More, more, more!

I’m a construction guy. In construction, the more you’re able to produce the better you are. Any time spent not producing is wasted time. I was taught early on to “Hurry every chance you get,” and “Blow and go.” It’s actually why I was well suited to construction, and vice versa. In fact, it’s indicative of my life, my addictive behavior. More. More is a recurring theme in my life. If some is good, more is better. This was brought into crystal clear focus on a recent ski trip. 

While on the chair lift a thought occurred to me. I’ve been skiing a long time and I have never had any idea how fast I am. I found and downloaded an app that tracked my speed. Great idea, right? What could go wrong?  I opened the app and let rip. My first attempt netted me just over 47 mph!  My first thought was ”Holy cow, that’s pretty fast.” This thought was followed almost immediately by, “I’ve got to get to 50, that’s a nice round number.” Just a little more and I will be alright. If I get to 50 I’ll stop. So, I went again. On the next run, I made it to 52.7 miles per hour! Success, right? Wrong. Instead, very convincingly my head told me that I was so close to 55mph! 55 would be a really cool number to brag about. Now, I don’t think of myself as old but I’m also aware I’m no spring chicken and with age presumably comes some wisdom, right? At that moment I realized if I beat 55 by very much at all that would be painfully close to 60. I would need to get to 60, and then 65 is the speed limit on most freeways, freeway speed sounds so cool… see where this is going? Fortunately, I did too. Eventually, I would have achieved terminal velocity and just exploded, ending up in the hospital or dead. That’s how I work. And if I am telling the truth, as I sit here, I want to try again, I probably will… next time. Just a little more.

Part of me is still not satisfied, never will be, most likely. It’s indicative of my addictive personality. Just like with booze… almost just like with booze. Except for me, with booze, there was no stopping. Rational thought was a whisper, if anything at all. There was almost no ability to recognize that what I was doing was dangerous. Even thinking about stopping made me drink more. I felt better with booze. I felt better about myself. Actually, that’s not quite right. When drinking, I paid less attention to how worried I was about what you thought of me. Like emotional blinders, booze didn’t really change anything, it just made me less aware. I wanted you to love me without me doing anything at all to earn it. All the rewards without any risk. High ego, low self-esteem.

In recovery, I try to think of myself less to think more of myself. For me to feel better about myself, what works best is to be better for others. I have found the only way to do that is to help others which in turn helps me. The only thing that’s ever worked to stop me from wanting more for myself is to stop thinking about me. I am never more fulfilled than when I can help show someone the way out of a seemingly hopeless situation. There is just nothing better, and I want more.

Help others find happiness. Help others, find happiness. 

When I get that right, it’s enough.

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