Into the Great Wide Open

It all started with a podcast entitled, “This Episode is Sugar Free.” Now, that title alone only communicates so much. For me, it led to more questions than answers. Are we talking about diabetes? Is this an opportunity to not be false or sugar coated at all? Is it going to be bland and boring? Is it chock full of certain artificial sweeteners which are known to make people run quickly to the nearest restroom should they eat too many as has often been the case with sugar-free gummy bears? (Side Note: If you need a good laugh, go read the customer reviews here.)

As the conversation evolved, it became rather familiar. The conversation was about things in our life that are like sugar – things we like or enjoy or use to cope – things we might be better off giving up altogether. Things like substance abuse, impulse control and behavioral addictions. This might look like drugs, alcohol, aggression, stealing, gambling, food, sex, pornography, work or exercise, just to name a few. Many of those are fine in moderation, but something happens when they take over our lives. We become dependent upon them to survive, so we want to carry them with us into all future endeavors. And this is where the blog picks up.

“Some things are not going to be able to go with you into the future. And if you’re like me, sometimes there’s this moment of, like, “I can’t imagine my life without that.” And so what you’re really dealing with is a crisis of imagination because those grooves get worn deep, don’t they? You get used to your world being a particular way.

I need imagination here because I’m so stuck. This thing has its claws so deep in me. These grooves are worn over so many years that the idea that I can live without that – the idea that I could be free – is even hard for my mind to imagine it.

Sometimes it’s about taking one step and then one step and then one step and then one step and just gradually growing as you move from one place to the next.

What you really need is a death and a resurrection.

…the thought of ‘how would you get through today without that’ is just like, “I don’t even know how I’d get through the next hour.”

You have to tap in to what it is you want more…to a vision of what you want your life to be…”

Perhaps this is where you are. You’ve been living with something or someone for so long that you simply cannot imagine life without it or without him or without her. But you’re not a vinyl record. It may seem that way. It may seem like the needle is stuck and your world is simply playing the same part over and over again.

Well, guess what. Life doesn’t have to be that way. But if you want something different for your life, if you want to change, if you want something better, something more, something different, you’re gonna have to do something different.

Make a decision. Figure out what it is in your life that you want to be different. Figure out what you have to do to make that happen. Get rid of who you have to get rid of. Get rid of what you have to get rid of. And get help. You can’t be expected to do this on your own. You won’t be able to do this on your own, so don’t. Reach out. Find people whose experience, strength and hope can spur you on toward a better future.

It is hard to imagine what your life could be like without “it” because you’ve lived with “it” for so long. The way we get through the next hour, the next minute, the next moment is to “make the very best of every precious moment we are given” (How Al-Anon Works, p.73). We must work together to remember, or to figure out, what life is like when we are capable of experiencing the full range of human emotion.

Take one step.

Do the next right thing.

Then another, and another, and another.

– Alex Walker, with excerpts from Robcast Episode 37, “This Episode is Sugar Free”

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