Call it a coping mechanism, a learned behavior, something ingrained into my psyche from listening to too many perpetuated loops of Tupac’s Me against the World…
(or maybe a combination of varying amounts of all..)
but when a person allows themselves to succumb to the ‘me against them’ mentality,
you can expect fatal results.
Yes, I said fatal.
This type of tunnel thinking is not only negative, dangerous, selfish, sort of pitiful and based on skewed reality, but is capable of completely ruining a person.
For me it began as a child. When I realized that either I figured things out, or they weren’t getting done, this mentality was planted.
Early on in my life as I was climbing into high shelved closets for medicine when I wasn’t feeling good, or figuring out a way to wash my own clothes, or wracking my brain trying to decide where I would shower that day it sort of did me in.
I developed this horrible “f*ck everyone, I will just do it myself” attitude very early on.
Reliance on ‘self’ was what worked for me.
This meant, I made a conscious decision not to trust or reach out to anyone for anything.
Any physical need that I had or any emotional need that I may have had (buried or not) –
I was only relying on myself to take care of it. Period.
This type of thinking was established early for me. It may have been a way of coping, but at the time I was surviving. It stuck, and it stuck because it worked.
During my teen years as I dabbled in rebellion, hating adults, and anyone of authority, I experimented with a long list of drugs and lots of alcohol.
As a young adult, this mentality became a wonderful companion to my addiction.
It killed any chance that I could have taken to change- before my addiction really took hold of my life, my person and my soul.
You see, when you develop this ‘one man army’ mentality….
you might be tired, but you won’t admit it
you may need help, but you won’t ask for it
you might be inches from the ledge, but are too stubborn to say it
there may be one person reaching their hand out to grab yours, but you will push it away.
you might realize that it ain’t working anymore, but you won’t know what to do instead.
It feels like it’s too late.
It can ‘feel’ like there is no turning back, and no one would get it anyway.
There will come a point when you realize that you are ashamed that after all of these years… ‘doing it on your own’ just isn’t cutting it anymore.
You simply don’t have access to any more strength within yourself to keep fighting.
Your burdens, or your shame, or maybe your mistakes or sadness- your isolation ..
It is all too heavy. It is not an ideal way to continue living your life. Hell, it isn’t really living at all.
For some of us, this is what makes reaching out for help after addiction so difficult.
We don’t ‘need’ help. (or so we thought).
You see, we are simply fighting the shadows in our head.
We are battling our own will to keep living the way that we thought we had to for so long.
Even in my 8th year of Recovery I battle this way of thinking from time to time when something or someone hurts me. I immediately want to be alone. I want to handle it by myself and I my first inclination is a nurse a desire to keep it all in. I dive into music or my own thoughts. It doesn’t bother me. I am cold as ice.
I have to intentionally reach out, and force myself to call someone.
I still have tendencies to allow myself to be vulnerable and am reluctant to admit that I need the people who God has placed in my life…at first.
But I am also at a place in my 8th year of Recovery where I trust God.
I understand the value and purpose of human relationship and I can combat and tell the difference between real truth, (God’s unchanging truth) and the lies.
We weren’t meant to bear burdens alone. We weren’t created to rely on ‘self’.
It was never God’s intention.
This is why this way of way of thinking kills. The kind that isolates.
As I said in the beginning of this post, with this type of thinking- you can expect fatal results.
If we are talking addiction- I believe that addiction loves this mentality. It is the best kind to feed on. It is a perfect and prime target.
Some people refuse to even consider that maybe, just maybe this is an instance where we won’t win. We can’t win. We don’t have the power to overcome and until we make the choice to put our hands up and surrender, we will just die piece by peice. In some cases it may take a while, but it will happen.
This way of thinking is fatal to any intimacy.
This way of thinking completely stunts our ability to develop a spiritual life.
This type of mindset won’t allow for any humility or accountability.
This attitude leaves no room for surrender.
It robs us of the ability to love anyone – fully.
It robs us of the ability to feel love or allow anyone to love us in a raw, real or vulnerable form.
We can never form trusting, solid, strong, loving relationships with other humans like we were created to do thinking like this.
So if this way of thinking doesn’t steal our life by isolating us,
it will take it by not allowing us to reach out when we are dying from the disease of addiction.
If it doesn’t kill us that way,
this mentality will take away any prospect of developing any connection with anyone on an emotional level.
So the next time you feel like putting your middle finger up or succumbing to the lies that isolation tries to make you believe-
try to be intentional and remember that you are not alone.
There ARE other people who have been where you are or who have felt what you are feeling.
There ARE people who care.
It IS okay to admit that you cannot do this alone.
It DOESN’T make you a weak person, it makes you a strong person for admitting that you need God’s help navigating life.