I have a chronic condition that preceded my first drink and outlasts my last drunk. With time and step work and selfless action, the incessant nature of my negative thinking diminishes. However, this compulsive type of mental masturbation which normally centers on past regrets or negative projections, remains with me and is, in my estimation, my "ism."
When I first picked up alcohol and felt its affect on me, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I was less tense, less frightened, less ill at ease. I thought, "Hmmmm, I like that. I want more." Alcohol did for me what I could never do for myself. It shut off the chatter in my mind and allowed me to be in the moment. It alleviated worry, care and boredom as the Big Book says, for a long time until it betrayed me. That is when the real suffering commenced.
I lived in that suffering for a good 5 years beyond the moment I realized alcohol was no longer serving me. I stuck with alcohol because I didnt realize I had an alternative and I didn't see my problem as a dependency. I was in denial of my alcoholism because I focused on other people who alcoholism was worse than mine and the other addictions in my life which were more obvious and problematic to me (cigarettes, bulimia).
The 12 step process worked in alleviating not only my physical addictions, but also my belief that "things will always be the same and there is no point trying to get better." I was inflicted with not just compulsive thinking (neuroticism), but also a mental obsession that enjoys staring at all that is "wrong in me and the world".
I've come to think of sobriety as a self-medicating/stabalizing process that evens out my emotions and allows me to be productive in the world and work toward a common good. When the mental masturbation begins, I follow the dictates of the Big Book and immediately ask God to remove my obsession, make amends if I have harmed anyone (including myself) and turn my attention to something Good. The best remedy for my negative thinking is to work with another alcoholic. The literature states that and it is my experience.
Happy Sobriety to all of my Addictionland friends,
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