Funny how the length of time between this and my last post is so long, since I am supposed to be examining my character defects! What was that I was saying about procrastination!?
Before I begin my exploration of these traits I would just like to express, yet again, my gratitude for AA. Yesterday I had my second session of CBT. The therapist was trying to establish where my problems lie and listed all the “thinking errors” characteristic of depression/ anxiety. As she went through them I listened to her describe the old me. My thinking used to be characterised by the things she was saying, but not anymore.
All or nothing thinking – I used to see everything in black and white, absolutely no shades of grey. I either loved you or I hated you. Everything was either terrible or amazing. Now, I try to visualise and accept all shades of the spectrum.
Should and must statements – I truly believed people should behave and think a certain way, myself included. The inevitable failure of myself and other people to do so led me to wallow in unfulfilled expectation and drown in resentment. Now, I believe the word and notion of “should” is just ridiculous, as essentially all it does it argue with reality.
Emotional reasoning – My emotional response to every person and every situation used to be my true north. The way I felt, I believed, was indicative of the truth. Now, I understand that feelings are not facts, and that feelings of eg. hopelessness, do not mean that I am hopeless.
Personalisation – Everything was always about me. My whole attitude was excruciatingly egocentric. Now, I understand that I am not the centre of everyone else’s universe (although acceptance of this is a little harder!) 😉
Minimising or catastrophising – I used to exist in a whirlwind of catastrophe. Everything was a drama; I thrived on the rollercoaster ride of emotion. Now, the calmness and serenity I used to dismiss as boring is what I strive for.
All this negative thinking wildly distorted my perception in the past. Today, things are so different and it wasn’t until I sat in the therapist’s chair yesterday that the extent of this change was truly illuminated. 100% I credit this change to AA and the twelve steps. My “journey” (and how that word used to make me cringe!) however, is never complete and I will keep going, propelled by the gratitude I feel for my progress up until now.
“He who rejects change is the architect of decay.” Harold Wilson