“Every great mistake has a halfway moment, a split second when it can be recalled and perhaps remedied.” Pearl S. Buck
I awoke this morning feeling tired. I had to make a choice: Will I get up, or will I stay in bed? The longer I lay in bed thinking about how tired I felt, the more I came to realize that I had a choice to make. I didn’t have to get up; I could have stayed in bed. But I chose, in that moment, to get up.
Sometimes we make choices without realizing that we are making them. We do things out of habit, or we do things because we feel that we have to. This is not living in the present moment. This is moving through our day unconsciously; we are somewhere else making choices of which we are not aware.
I have learned to recognize the times when I am not present, unconsciously thinking about things that aren’t real. I begin to feel unsettled, irritable, and perhaps even tempted. This ‘unsettled’ feeling is my first clue that I have slipped into an unconscious state. An unconscious state is far from the present moment, existing in a ‘story’ that I made up about the world. It’s not real, but something imagined.
How do I break free of this unreal, unconscious state?
One of the ways that works for me is to make a journal entry. When I become aware that I’m in an unconscious state, I begin writing to pull myself back to consciousness. In a way, I’m getting current with my own self. By laying out my own feelings and thoughts, I am able to get in touch with my own state and enable myself to navigate back to reality.
I find journaling a way to expand the gap between temptation and relapse. It doesn’t matter how intense it may feel, I can always center myself by getting current – writing it down. There are other ways to ‘awaken’: Phone a friend, call your sponsor, pray, get to a meeting. Doing whatever it takes to delay your decision to act out is an effective way to remedy the situation.
You are a strong and resourceful person, able to make wise decisions in the moment.