“If I had a superpower, it’d be persistence.” I’m tested against that seemingly arrogant statement every moment of every day. There will always be reasons to slip. Peace might just be unobtainable through any other means than constant conflict, yet that’s the only way I see that will get me to a place where I won’t feel tempted due to insecurity, doubt, or misery. To persist in the face of adversity is my comfort zone.
It used to start with motivational images.
I would spend hours looking for motivation to get started on working on my problems. It’d be easy to blame those external factors of not finding the right quote or image that would remind me of what I should be doing. Procrastinating is easy when you don’t have any overarching goals or things that will make your life less difficult. It’s easy to give up and sleep for hours on end when you don’t feel that these goals will help make your life easier, and when sleeping gives you a release of those senses that might overwhelm you.
The thing to do is to just keep going.
I keep going by figuring out what I can do with the effort I have available in the moment. My normal work pace is to work until I’m done or run out of time. If I’m on my A-game and have a free day, I can churn out thousands of words without any friction. On the days that were more common for me in years past, I’d waste days between procrastination, masturbation, and escapism. I’ve been better about noticing the trends now, so I can start to do productive things to help my present and future, rather than just do nothing.
What can you do within five minutes?
Can you pay utilities? Can you check your email? Can you clean your kitchen? My mind works in this scattered, multi-threading sense where I’m comfortable writing sections of something over the course of days, doing pieces of work, or in other ways, jumping between thought patterns quickly as needed. While dedicated time is ideal, if I have five minutes to wait before someone is going to call me, then I clean the area around me, or do something really quick to improve my general area. That will often lift my attitude and mindset.
I apply that to everything else in life.
When life sucks and I don’t feel like engaging with it in any capacity, that’s the most dangerous time for addicts, because that’ll be the time when we drive to the store to buy alcohol, hit up our contacts, or get creative. Those moments typically happen in tandem with being bored with life. Get invested in something mildly interesting. Spend the next five minutes doing something completely uncomfortable. Forget the past and present. Let your mind wander toward a future goal that is actually obtainable.
Something shitty happen to damper your mood?
Welcome to planet Earth. Bad shit happens daily.
|Quotes:  Me.
Sources: My personal experiences.
Inspirations: Trying to get over feeling shitty. Essays in this weekly column are more abstract versions of what I might tell people in AA or NA meetings.
Related: My Sober Living column.
Photo: A Batman figure stuck in a light post in the city.