1 cup low self esteem
2 cups superiority complex
½ cup imposter syndrome
½ cup sense of entitlement
1/4 cup shame
1 cup dark sense of humor
3 1/2 cups anxiety
1 cube of trauma (only if you like the taste)
2 tablespoons Acute awareness of discomfort
3 tablespoons Inability to sit in discomfort
3/4 cup sense of wonder
1 teaspoon desire to drink oneself to death
2 teaspoons desire to stop drinking
A dash of faith
A pinch of grace
Five seconds before awakening, place all ingredients in your head blender.
Hit MAX or CHURN on your blender's speed settings (depending on your mood) and commence your day.
Ingest one smoothie, upon awakening, once a day, every day, until you die.
And there you have it. The Blenderhead Smoothie. Easy as pie to make. Not as easy to live with. Today at my A.A. meeting someone reminded me of the old adage that “it’s called alcohol-ISm, NOT alcohol-WASm". I loved hearing that because even though I put the booze down long ago, all those Blenderhead Smoothie ingredients still conspire against me. They sneak past my battlements, gather in my head, and get ready for sunrise, night after night, year after year.
But it’s not all that bad honestly. And as I have been drinking this concoction for so long, I now have ways of dealing with everything that it takes to make one:
Low self esteem - My self esteem usually comes from esteemable acts. So I can do something nice for someone else and tell no one about it. I can also attend an A.A. meeting as they almost always make me feel better about myself. The simple act of sitting in that chair for one hour reminds me, through just having made the effort to be there, that I am at least trying to get better. That I am at least attempting to be less of a Blenderhead.
Superiority complex - I try to remember the words of Dr. Herbert Schofield: "Egotism is the anesthetic which nature gives us to deaden the pain of being a fool."
Imposter syndrome - This seems especially prevalent in artists and addicts - and as it turns out, I am both. When I feel like a fraud, I remind myself that professionally I got to where I am with diligence, hard work and some very good fortune. And in all my years traveling for my job, not once has a client found out that I’m not what they thought I was, ripped me out of my hotel bed at 3 a.m. and told me to pack my bags and SCRAM! I’m not saying it won’t happen one day, but so far it has not. The same holds true in my personal relationships. When someone in my life tells me they appreciate me, I no longer explain to them why they should certainly NOT appreciate me. Instead, I thank them and try to appreciate myself. Which, for someone like me, is not the natural state of affairs.
Sense of entitlement - I’m still working on this one. I often feel I “deserve” a life free from suffering. Everyone, at some point in their time here, has to deal with suffering, to deal with pain. The first noble truth of Buddhism is that everyone suffers and that suffering is part of life. The upside is that pain, like it or not, is almost always the touchstone for growth.
Shame - Of course, while active in addiction, my shame levels were sky-high. Like can't look at yourself in the mirror high. All that exhausting sneaking about and lying and sketchiness does have its cost. I believed that once sober, this internal sense of shame would go away. Although when I really think about it I see that my internal sense of shame was there long before I put that very first alcoholic drink to my lips. And oddly, it's still there sometimes. Shame about being an addict. Shame about being "different" from the majority of humanity. The "normies" who can have a glass of wine or two and stop. Even shame about the way my mind operates and maneuvers against me. So when I feel shame, I look at my life today and remind myself that, although I did live a shameful life while trapped in addiction, those days are over and there is no shame in being different. In fact, I think different may be the new normal.
Dark sense of humor - The recipe calls for 1 cup but I often double or even triple that amount, as needed.
Anxiety - This is my least favorite ingredient but the one I have had the longest acquaintance with. I try, best I can, to handle the anxiety the way that one might break in a wild mustang. I admire its strength. I understand that it can unseat me. I try not to let it scare me. And I don’t let it forget that there's a new sheriff in town and for the foreseeable future that is me and I am the boss.
1 cube trauma - The original recipe calls for trauma only if you like the taste but the older I get I’m beginning to think that no life is ever free from some trauma. The highly ignominious way we arrive here, naked, screaming, covered in goop, should certainly be enough to prove to everyone that being human sure ain't for sissies.
Awareness of discomfort - Instead of running from discomfort, or trying to shush it up it with drugs and alcohol, I now sometimes turn around to face it. To have some curiosity about where that discomfort is coming from and how better to understand it. To even (and this is the hard part) make friends with it.
Inability to sit in discomfort - I try to remember that all things come and go, including discomfort. But if I’m still crawling out of my skin, I can happily distract myself with any number of things which are not drugs or alcohol. I can exercise, nap, get outside, take a walk, do yoga, take deep breaths, drink a glass of water, call someone who could use a call. All while knowing that this too shall pass. But almost more importantly knowing that this too is passing.
A sense of wonder - I only have to open my eyes and look out, not in.
A seeming desire to drink oneself to death - Unfortunately that seems to be the price of admission to A.A. A steep and sometimes fatal price tag. But it’s part of the recipe so…onwards.
A desire to stop drinking - This is where the magic happens. Where everything, all the ingredients, miraculously begin to come together.
A dash of faith - This ingredient you cannot omit. And it only needs to be the faith that possibly, one day, you might be able to stop drinking or abusing drugs.
A pinch of grace - This is a vital part of the concoction - although, truth be told, I think someone keeps sneaking much more than a pinch into my daily smoothie.
I’m pretty sure that I just might always be a Blenderhead. Waking up, startled, with untreated alcoholism and all those complex, confusing ingredients spinning around in my head. On MAX or GRIND or sometimes even PURÉE. And if that's the case, then so be it. In A.A. I have acquired tools to manage all of those Blenderhead ingredients. And when I have handled them correctly and started my day there are two items not listed in the recipe that often float to the top and fill my Blenderhead to overflowing. Causing all the other ingredients to magically disappear. Those two, very welcome and naturally occurring ingredients are Joy and Gratitude. So for all the noise and the mess and the cleanup I’m finding that my daily, sometimes frustrating, Blenderhead smoothie, although tinged with some bitterness, is actually much sweeter than it sounds.