Position Vacant: General Manager of the Universe

7 Feb

There are things you realise, in sobriety, that you’d perhaps rather ignore. They are often, in my experience, related to why you drank and only surface when you’ve recovered from the initial shock of having to deal with the world sober.

For me, drinking was about letting go of my tight, tight  grip on reality. My overthinking, over worrying, anxiety ridden body gripped onto life tightly, yet when I drank, that grip was released almost from the very first sip. I used to be able to feel my body soften, let out an inaudible, inward sigh, and say ‘thank you.’

Letting go a little through alcohol is perfectly normal, but when I shifted from ‘taking the edge off’ to seeking the absolute obliteration of control… that’s when I had to stop.

I pottered on through my first few years of sobriety dealing with various issues, but I’d never really thought about my inner control freak, until recently, when it’s slowly and painfully come to light that I want to be able to influence the outcome of EVERYTHING. If The Times newspaper advertised the role of ‘General Manager of the Universe’, I’d apply, without a doubt. I’d be great! I could make everything exactly as I wanted to, and my benevolence would reign supreme. I’d be kind, of course, and understanding of people’s needs and desires, but this control would mean I’d know exactly how things were going to turn out. And that they’d turn out the right way.

Worrying, eh?

This terrifying need for control has slowly dawned on me over the past year. It came first, when i started managing my team at work. All of a sudden, I was responsible for the actions of others, without being able to control their behaviour. I could influence it, sure. But they have these terrifying things called *personalities* and *free will* and *independence.* Terrible.

I would lie away at night, feeling the burden of outcomes I could not predict, and the injustice that I’d be judged on others’ work, rather than just my own. I realised that up until this point, I’d only ever been responsible for my own actions.

Once I’d had this little glimpse of my inner dictator, I started, with horror, to see the signs in my personal life too. I can’t, alas, go into too many details of how this has played out without compromising my anonymity, but it’s been pretty painful. I’ve really, truly, shocked myself with my behaviour. Who is to say my way is the right way?! Me. Thats who runs this show in my head.

As I write, I’m starting to to recall a section in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous that describes my tendencies completely:

“like an actor who tries to run the whole show; is forever trying to rearrange the lights, the ballet, the scenery and the rest of the players in [my] own way. If [my] arrangements would only stay put, if only people did as [I] wished, the show would be great. Everyone, including [myself], would be pleased. Life would be wonderful.’

Gulp. My writing above echoes these words almost exactly.

When I was setting my intention for 2017, I carefully chose the word ‘Surrender.” When I selected it, my reasoning was that I needed to learn to give in to my own destiny, to things being unpredictable and unscripted and not always going how I imagined they would. But in the past few weeks, I’ve realised that the significance of these words runs much deeper than this. I must surrender to what is. To who other people are. To relinquish my terrible notion that my way is the right way. Because I have a lot of empathy, and am really good at understanding others’ feelings and perspectives, I’d kept this trait to manipulate and control hidden. But now I’ve seen it. I’ve got to train my vision to it keenly.

Good news: the General Manager of the Universe position will remain vacant, at least for now 😉

Happy Tuesday x

6 Responses to “Position Vacant: General Manager of the Universe”

  1. ainsobriety February 7, 2017 at 4:33 pm #

    I’m sorry, but that’s MY job. Lol
    Sigh. Yes. That want to control.

    On another blog The writer mentioned being empathic…having a good understanding of what others need.

    I am similar, but, in sobriety, I see that that quickly slips into codependency. The need to make others happy, to keep the peace, to manipulate so Things turn out the way I want.

    I grew up doing this in my family. I would gauge the emotional state and do whatever it took to try to keep things even. It was mentally exhausting and I always felt everything was my fault. Plus, after years of doing this I seriously struggle with ever knowing what I want. I know how everyone else feels, and what they need. By me? I’m a blank.

    My goal this year has been to get more in touch with me and less with others. I found the book Buddhist Bootcamp quite helpful. And Byron Katie’s the work.

    Am I in my business! Am in in others? Do I need things to be the way I think they should be? Why?

    All good questions.

    This is a tough one. But I’m working on it too!


    • FitFatFood February 8, 2017 at 8:12 am #

      Haha! Shall we job share?! #modernwomen

      I hear the word “codependency” a lot in sobriety and have just realised I don’t actually really know what it means. I need to find out more.

      Buddisht Bootcamp and The Work sound great- thank you!!!

  2. lucy2610 February 7, 2017 at 6:23 pm #

    FFF & Anne – your words could have been written by me too!! For me it’s all about being NATO – not attached to the outcome 🙂 xx

    • FitFatFood February 8, 2017 at 8:13 am #

      But I am ALWAYS attached to the outcome! 😂

  3. Adrian February 15, 2017 at 2:15 pm #

    I can relate 🙂 It strikes me that you might find _May Cause Miracles_ interesting (useful), if you haven’t read it yet. It’s a 6-week little “course” that has a way of gently opening up and releasing these sorts of things in us. It’s pretty powerful, and unintuitive. Does a really good job of helping us to delink the powerful, ever-controlling frontal lob from our way of being in the world. I think I’m going to start back through it again soon.

    • FitFatFood February 26, 2017 at 10:47 pm #

      Funnily enough, I’ve just downloaded that and The Unicerse has your back! Thank you x

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