asks probing questions, and guides me to know myself better without any agenda that objectifies my healing process for their own gain or for their own self-centred purposes. Through this process I gain trust that my needs and vulnerability will not be used against me, and that sharing my inner life with another human being draws us closer together.

In my step 5 relationship my real identity is made known through my writing in private and confidential relationship with my real sponsor. My drive for connectivity is realized in a one to one relationship.

I am noticing the act of blogging is having a similar effect to sharing a step 5, but it is an inverse of autonomy and privacy. As I blog my way through this recovery process, I hide my real identity to protect the people in my family who would be hurt if they knew the content of my writing. Anonymity gives me the freedom to write about topics that would otherwise intimidate me (like sex and emotional incest). At the same time, I am writing for an imagined reader, an ideal listener who provides me with a safe container to express my darkest, most confusing shadows, to put those vague dark shadows into words, and bring those dark words into the light of day. The process of putting those fleeting encounters of ick into words helps me to explain to myself what it is that I have encountered, what I have experienced, and what meaning I derive from the moment. Working through this process helps me to understand the workings of my own mind in a new way, giving me an opportunity to broaden my perspectives and deepen my understandings. It also helps me to articulate the conditions of my emergence — the networks of relationships and environments that are so familiar to me that I do not see them. When I do this, I cannot help but adopt new ways of living because the very core of my sensory motor data is changing.

My blogging relationships are conducted between a pseudonym that protects my identity in relation to an unknown public, whose identity is also protected. But the act of putting life experiences into words serves the same purpose and builds the same sense of connectivity, in this case, not to a single human being, but to a sense of being part of humanity in general. A sense of belonging to the field, rather than sticking out as an anomaly in a dysfunctional family system.

What I know today is that blogging my recovery and healing from decades of neglect, abandonment, betrayal, disavowal, disrespect, and hypocrisy is working for me today. I feel a sense of clarity, of thoughts that are not randomly flitting from one crevice to another. I also know that I can sit down and write down the specifics of any encounter and make sense of it over time.

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