(my take on the second part of 15 Things You Should Give Up to Be Happy)
I grew up thinking that the antidote for lack of control was to insist on my need for control. To be drunk was a character defect springing out of lack of control and if I am to be a person of good character, I would just not allow that to happen. If I mention that I have reached a sobriety milestone, I still hear that message. So I tend not to mention those milestones if I have reason to think that message is going to be reinforced.
I’ve learned at least a little over the last couple years. Giving up control doesn’t necessarily lead to being out of control. My out of control addiction isn’t helped by my need for control. As a matter of fact, my obsession with control adds more fuel.
So I’ve settled on this wisdom: I voluntarily give up my obsessive need for control because it just flat out doesn’t work. I don’t spin out of control at the same time because I rest on something else to establish the kind of control over the things I can’t control in my life. That something which we sometimes refer to as a Higher Power is for me God of the Judeo-Christian faith. And I don’t have to control others’ understandings of what Higher Power means. I don’t need to feel threatened about differences.
Every time I feel the compulsion to exercise control during the day over things I can’t control, I do need to stop and realize what I’m doing. I remind myself that whatever this thing is, it’s not mine to control and I can trust that it won’t spin out of control because I made a choice to give that control to God.
Simple, yes. Easy, no. But I’ve made it almost 18 months without picking up that first drink and this is how I did it.