The Role of Relaxation in Recovery

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The Role of Relaxation in Recovery

Post by pinback » Wed Feb 11, 2015 9:20 am

Due to my very positive experiences with the several-times-aforementioned "nerve tonic", it occurs to me that relaxation is the recovering addict's best friend. Here's why:

An addict has an uncalm mind. I myself can tell that my cravings and desperation for vodka are at their highest when my mind is going a mile a minute. That's another symptom of depression, too. The mind is a thought factory, and for depressives, the factory workers always work overtime, and the stuff they churn out is rarely good.

So the thought factory's in full swing, and you're getting sliced and diced by its machinery, and you know the one single thing that will make it all feel better. So you do it. You do it, because you want a calm mind.

How to get a calm mind, now, that's the trick. The most natural answer is to look for ways to change your mind, other mental gymnastics you can do to get the thing to quiet down.

Unfortunately, this does not, and can never work. It is, as the Buddhists like to say, like a knife trying to cut itself. Using your mind to calm your mind inherently prevents a calm mind. Says so right there in the description.

There is a mind-body connection, though, that goes like this: "An uncalm body cannot coexist with a calm mind". If your mind is calm, your body is relaxed. That's just how it is.

But there's a great secret there, a loophole, a magic trick. See, it goes both ways:

An uncalm mind cannot coexist with a calm body.

If your body is relaxed, your mind will calm. That's it. That's the shortcut, and the recovering addict's best friend.

That's why exercise is always recommended. After exercise, your body's spent, there's no more agitation left in it.

That's why they say take deep breaths. Deep breathing relaxes the body.

That's why nerve tonic works.

When in doubt, remember Tuco.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_8ZdlezCV4[/youtube]
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Re: The Role of Relaxation in Recovery

Post by Tdarcos » Wed Feb 11, 2015 6:58 pm

pinback wrote:Due to my very positive experiences with the several-times-aforementioned "nerve tonic", it occurs to me that relaxation is the recovering addict's best friend. Here's why:

An addict has an uncalm mind.
Cut to TV Commercial:

"I dp coke so I can work more hours. So I can make more money. So I can do more coke [speeds up] so I can work more hours. So I can make more money. So I can do more coke..." Shows man speeding faster and faster as he's chasing his tail around a circle.

Some addictions are worse than others. After I got fired back in 1994 I more-or-less crawled into a hole, went on job interviews, and played DOOM ten hours a day. It wasn't until I went out to National Airport on an interview that I discovered that Steven Breyer had been appointed to the U.S Supreme Court, I'd spent the entire period of his confirmation more-or-less incommunicado. The realization that I was so engrossed in video games that I was ignoring the world kind of shook me up a bit.
I myself can tell that my cravings and desperation for vodka are at their highest when my mind is going a mile a minute.
Personally, I've found that's when I've done my best work as a programmer, when i get into the zone and I'm like a laser-focused chainsaw. When you get in The Zone, the time just flies by and the work is so much fun. Of course, I've known I'm a compulsive programmer ever since I read Gerald Weinberg's The Psychology of Computer Programming more than 30 years ago, so you can take that with whatever level of salt you choose for flavor.
That's another symptom of depression, too. The mind is a thought factory, and for depressives, the factory workers always work overtime, and the stuff they churn out is rarely good.
I gather you've worked in a few programming shops. Sounds a lot like the situation at Crunch Time near an important release date.

Of course, I discovered I was manic-depressive when I went on Phen-Fen almost 20 years ago. You probably don't realize you're in depression until you come out of it, although sometimes you can sense something is wrong, that there is something wrong with the world. I came to that conclusion back around 1978 when I read a book that made me realize I was what was wrong. It might be helpful to you.
Unfortunately, this does not, and can never work. It is, as the Buddhists like to say, like a knife trying to cut itself. Using your mind to calm your mind inherently prevents a calm mind. Says so right there in the description.
And I'm calling bullshit on this. It is possible to do this, and some people can use their own mind to calm itself. I've done it. I learned a lot once I was cleared up and could recognize reality. (Phen-Fen did a whole lot for me that nothing else came close to. I tried Prozac (R); it didn't do anything for me.) I learned to forgive all of my enemies, including my worst enemy, who sabotaged my efforts and betrayed me at almost every turn. It was the hardest thing I ever did, to one day, turn to him, look him in the face, and tell him I know about every thing he did wrong to me, and I still could forgive him. Then I stepped away from the mirror and went on with my life, with my new best friend.

