Tending the Fires

To change a behavior you have to change the thinking behind it. More specifically:  the attitude you hold towards that behavior or the emotion that comes to mind when you think of engaging in an activity. This is something that “recovering” drug addicts commonly work on. When you think of doing your drug of choice, instead of letting your mouth water at the thought of how good it would feel, you try your best to apply the brakes and think of the reality of the aftermath: i.e. how much shit you will fuck up. Don’t think of all the awesome high-fives and whores you will slam if you go to the local bar. Instead, think of the money spent, the hangover, the shame… This applies to anything and can be reversed. Instead of changing yearning thoughts surrounding a destructive behavior into the negative consequences of reality, you can take something you would like to do, but can’t muster up the gusto for because of lazy undisciplined thinking and instead of instantly putting it off for a “tomorrow” that never comes, you think of how much you really want it and the potential good that can come out of a few steps in the right direction.

For example, I find it easy to lift after ten hour days in the factory, but cannot apply the same energy and discipline to writing, my one other passion. Needless to say, after “fabricating metal” all day then lifting weights, fatigue has sapped not only my physical but mental and emotional energy as well. It just doesn’t seem worth it to sit down and write. Cable television and the couch are too easy a diversion… That can’t be the only thing holding me back, however, for I am already downtrodden by the time I leave work BEFORE I lift, yet I find the reserves to get that in. The difference being that I generally think of working out as something that will give me energy and improve my mood almost immediately. Writing I tend to think of in terms of:  ugh sitting down, bored, putting down word after word of shit that will probably amount to shit and even if it isn’t shit it will not make me feel any better NOW.

I used to feel something similar for working out. I held a generally dim view of making any gains and if I did it at all it was more to keep from falling further out of shape than to reach some kind of goal. It was like mowing the fucking grass: you only do it so the people around you aren’t disgusted. Albeit a relatively strong reason to do something for most people but still not something you look forward to doing. When I started lifting to build strength and noticed gains I started to feel like a MAN who had control of his little universe as opposed to one who was merely keeping the fires from spreading. And it dawned on me that this was the key to understanding my specific psychology:  I need to feel like I’m accomplishing something, moving forward or I will fail, quit, give-up, lose.

So now, even though it borders on the pathetic, I think of myself as a WRITER when I write, not some dude at a desk in the corner of the public library writing about “life.” No. In that reality it seems pointless to try and create. It seems more sensible to do more lying around and binge drinking until I violate probation and get sent to the big-house for a real life experience. But I don’t want that so from here on out I’m going to think of myself sweating, writing to be saved, driven by demons whenever I sit down at this desk and attempt to prove there is something worthwhile in this head.


(Drugs and Culture)


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