The Breaking Point

by Bill Brenner on July 27, 2010

Even when you learn to manage OCD it’s still there, biding its time in the background, waiting for the right moment to pounce. Most of the time, it only gets the chance to pounce if you let it.

Mood music: “Coming Undone” by Korn

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ioJ9ZHqzMT0&hl=en_US&fs=1]

Lately, I’ve been giving the demon all the rope it needs to hang me.

I’ve been pushing myself hard with work, looking for more events to travel to and setting up more phone interviews per day than one can handle while still writing at least one article a day. My bosses aren’t demanding I keep this pace. I am. I know that when I slow down, I get restless. Restlessness turns to boredom. Once I’m bored, the safety is off the firearm — just in time for me to shoot myself in the foot.

I’m not just pushing myself with work, though. I’m demanding a lot of my recovery. I’m working the 12 Steps hard but somewhat recklessly, which means the risk of my tripping over a step or three is higher than it should be. That can lead to bad things.

I’m doing a lot of service these days and it feels good. But it’s filling up a lot of time, too. I have to be careful with that. There’s a saying in OA: Service is slimming. Very true. But without discipline, it can be throat-cutting as well. Somewhere in there is the right balance.

I used to have a lot of help when it came to slowing down. Pills appeared to do the trick at one point. But it was never real rest, and I paid for it by pissing away a lot of opportunities to live.

Binge eating used to seem like rest, for the first few seconds. But the result was worse than pills and alcohol.

So, you see, I’m trying to get the hang of real rest, the productive kind that helps you get back into balance.

In an effort to figure it out, I’m taking a vacation day tomorrow. It’s in the middle of a work week, which really cuts against the grain of my work habits. But I need a morning to walk along the beach and put things in perspective.

My friend Kevin is staying at Salisbury Beach for the week, so in the morning I’m going to take him up on the invitation to come hang out. In the afternoon, I’ll go pick up the family and return to the beach to spend some more time with family.

Kevin, a photographer, took this shot from the beach yesterday, convincing me that I need to make the time to go there:

I have a column to write, a podcast to produce and plenty of chores before I break away.

But I WILL break away.

Not for long, though.

That’s just not my style.

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