I show this in my actions, and you've probably noticed it, especially when you recorded me for the (in)famous "There's no fucking spirit here!" speech. First, I do not store anger. I am a teapot. I vent my anger when it happens, I accept that I get angry, I let it go and I move on. I try to learn from my mistakes and errors, but I do not blame myself for them.

I just happen to be a very strong person emotionally and I am able to understand myself. Other people don't have the strength or capacity to do what is necessary, and for many of them, they need professional help, just like how some people can do their own taxes and some people require professional assistance.

The inability to resolve one's problems by oneself is not a sign of weakness or failure of character. It simply means that those who can do this are much stronger. Some people have the capability to do this. It doesn't reflect badly on someone's character if they can't do it alone.
An uncalm mind cannot coexist with a calm body.
Again I have to call bullshit on this one. Maybe 30 years ago I had a starburst migraine headache, at one point it got to a certain peak of agony and I could admire how amazing it was even if it hurt worse than a son-of-a-hitch. My body was calm even if my mind was being driven out by the pain. I never took anything, it went away about 45 minutes later. Never had one before, never had one again.

I've had times when my mind was racing and excited even though my body was completely at rest. Now if you want to claim that you can't have an unbalanced condition for very long periods of time, that I would agree with. But you can often function for days or weeks or months in an unbalanced state. The Soviet Union lasted for 70 years in a state of what can best by described as paranoid schizophrenia.
That's why exercise is always recommended. After exercise, your body's spent, there's no more agitation left in it.
Dance works here too. As sung by King Harvest in Dancing in the Moonlight in 1966: "We like our fun and we never fight / You can't dance and stay uptight / It's a supernatural delight."

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEb8tuYhDBI[/youtube]
That's why they say take deep breaths. Deep breathing relaxes the body.
It's because it takes longer, thus slowing you down, and increases the oxygenation of the bloodstream. As was pointed out in the movie The Andromeda Strain (1971) when Dr. Dutton panicked after a lab accident, Dr. Stone switched the air conditioning to push pure oxygen into the room to slow his breathing down.
That's why nerve tonic works.
From what I saw, I think nerve tonic tends to be a phosphoric compound of various components. What is being done is that it resolves a chemical imbalance. This is also why the metal lithium helps some people. (This is the same stuff used in Lithium-Ion batteries, the way hydrochloric acid, the strongest acid in the world, is currently eating away at the lining of your stomach. Your body has to regrow your stomach lining on about a weekly basis.)
When in doubt, remember Tuco.
Oh funny, Ben, funny. Use the example of a sociopathic drug kingpin subject to violent outbursts and killing as an example of someone to look up to as a model of relaxation!

That's really funny.
The lessons of history teach us - if they teach us anything - that no one learns the lessons of history. tdarcos@tdarcos.com

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Post by pinback » Fri Feb 20, 2015 9:46 am

It occurs to me that I may have just been born with (or raised with) the most vicious affliction affecting the human race today, which is: An uncalm mind.

This is likely the core that leads to addiction, obesity, all the other shit I've piled on myself. The next drink, the next bite, the next something is necessary to calm the otherwise tempestuous string of nonstop nervous thoughts coursing through the mind.

When I take my dietary supplements and nerve tonic, it chills me out. It calms the mind, and there's a base sense of general well-being in the present moment.

I imagine that this is actually how "normal" people not so afflicted feel most of the time.

