{} Control & self-care

Excerpts from (and links to) our most popular posts about control and self-care.


Control focuses outward, at other people, places and things. So control-seeking pulls me away from myself, away from self-awareness and self-care. The more controlling I am, the more I lose touch with me.
But power focuses inward, on my own needs, thoughts and feelings.  So developing power is all about developing the ability to know, understand and accept myself.
From Control isn’t power, Part 1
Last time we called control a train you can chase but never catch, and power a muscle that grows stronger as you exercise it.
So how do you build that muscle? How does a person become more powerful?
My adventures in recovery have taught me seven ways.
~ From Control isn’t power, Part 2


Some background anxiety is simply the cost of being human — of having a big brain that worries endlessly, and of needing relationships to feel secure.
But you can turn down the volume.
I find the two ways — two practices, actually — that work best both involve (surprise) giving up control.
~ From Background music: Control and anxiety
It’s no accident that people in recovery use excretory metaphors (“my shit’s coming up,” “get my shit together,” “acts like his shit doesn’t stink”) to describe emotional processes. For feelings are a kind of waste material, the emotional byproducts of experience, just as feces are the physical byproducts of what we eat. And just as physical waste must be expelled from the body, feelings are meant to be expressed – not hidden or stored up.
~ From Constipated: Control and depression


Drugs and alcohol are the most obvious paths to the garden, but anything that alters your mood can be turned into an addiction.
And though some are more dangerous than others, in the end each addiction is the same as all the others, because each has the same goal: to give the addict control over emotional life.
Which is why when I’m asked “What does control have to do with addiction?” I reply: “Everything.”
Because finally every addiction is an addiction to control.
~ From The garden of Numb: Control and addiction
It wasn’t a dramatic collapse. He just woke up one morning and found he lacked the energy to get out of bed.
He went to a doctor, who told him he was fine physically. No illness. Just tired.
So he dug this place.
It’s not much, just a shallow mental trench that provides shelter from the bombardment of daily life. A place to crawl into, curl up in, and nap.
~ From Notes from the foxhole
 Yesterday, in the middle of the day, right in the middle of running-after and running-from, I suddenly felt tired.
I was home in my bedroom.  So I sat down on the edge of my bed.
It felt good to sit down, I noticed.
This surprised me, actually.  I’d been so busy running (with my feet and in my mind) that I’d stopped feeling anything.
It felt nice to feel something…nice.
So I experimented.
~ From Bert’s strawberry
Self-care is something I preach to all my clients. Most of them have trouble with self-care. Most of them don’t love themselves enough to stop working and rest and relax. Most of them put the needs of their job or their family or their house or their spouse ahead of their own.
And I have this thing I say to the most stubborn clients.
“You remind me,” I tell them, “of a guy I know who wants to drive from New York to California.  Except he says, ‘Gas is too expensive, so I won’t buy gas here.  I’ll wait to buy gas when I get out to the coast.’”
~ From Gas in California

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