Keep The Ship Sailing

Rough Waters

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We’re all addicts, of one sort or another.

I used to talk to a life coach who told me that his entire childhood, he had been convinced by his father that they were poor, and would always need to worry about money. His father used it as the impetus to inflict all sorts of abuse on the family.

It had been ingrained in him from such a young age that it had become his own central preoccupation. The life coach told me that if he ever made a billion dollars, he’d be a poor guy with a billion dollars. It was a self-conception that went so deep, reality could never touch it. Even now, as a 50-year-old man, with his father dead.

Being poor was his addiction. And like any addiction, it was all about the emotional jolts he could give himself, getting high on the chemicals released by his brain when he dwelled upon his money problems and made himself miserable.

At times, when a little bit of money did trickle in, he would feel high with the hope that maybe– just maybe– he was on his way out of poverty. But these high and low swings would always match each other in intensity, keeping him spiraling on the emotional roller coaster.

Now, being a life coach, he eventually made sense of this addiction, identified it and came to terms with, and was able to minimize it. As he told me (and as he learned in AA), an addict is an addict for life. You’re never “cured” of alcoholism. You just become a sober alcoholic.

He’s got a wife and two kids, and his wife manages most of their finances. That’s because he still, deep down, holds the belief that they are going to end up on the street eating out of dumpsters, no matter how financially secure they are. He laughs about it, and knows it’s completely irrational, but he recognizes his addiction.

****

If I ever sleep with a thousand girls, I’ll be the guy who is a loser with women, who slept with a thousand girls.

Deep down, on some primordial level, that’s who I’ll be. I can never escape that, I can only acknowledge it. My formative years– the first 22– solidified my confusion, fear, isolation and rejection when dealing with girls. It got wired into my basic circuitry as I grew.

When my parents got divorced, I was 8, and I wasn’t equipped to understand what was happening. Certainly no one explained it to me very well.

I was imprinted with the image of my seemingly-pathetic dad, who we drove away from on a cold Manhattan night, leaving him in the middle of a big, terrifying city by himself, because my mom didn’t want him around anymore.

My subconscious, my addiction, is always looking for reasons to prove that I’ve become that twisted version of my father. I’m always secretly waiting for a girl to hurt me. Even if I own her soul and body for months and push her away on purpose, if I can’t get her back, it’s the exact same feeling of deep, soul-crushing rejection trying to surface.

****

My addiction shows itself in the times when I am lonely, or tired– when my willpower is lowest, and my most basic emotional needs cry out like a baby wanting its pacifier.

At these times, it is tempting for me to “get high” by sending provocative texts to girls who have hurt me, or looking at Twitter and Instagram feeds, torturing myself thinking about the new guy she’s having these experiences with (who, my subconscious tells me, is cooler, stronger and sexier than I could ever be).

But if I give in to these temptations, it throws my entire paradigm off-kilter. As the alcoholic would tell you from AA, “The first sip gets you drunk.” It’s the decision to give in to your addiction that gets you high, not the actual consumption of your vice.

****

When I, or any other addict (which probably includes all of you), go through long periods of stability, I don’t have the high highs and low lows that one has in the thrall of addiction. Life is steady, stable, sure-handed and building momentum. It is a ship that is sailing forcefully– confidently– and heading toward virgin waters which hold treasures yet unknown.

In this sense, it’s an almost laughably-bad decision to give in to your baser urges, once you have your ship sailing steady. Being a better man, standing at the helm of your life’s ship, is worth more than can be measured. It’s an immensely valuable commodity.

But if you let go of the controls, the ground wobbles. You can quickly grab the wheel and right the ship again. But if the wobbling gives way to tilting, and you don’t take quick action to remedy it, eventually the whole thing can go sideways. Or capsize.

Once you have momentum in your life, it’s easier to keep it that way. It’s a state you should savor, for it demonstrates that you have transcended your base addictions, your animal nature, your self-destructive impulses, and found peace and purpose in life.

Those are the times you’re ready to let the small things– the things that make you a small person– float by.

And you sail on, ever forward, blazing a path toward the horizon that is just out of reach.

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14 Responses to Keep The Ship Sailing

  1. Mark says:

    Beautiful post, man.

  2. Shameful says:

    A great read, and relevant to my life right now. Thank you. What do you do when find yourself falling down, just try to willpower yourself back up and create distance?

  3. Dirt Man says:

    My condolences on your parents divorce at a young age. That must have been very difficult.

