Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Chasing Adrenaline

Today I was startled to find that the satin ribbon in my Meditations For Women Who Do Too Much  marks February 27th as the last day that I read anything from this book. It seems somewhat ironic that so much time has lapsed when my entire life is currently devoted to slowing down and meditating.Yet, for some reason I haven't taken time to perform my formerly daily ritual of reading these lovely meditations written by Anne Wilson Schaef.

I am not sure if my neglect in this matter it is a good or a bad thing. Have I been too busy? If so - bad. Or have I been so relaxed that I haven't needed my daily fix? If so - isn't that good?

In any case, it is somewhat fortuitious that today when I finally found time to pick up the book, the daily meditation was focused on something that I have been thinking about. Well, to be honest, I haven't been thinking about it so much as listening to my dear friend *J* talk about it. The concept, or topic, was addiction to adrenaline, related to workaholism. I'm still busy trying to relax, so haven't given much needed attention to my workaholism problem. I do know that I need to start thinking about it. For now, *J* is reading a book on workaholism and sharing what she learns with me. Quite efficient on my part, don't you think?

Back to the is what Schaef provided for today:

April 13

"They sicken of the calm who know the storm." (Dorothy Parker)

Ah, that adrenaline rush! How we love it! We are so accustomed to dealing with crisis that we get nervous when things get calm.

Many women who are recovering from workaholism and doing too much are beginning to recognize that they have become addicted to their own adrenaline rush. We used to get a "buzz" with the excitement of a new project or an impending deadline. We functioned best under pressure (or so we believed). We got nervous and tense when our lives became too quiet. We needed the emotional arousal. We needed our fix.

Fortunately we began to see that our adrenaline rushes were exhausting our bodies and our beings. Our addiction to our own adrenaline was as destructive to our bodies as drugs or alcohol. Recovery from adrenaline addiction has been a slow, painful process. Yet, we have the hope of a new life and the possibility of living it in a healthy body.

I have discovered that what I used to call numbness
may just be contentment, and contentment feels great.

Interesting. I'll have to think about this.


  1. We read something very similar at my womens meeting on tuesdays! It's called Each Day a New Beginning (womens meditation book from hazeldon). Very good!

    I definitely felt numb for years, searching for that adrenaline rush over and over. Now my adrenaline rush is talking to a newcomer!

  2. I can totally relate to this. When I first got sober, things were stressful at work (ha@!) Each day I found myself working myself into a frenzy - I thought a "good" day = feeling that hepped up/crazy "energy". Days where I remained calm = boring and unproductive.

    It took a month off of work for me to begin to reset that button, although it's something I still definitely struggle with.

    Thanks so much for sharing this!

  3. Serendipitously, I have been thinking about numbness, the kind I submitted to for years to be able to bear the daily torture at work. My kind of numbness was emotional, not chemically induced. I didn't know I was numb; I only knew I could not feel joy nor get excited about anything. I asked myself, "Why am I so unhappy?" and couldn't pinpoint any reason.

    A year and half out of that toxic environment, I see that I've stepped back into the light. I am no longer unhappy because I don't feel the need to numb myself to all emotion. Hence, joy has come out of exile and is a daily companion.

    I've never been a workaholic, I don't think. I've been called an overachiever, but does it count if it came from someone I think of as an underachiever? ; ) My adrenaline rush comes just before I step onto the studio floor and begin teaching ballroom dance. I don't miss it when I don't have it. Contentment is almost a continuous state of mind for me now.

  4. Love these topics and in particular Brene Brown who has been subtly revealing herself in my world too! Wanted you to know about an exciting event we are having at Cedars. The Art of Slowing Down, by a renowned teacher who has twenty years in the program and it's an amazing price! Hope the link works. If not go to Cedars home page and you can get the information. Your sister in cyberspace and recovery Piper

  5. I am constantly amazed when you all leave comments letting me know that you relate - I feel so supported. Scrollwork - I love the word "contentment," and Piper - thank you! I am going to register for the yoga workshop, it sounds fabulous. More is being revealed to me all the time, and I am so grateful to have the time and space to work through how I want to live this precious gift of life. Resetting the button, what a nice way to view it...and sharing with newcomers and oldcomers alike, makes my life richer for sure. Thank you thank you thank you.

  6. I agree with Scrollwork. Numbness was an emotional coping when I was living with an abusive man. I'm now content. They are unrelated, in my experience. Contentment is quiet joy, relaxed and unstirred. Numbness is fuzzy, depressing and feels like lead in my feet, oppressive to my soul.