- Joshua Sherman Productions
- Benjamin Lerner
My shoulders were tense as I craned my neck over a wireless router in the corner of my bedroom. It was late at night, and I was struggling to remain calm and serene. I was three years sober, and my computer had just lost its connection with the internet. My service had cut out halfway through a gripping episode of my favorite online television show, and I was incredibly upset.
After walking back towards my computer, I attempted to harness all of my technological wisdom to solve the problem. I clicked on my internet connection window repeatedly in an effort to diagnose and correct the issue, but I was only met by more confusion. After recalibrating my system settings several times, a cryptic and disappointing message flashed on my computer screen: “Unable to establish a successful connection.”
I slammed my laptop down onto my bed as I bellowed a series of hoarse exclamations. I was trapped in a proverbial chasm of impatience and ingratitude, but I didn’t know how to dig myself out of it. At the apex of my irate tantrum, I remembered how I felt during the worst days of my active addiction. I had spent many days stuck in an equally confounding state of selfish anger while I waited for my drug dealer to call me back. Although a mindless television show was not nearly as destructive as a deadly substance, I was still being held hostage by a similar pattern of compulsive reliance. Even though I was several years sober and clean, I had become dependent upon an external solution to solve my internal problems. I suddenly realized that my lack of connection to the internet was not the most pressing issue — it was my lack of connection to my own emotional reality.
Moments after my blinding epiphany, I left my computer behind and unfurled a blanket on my kitchen floor. I sat down, took a deep breath and began consciously reconnecting with my innermost thoughts. As I commenced with a series of mindfulness exercises, I felt the stress of the day begin to instantly melt away. My runaway train of thought had slowed its breakneck pace, and I was coasting towards a final destination of peaceful surrender. After reviewing the underlying causes of my emotional dysfunction one by one, I realized that they all stemmed from my need to control the world around me. At the end of my brief meditation, I rose from the floor and walked towards my refrigerator to grab a tasty snack. As I opened the freezer door, I heard the sounds of dramatic music and angry conversations blaring out of my computer speakers. My favorite show had come back on, and its main characters were engaged in a heated exchange. Although I was happy that my computer had reconnected to the internet, it didn’t really matter to me anymore. By drawing on the lessons I had learned in recovery, I was able to reconnect with myself — and no faulty piece of technology could take that away from me.Always remember:
Keep moving forward.
Run towards the truth.
Don’t quit before the miracle happens.