    Also, condolences on your self-torture. However, this is your own doing. After being tossed out of a boat, and reaching safety, you throw yourself back in repeatedly. I can understand this, having experienced it myself.

    “I can never escape that, I can only acknowledge it.”

    This is absolutely true: as true as you allow it to be. It’s possible to re-fashion yourself. It’s difficult, but no impossible. How worth it is it to you? Will you just accept defeat?

    I’d bet that when a man is on the cusp of giving into his base urges, his belief that he will never escape it is a convenient excuse to give in. Remove that, and he will have no excuse. He’ll have to truly believe in himself for that to happen.

    “A great pilot can sail even when his canvas is rent” -Seneca

  4. TheNewBard says:

    This type of honesty will benefit the men who choose to partake of the “red pill” more than any snarky cynicism about how black people and feminists are ruining our society. Keep up the good work.

  5. GM says:

    “If I ever sleep with a thousand girls, I’ll be the guy who is a loser with women, who slept with a thousand girls.

    Deep down, on some primordial level, that’s who I’ll be. I can never escape that, I can only acknowledge it.”

    Good post, but I really can’t agree with the above statement. It sounds like you have a complex and even though you know you have overcome it, by sleeping with more girls than the vast majority of men will in their lifetime, you still refuse to acknowledge it because the complex is still there. Let it go, man.

    OK, so you’re not a natural with girls, like some guys are. So what? It certainly doesn’t mean that you will always be a loser no matter how good your game gets. Hell, I’ve just gotten into game and haven’t slept with a fraction of the girls you have, and I don’t consider myself a loser. If I lose the girl I have now I will get another five just like her, because I know game. I know I won’t have any more issues getting girls. I know, in other words, that I am not a loser. I think you should try and see things the same way.

  6. Yeah i agreed that we are all addicts of something…

    A few years ago i came to terms about my “addiction”.
    If i didn’t have the amount of self-control and disciple i do my life would be in shambles.

    This post was a sobering point of view amongst us who have taken the red pill and choose not to ignore our emotions

  7. Donlak says:

    Good post.

    I think the problem with addiction, is that we as addicts are in some ways a slave to the boat rocking… The smooth sailing can seem for lack of a better word, boring, so we tend to give in to certain addictive behaviours as a familiar excitement. I think all addicts have the problem of feeling comfort in chaos, which is the true destructive force that must be overcome.

  8. Pete says:

    Digging the post, very honest, vulnerable and at the same time insightful.

    It takes a real man to come to terms with his addictions, but a bigger man to realize they shouldn’t define who he is as a person, nor his future.

  9. I’m not sure that the idea that we are destined to keep our addictions as part of our identity forever is necessarily true. It is within our power to change our core identity, indeed I thought that was a big part of what the manosphere (the healthy positive side anyway) is all about.

    Honesty, like yours in this post, is a key factor in this growth but I think that you limit yourself by believing that you will always be that guy who was bad with woman. Look at your reality and allow it in. Just as it’s hard to swallow the harsh truths of the red-pill and change your worldview to match, look at the man you actually are now, not just the man you think you are, and change your worldview and self-image to fit that. They do say that self-image lags behind by a few years.

    • Dagonet says:

      All very good points. I spoke more about this post in my podcast (which premiered today), and address some of what you bring up.

  10. rivelino says:

    damn, that was good.

  11. pointbreak says:

    One of the best posts I have ever read. Thank you for writing it and sharing it.

  12. Badger says:

    Gotta put up the Of Monsters And Men video for this ship theme.

  13. theprofessor says:

    this reminds me of Stockholm Syndrome, where a long-term hostage gets accustomed to the abuse and power of their abdcutor. Eventually, a loyalty is built with the abductor, and there are many cases where the hostage has an opportunity to escape, but remains put (or in some cases with woman/man, she falls in love with him). I see the addiction as the abductor, having a stronghold of emotional significance in your life.

    i’m no psychologist, but as a former nice guy, having been the victim in emotionally abusive relationships, the only thing that broke me free of those bindings was abundance mentality. It was not necessarily the benefit of having options or the memories derived from those experiences, but moreso, the power that simply having options gave me. I had submitted my sense of power to emotionally strong women, and this destroyed my self-esteem, but when i realized I had the upper hand with women when I had options, everything changed.

    I am not arguing abundance mentality, I am simply asking the question… where do you derive your source of power from? And how can you re-engineer that power towards a more objective positive reflection of your self image and ability?

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