Gently peeling an onion


Gently peeling an onion

Sounds like part of a recipe, I know, but it is not.
I wish it were, I would have a certain sense of control over the affair, but it is a term used in recovery from addiction.

It is the process that happens to someone who chooses to change, to put down the thing or things, like alcohol, drugs etc that are causing harm and issues with daily life. I choose my words carefully because it does seem to be outside of one’s control, to a degree. If one does not change, one being me, for now, I will use again and that is a given. So I have to move into another space of being. Anyone who wants to stop acting out addictively has to look at big life changes. Friendships, lovers, social life, work, family, all of it has to change. It can be messy and it is doubtlessly hard but infinitely worth it.

As time passes, the layers of pain, fear, anger, depression, loss and inadequacy peel away. Therapy helps, talking, new friends on a similar path and some version of spiritual practice all lift away the layers and things change.

Over time, say 5 years, the first hard cracking heavy and protective layers are gone. After that it is the tighter, more intense layers that are peeled away until the kernel rests. Please do not for a moment think that the kernel is just one event. It is not. The prophet, Kalil Gibram says ‘your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.” It is the hardest thing to crack. The cracking releases so much emotional pain and suffering that I certainly find myself avoiding it. And then there are layers to the kernel, too. Like some massive cosmic joke, it seems to be endless.

I am there, inside the kernel, listening to the laughter but not actually finding it funny at all. I have been describing myself as feeling like a snake in a chapatti tin for several weeks now, but I had an epiphany about two nights ago and I now stand looking through the crack and finally see the bottom of it. The steaming, smoking fires of growing up and taking responsibility. Argh! 48 years old and still trying to shirk, contort and fall over to avoid being an adult. It is just so tiresome, but here I stand, looking at myself with amazement that it really has taken me so long to see myself and my games.

The gently part is not really true of the process at all, but it worked better as a heading than the reality of tearing away the screaming flesh of all the walls with tears coursing past.

God, such drama, and all without swearing. Actually, giving up the expletives has been easier than I expected. They do slip out occasionally, usually two a day, in quick succession, but so far today there has been nothing.
And I am taking more and more responsibility. I really am.