Step 7, Do The Opposite - I have a really fantastic friend who has a really awful ex-husband. When my fantastic friend hit her rock bottom, and it was all ugly and gritty, he sent her a nasty, nasty text. And one of the things that he said to her in that nasty, nasty text I liked so much that I wrote it down, because I knew at some point I would use it later in a piece of writing. Mind you, he was a dick. But taken partially out of context, and said in a completely different tone of voice, it was advice worth taking. He said, "You have made such a mess of your life. From now on, when you have a big decision to make, whatever you think you should do, do the opposite."
For me, hitting rock bottom was completely necessary, because when my life was in a disastrous, destructive downward spiral, I was plummeting towards my own demise (if not in a leaving this mortal coil way, at the very least, I was dying a death of the Spirit), and I needed some solid impact to rattle my bones and chatter my teeth. A jarring wake the fuck up call was in order.
Hanging out there for a little bit was necessary, too. I needed to get down and dirty with my lowest, most base self. I needed to be pathetic and weak and all of the things I don't like in myself or other people. I needed to be it and feel it and live it.
And I needed to be it and feel it and live it, in order to realize that I am not it, and I won't feel it forever, and I am not willing to live it for another minute. And all of the bad decisions I made that led to this sort of living, now I need to do the opposite.
In order to figure out exactly what the opposite of what I had been doing was, I did one of the hardest things in the world for me. I asked for help. I realized that in the state of mind I was in, it was very likely that even if I attempted to make different decisions than the ones I had been making, they probably wouldn't be good decisions, just different bad decisions. So I asked for help, and I was selective in help that I asked for. It would have been very comfortable and safe feeling for me to ask other hot mess friends what I should do, but that didn't seem like it would be that much different from asking myself. No, I needed to get over myself, drop the pride (oh my god, what pride? I was one fucked up little kitten), and ask people for help who were actually where I wanted to be.
Where do you want to be? That is crucial information, and just saying, "Not here!" isn't enough. A good life can look like a million different things, and one person's delight can be another person's misery. Only you can decide what a good life looks like for you. You may have a very clear picture in your head already, or you may feel at a total loss. Perhaps you've been in survival mode for so long that you've forgotten everything except how to hustle to keep the electricity turned on and Top Ramen on the table. Enough of that. You could do that blindfolded and backwards. Now you need to look at things a little bit bigger than that. You need to look at the opposite of what you've been looking at. We'll cover all of that in the next post.