I imagine this is, for instance, how Robb usually feels. Things are okay, there's a general positive or at least "cozy" feeling to right now, and so there's no compulsion to find something to make it that way.

Is there any truth to this?
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Post by RealNC » Fri Feb 20, 2015 1:32 pm

pinback wrote:Is there any truth to this?
I'd say yes. When I'm doing nothing, I cannot "just enjoy the calm" as most people seem to do. I need to always be doing something. Something *active*, that is. Reading a book, listening to music or watching a movie rarely cuts it. Having a smoke seems to help somewhat.

However, instead of eating or drinking, for me it's playing chess, a video game, or writing code. I smoke less when doing any of these.

So maybe picking up chess and programming would help? Any chess clubs near you?

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Post by Ice Cream Jonsey » Fri Feb 20, 2015 2:33 pm

I just happen to be a very strong person emotionally and I am able to understand myself. Other people don't have the strength or capacity to do what is necessary, and for many of them, they need professional help, just like how some people can do their own taxes and some people require professional assistance.
We're just going to let this go, I see. Which is fine! For I also have a calm mind and can let this whopper of a statement go.
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Post by Fatass » Thu Mar 19, 2015 6:51 pm

The whole thing about the uncalm mind, holy shit, you nailed that. Trying to calm yourself being the knife that tries to cut itself, that's fucking perfect. It's why I drink, it's why most people smoke weed. If I could, I'd smoke weed, but whereas a couple glasses of wine makes my mind calm down, I don't know how to do weed in moderation, what calms other people down gets me high as fuck, it turns the mental mind speed up even more with the addition of paranoia and a complete stop in productivity. 10% of the time I get the perfect amount and I'm so calm and clear and YES FUCK YES, and the other 90% I'm like OH GOD MAKE THIS STOP. I'll stick with the wine. I may be an alcoholic, but I'm pretty comfortable with it, honestly. 2-3 glasses of wine a day make me a much happier, productive, and calm person. This is much, much less than what I used to drink. But yeah, if there was a way to make my brain stop with the unending litany how much of a loser I am and how I hate these things and those things and those things over there, I'd jump on that shit.

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Post by pinback » Sun Mar 22, 2015 6:36 am

Fatass wrote:But yeah, if there was a way to make my brain stop with the unending litany how much of a loser I am and how I hate these things and those things and those things over there, I'd jump on that shit.
I've been searching for 15 years and this is the only way I've found that works, and am convinced more every day is ultimately the only thing that can work. Nothing in this book is new, it's just the most straightforward, clearest, and least hippie-dippie way I've heard it described.

That's why I wanted Paul to read it, so he could tell me why it's wrong.

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Post by RetroRomper » Thu Apr 09, 2015 1:25 pm

Uh... Isn't an uncalm mind noting something called "running thoughts," which is usually a trait associated with depression / anxiety?
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Post by pinback » Sat Apr 11, 2015 6:32 am

RetroRomper wrote:Uh... Isn't an uncalm mind noting something called "running thoughts," which is usually a trait associated with depression / anxiety?
Yes.

Fatass

Post by Fatass » Wed Apr 15, 2015 6:57 pm

Yes, also. The official diagnosis is 'panic disorder' or some shit, with anxiety being the underlying cause. Also to note: anxiety and depression are basically the same thing physiologically, just manifesting in different ways. Lack of serotonin.

Anyway, 1.5 hours at the gym 4 times a week, 2-3 glasses of wine a night, avoiding stressful crowds, Ativan, nerd diving into my hobbies, kicking a couple assholes out of my life, doing mentally easy but physically active jobs, cooking healthily, and cutting aspartame from my diet has made me the most stable person I've ever been in my life. If someone says 'OH BUT YOU NEED ALCOHOL YOU ARE AN ALCOHOLIC' or 'NOBODY CARES ABOUT YOUR ORGANIC CARROTS' then fuck those people. Learning how to not constantly judge myself has been the single biggest obstacle ever, but it's the only one that will ultimately work.

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