What is the ultimate power trip to you? Is it driving a fast car, a fast motorcycle, a fast boat? Is it making a big sale, operating heavy equipment or telling people what to do because you’re the boss? Maybe it’s none of those things or maybe it’s something completely different from what I mentioned.
To me, the ultimate power trip is when I exhibit self-control over my own behaviors, emotions, actions and words. I get to experience that power trip every day, multiple times a day, and so can you.
The ultimate power trip isn’t about controlling other people, it’s about controlling yourself. Self-control isn’t just about not drinking (or doing drugs), it’s about not arguing, it’s about not gossiping, it’s about not criticizing people, it’s about eating less or smaller portions if you’re on a diet, it’s about exercising when you don’t feel like it, it’s about not spending money that you don’t have, it’s about doing a job right and completely, it’s about NOT being a total asshole to everyone around you. Self-control truly is an exhilarating power trip. It not only benefits you, it benefits everyone you come in contact with.
Self-control is the foundation to living as a non-drinker and non-user. I have full control over my own hands and I use self-control to put my hands to good use. I decide whether I want to use my hands to pick up a bottle, a pill, a spike a pipe—or to NOT pick it up. I know that once I pick up the bottle and then use my own hands to pour it into my mouth, I have no control over what the substance in the bottle will do to my body or my mind.
For instance, if I pick up a bottle of Super Turbo Laxative and drink it, I have no control over what it will do to my body. I will be pooping like a goose in about a half hour. The substance is going to do what it’s supposed to do and I have no control over that. I know this is going to happen, so I exhibit the self-control to not pick up and drink an entire bottle of laxative. It’s no different with alcohol. I have control over whether I will pick it up or not. Once I pour it into my mouth, with my own hands, I have no control over what it will do to my body and my mind.
Substances like beer, wine, liquor and laxatives are designed to automatically change how your body normally functions. These substances do this without your consent. The only consent you have given is the self-controlled introduction of the substance into your own body. So don’t be surprised that you get drunk when you drink alcohol and don’t be surprised when you get a case of explosive diarrhea after drinking a bottle of laxative. But remember that you had total control of the substance before you willingly poured it into your own mouth.
Laxatives, like liquor, can be fine in small quantities. But too much at once or over an extended period of time can do you a lot of harm. A little amount of laxative may be helpful if you’re a bit bound up. But you still wouldn’t want to drink an entire bottle in one sitting and you wouldn’t drink it every day. I’m sure that if you were at a party or hanging out in a bar and someone offered you a bottle of Super-Turbo laxative you would have the self-control to say, “No thanks, I’m good.” You would exhibit self-control and not take a swig off the bottle.
You might think that my comparison of laxatives to liquor is ridiculous. You’re more than welcome to think that way. But if you were to seriously think about the comparison, I believe you’ll likely find some points of agreement with me.
#1: Too much of either can turn you into a mess.
#2: Drinking too much of either every day will be harmful to your body in the long run.
#3: Drinking either of them every day, even in small quantities, will change how your body normally functions.
I fully understand that self-control isn’t always that easy to exhibit. But it is easier when your mind isn’t already altered by some outside substance. Once you have allowed a mind or body altering substance into your bloodstream, that’s when you become physically powerless over it.
When disappointment, stress, struggles and temptation strike, YOU DO have the opportunity and the right to exhibit self-control. But just because you have the “right” doesn’t mean you will use self-control. I have every legal right to drink when I’m stressed, disappointed, going through struggles or simply tempted to drink, but I take the opportunity to then exhibit my self-control and not drink. I will only become powerless if I put the substance into my body.
I recently experienced a very disappointing situation. I was saddened by it. Then the more I thought about the situation the madder I got. I wanted to lash out at those who disappointed me. I wanted to feel sorry for myself. I wanted to pack up, leave and tell everybody “to go get fucked.” But with a little self-control I held off from doing all of those things. None of those behaviors would have changed the situation and I probably would have only made a bad, irrational decision and then would have made things even worse for myself. Instead, I used my self-control. I quietly listened as this disappointing news was delivered to me. The delivering party was a bit stunned that I showed no emotion. They were waiting for (or possibly expecting) some sort of outburst or backlash from me. So what I did was calmly say, “I’ll have to spend some time and evaluate this new information.” They were wondering (and still are wondering), what I’m going to do about it. I haven’t decided yet. But by exhibiting self-control I didn’t say or do anything that I will regret. And trying to drink away my sadness and disappointment would have been a huge regret. Even though I may be disappointed, I am NOT powerless.
I have heard it said that for those who claim that they are “powerless” there is nothing to turn to but superstition and then to blindly follow others who do have power. Self-control gives you power and it allows you to decide who or what you want to follow. If you want to follow a certain philosophy, political party, recovery system or religion, then exhibit self-control and make the decision yourself of whether you want to follow or not. Don’t just do it because someone else says you should do it. Self-control gives you the power.
Self-control may mean you have to pass on offers to go out and party with your friends. It may mean that you have to pass on all sorts of offers to go do things because you feel it might put you in a situation where you’ll be tempted to drink or use. I’m quite a few years into my life of being a non-drinker, so I’m able to make it through situations which may have been trigger temptations in the past or during the early stages of my sobriety. But now I find myself passing on certain invitations because some of these events or gatherings just aren’t fun for me to attend. It doesn’t bother me (or cause me to be tempted), when I hang out with people who drink socially or casually. I just don’t like hanging around drunk people. They annoy me and I have the self-control to get up and leave when I’m annoyed. I’d rather have the self-control to leave than to hang around and need to call on my self-control to not say shitty things to people.
In summary, the ultimate power trip isn’t had by controlling other people, it’s experienced by controlling yourself. Self-control puts the power back into your own hands and YOU can experience the ultimate in power trips every day. Bask in your own power, enjoy your self-control. Let your self-control guide you to do the right thing. Even if it’s saying “no” to an inviting offer, or by you deciding to go to a meeting, going to church or just staying home and exercising, reading a book, watching a movie or browsing interesting stuff on the internet. Your mind may crave and desire a substance, but the only time you become physically powerless over the substance is after you’ve willingly put it into your own body. Experience the ultimate power trip by exhibiting self-control and watch great things happen for you and for those around you.
These are my own opinions and observations. Think for yourself and come to your own conclusions. If you enjoy this stuff or get something out of it please tell your friends about my blog, podcasts and website. It’s LivingSoberSucks.com. You can find my books in paperback, eBook or if you prefer, you can get my Audiobooks. My books and audiobooks are available through Amazon, Apple, all sorts of places. I put my blog, podcasts and website out for people to access FREE of charge. If you like what I do and what I write about, you can show your support by making a donation to my site, it’s done securely through PayPal: http://www.livingsobersucks.com/donate_to_this_site I post a truthful report on my website of how much is donated and what all this costs me. Thank you for spending some of your very valuable time with me. Mark Tuschel.