“INSTANT GRATIFICATION takes too long.” I couldn’t agree more.
Fellow emotionally transparent addict and alcoholic Carrie Fisher sums up the problem with INSTANT GRATIFICATION … Just beautifully.
Delayed GRATIFICATION is not something that came naturally to me when I got clean and sober back in 1995. Actually it was one of the most demanding Emotional Fitness workouts I had to do. And on a bad day, a few decades down the track, I still find emotionally draining.
Now I haven’t picked up booze or drugs since 1995, but have I swapped the witch for the bitch on occasion? Oh yeah.
Have I inhaled chocolate followed by jumbo-size bags of potato chilli chips? Oh my Giddy Aunt, yes I have. The good ol’ sugar and salt swing can send you just as crazy as a coupla tequila shots. I’m just sayin’…
Then a few years back the other witch I became unfaithful with after dumping my bitches booze and drugs was an unhealthy obsession with exercise. My personal trainer back in early 2000s became like my drug dealer. I was a pain in the arse, telling everyone I met how much exercise I could do, how super fit I was, how heavy the weights were I could lift, and how many push-ups I could nail nonstop. I just loved the false sense of superiority it injected like heroin into the veins of my fragile ego. INSTANT GRATIFICATION, pleasure junkie, yes, been there, done that and proudly wore the T-shirt too! For weeks on end, without washing it. I stunk in other words.
Weapons of mass distraction, anything that offered me INSTANT GRATIFICATION when I did not want to sit with feeling fragile or lost, I have craved and gorged upon.
Any recovering addict will admit that we use substances, people, places and things so we can attempt to control what we do or don’t want to feel. Both happy and sad feelings. Anything that makes us feel too good or too bad we run from. INSTANT GRATIFICATION, helps us escape. Now that might sound crazy to a non-addict.
Why would you run from feeling too good?
Addicts and alcoholics hit booze and drugs the hardest when they are commiserating and/or celebrating. Sure, when the shit hits the fan in life, anesthetising uncomfortable feelings while in a state of dark despair, many can relate to. But for me these days, when the going gets good, too good, that is when I struggle the most.
When my husband takes me on any holiday to some of the most beautiful places on the planet is when my most demanding Emotional Fitness homework begins. Being away from routine, trying to relax and reap the rewards of our hard work, and feeling worthy to pick from the top-shelf options in life has been difficult for me. You see many of us addicts/alcoholics do it the toughest when life or a lover lets us know we are deserving, lovable and so worth the very best this world has to offer.
For me genuine hard-earnt reward has felt like disinfectant on a wound. Staying in The Hotel De Paris in Monte Carlo, shopping in St Tropez, Paris, Venice, Santorini and New York seemed just too good to be true for me. For those who have followed some of my travel blogs will recall, it is during these good times that I needed to write more, meditate more and connect with fellow recovering addicts so much more. It helped me stop my old knee-jerk reaction of self-sabotage, punishing and trashing myself with the old …
“You don’t deserve this, don’t get too happy, good things never last.” If I picked up booze or drugs I could in an INSTANT prove myself right. An addicts ego finds it GRATIFYING to make their fears come true, even if it means at the expense of our own happiness. So sad, but so very true. A hard habit to unlearn.
Delayed GRATIFICATION for the addict allows what our heart’s deepest long-term dreams are a chance of coming true, winning over our ego’s short-term need to say “I told you so. Life is shit, love is shit, poor me, poor me, pour me another drink”!
INSTANT GRATIFICATION is all about diversion. Emotional diversion away from being present to the best and the worst of ourselves. Some of us have never felt emotionally safe being unashamedly happy and proud of ourselves and our accomplishments. It can feel wrong. Especially for those who were designated family scapegoat roles, not family hero. Scapegoats are not supposed to shine, only the hero child is allowed to, for the scapegoat’s job is to wear all the family’s shame.
Being transparent about the worst of ourselves and loved regardless is what Carrie Fisher has so admirably and bravely achieved in my view. Carrie Fisher, who played Princess Leia in the legendary Star Wars franchise, once said she did so much cocaine while filming The Empire Strikes Back that even famed Hollywood addict John Belushi told her to slow it down.
If less of us INSTANT GRATIFICATION junkies were more emotionally transparent (like Carrie) the shame would decrease and more solutions and support would have a chance to increase. I was in awe when on the world stage while presenting the award for Best Animated Show at the 40th annual Daytime Emmy Awards show she introduced herself by saying …
“Hi, I’m Carrie, I’m an alcoholic. And a drug addict.”
Al Pacino in Scarface (another of my favorite movies) and Leonardo Di Caprio in The Wolf of Wall Street have dramatised accurately where being seduced by INSTANT GRATIFICATION will lead us in life in the long run.
But INSTANT GRATIFICATION is all about short term. The long run? What’s that? Live hard, die young and leave a good-looking corpse. Might have worked for James Dean, but really?
For many of us wishful thinking and wishful drinking often go hand-in-hand. It is a myth that booze and drugs help relax and build quality relationship potential by loosening us up. They all actually harm relationships and dick around with our nervous system, distorting or numbing our heart’s truth.
Any sense of improved relaxation through drugs and alcohol is anesthetised anxiety that is hidden.
So why not review when and in what role these two words may play in your life. When it comes to reviewing the pros and cons around INSTANT GRATIFICATION I suggest it is wise for us to consider not sacrificing what our heart desires most for the point our fearful ego wants to prove, here and now. Right now, not later. It’s now or never as far as INSTANT GRATIFICATION is concerned. However, our heart knows that love and those who care about us can and will wait can delay GRATIFICATION.
I have found in the past 20 years of going toe-to-toe with my ego’s immature and insatiable desire for INSTANT GRATIFICATION, and thanking the heavens that one day at a time, the following to be true. …
A good laugh, a deep cry and a long sleep are three of the most reliable cures for almost anything that is troubling our ego.
I will finish off with another of Carrie Fisher’s simply put wise quotes relating to overcoming INSTANT GRATIFICATION …
“Sometimes you can only find heaven by slowly backing away from hell.”
Lotsa love Cynthia xxx
© Copyright 2016 Cynthia J. Morton Emotional Fitness™
This Word Vitamin is an excerpt from my latest bookset “The Four Seasons of the Heart”. If you would like to order your own full set of Daily Word Vitamins one for each day of the year, in book form for yourself or as a gift just click on the SHOP tab and place your order.