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Carry On, by Fun.

Well I woke up to the sound of silence
The cars were cutting like knives in a fist fight
And I found you with a bottle of wine
Your head in the curtains
And heart like the fourth of July
 
You swore and said
We are not
We are not shining stars
This I know
I never said we are
 
Though I’ve never been through hell like that
I’ve closed enough windows
To know you can never look back
 
If you’re lost and alone
Or you’re sinking like a stone
Carry on
May your past be the sound
Of your feet upon the ground
Carry on
 
Carry on, carry on
 
So I met up with some friends
At the edge of the night
At a bar off 75
And we talked and talked
About how our parents will die
All our neighbours and wives
 
But I like to think
I can cheat it all
To make up for the times I’ve been cheated on
And it’s nice to know
When I was left for dead
I was found and now I don’t roam these streets
I am not the ghost you want of me
 
If you’re lost and alone
Or you’re sinking like a stone
Carry on
May your past be the sound
Of your feet upon the ground
Carry on
 
Woah
My head is on fire
But my legs are fine
Cause after all they are mine
Lay your clothes down on the floor
Close the door
Hold the phone
Show me how
No one’s ever gonna stop us now
 
Cause we are
We are shining stars
We are invincible
We are who we are
On our darkest day
When we’re miles away
So we’ll come
We will find our way home

Witness: A True Story Of Addiction, Redemption, And Faith by Lee Hollingsworth

I read this book because Lee is a friend, because I wanted to support his work and get to know him better. Never having had an addiction problem, I didn’t think I’d be able to relate. I was proved wrong in the first chapter titled “Insanity”, where Lee graphically describes the destructive behavior he takes as an addict to make himself feel better. I have been there with every anxiety attack.

My mom told me that 12 step programs commonly associated with addiction recovery are used for anxiety, depression and eating disorders too. Now that I think of it, it makes sense to apply these steps to mental disorders: they guide you to admit you’re powerless over your problem, to surrender and give yourself over to a higher power. I know too well that dealing with anxiety traps you inside your own head, trying to make sense of your delusional thoughts and the reactions of your adrenalin-fueled body.

What would happen if I surrendered, admitted that this was the way I was made and just went about my day the best I could?

Please see my favorite excerpts below. You’d be surprised how easily “addiction” can be replaced with “anxiety”.


A key concept Lee presents in his book is Willingness. Here is his description:

“It is not action. It is not results. It is the essential preparatory state to do something new, different, awkward, unfamiliar or big.”

It’s no mistake this reference comes early in the book. He notes willingness is essential during crucial times such as finding a job or to stop using.

Without willingness, where do you find the energy to change your situation?


“by turning off your own judgmental self, you can do far more than you ever envisioned. When always assessing how I am doing, and not actually doing, I waste enormous amounts of energy. If I stopped to wonder if I could do it, I would not have carried on.”


Humility:

“Our egos cause us to cling to things and behavior we believe we need. Sometimes we think we’re entitled, sometimes we think we are essential. Only in desperation are these characters defects burned away. Only in brokenness do we see our true insignificance. Only in hopelessness do we begin to emerge from the darkness of our conceit. In humility, we are lifted from our prisons. We are liberated by truth and we are flushed with gratitude and made calm. We find ourselves gaining strength in a way we never knew. We have survived. In gratitude we have found a way to live with whatever reality is set before us.”

“I pray to God every day to lend me some of His wisdom and strength. In return, He lifts a little of the haze of human confusion and self-centeredness, giving me a little clarity to get by.”


Lee lists several paradoxical concepts he’s learned through his recovery. Here are several simple, useful truths:

-Surrender can win when nothing else will.

-To truly feel better physically, go to a gym and hurt until you feel better.

-Serve others to help yourself.


“As the evil tentacles of addiction infect every crevice of self, family, and community, so does the illuminating light of God raise up with love and restore those ties among us, with power to build far greater than evil’s power to destroy.”


Lee has a mental checklist he reviews to gauge his physical, mental and spiritual health. It’s the stuff we’ve heard all our lives – get a good night’s rest, eat your vegetables – yet we all need to be reminded to take care of ourselves:

1. Have I been eating well?

2.Have I had enough sleep?

3.Have I been running/exercising in the last two days?

4.Have I been praying diligently?

5.Have I been to a recovery meeting lately?

6.Have I told my wife and children and Dad that I love them?

7.Have I stopped to recognize all the blessings in my life, and how many billions of people on Earth would happily trade their problems for mine?


Peace in Reality:

“I should realize that I am never going to precisely know the way things will turn out, and beating myself up for answers is destructive. Somehow, though, my conscience won’t let me completely relax. Not worrying is too similar to sleeping on the job. Thankfully, scripture gives guidance:

‘be anxious about nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’
Philippians 4:6-7″


Helping Others:

“There is something special about recovering addicts, especially to each other. Perhaps it’s because they have pretty much endured everything, and have probably encountered every comical situation known to man. There is nothing bad you have ever done that cannot be topped by someone else in a room of recovering addicts. For some reason, there is security in that.

I try to be that person to others entering the program. I try to be as open as my midget mind will let me, and tell everyone who will listen what happened to me, no matter how embarrassing, so that they might share their pain and problems with me or others, and not miss solutions others have found. No matter what we go through in life, someone has been through it, and there is a way to manage.”