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Being Woke

It was 2014. The year  I was living in a studio apartment in this really cool highrise, a student union with a laundromat on the fourth and seventh floors, an elevator, and the downtown Portland, OR, sights, sounds, shops, eateries, and Saturday Market of Portland State University all around me. Living there with my 2-year-old son, a crib, a platform bed, a table, TV, and a playard full of toys, which we used to run around and around and around, in the middle of the concrete floor of one single room with a window and a kitchenette. There was even a bathroom! I was pretty lucky, in fact, I’ve always been pretty lucky in the grand scheme of things, ‘cept I really couldn’t comprehend it yet.

Here is where I hit my conscious bottom. At the low point, the biggest depression of my life. I say conscious because, for the previous 4 years, I had been sober. Something hard to explain to the other 90%  of the population, for a binge drinker, out of the fog. But I was stone cold sober, and that I had ever been in my adult life.

Interestingly, to note the one phrase that “sold me” in the behavior therapy that I took through the Washington County Jail was this: “You can change negative Beliefs about yourself, that you’ve held since childhood, over time”

So things looked pretty dark. The days were the kind where I just wanted to go to sleep and not get up and the time of day didn’t matter. In fact, I felt pretty hopeless at this point at just about any time of day. Now, I had been happy for a while in sobriety, for the first year or two, but the third and fourth years were a different kind of steady downward spiral that culminated in this place they call Rock Bottom.

What was I missing? I now believe that what I was missing was shame reversal. I wasn’t filling up the hole that was left after taking out my addictive behavior because that hole, being my sub-conscience, was filled up with shame. For you, it might be looking for men as a source of self-worth, or other people in say a faculty environment. It could be food. It could be sex. Whatever it is, the missing piece was the crucial element of replacing that emptiness, or as I now understand to be, overwriting the negative belief systems people hold on to in the subconscious unwittingly.