How does Unmanageability Work?

Talk 2 How Unmanageability Works.mp3

How Unmanageability Works

In the last talk I shared on what unmanageability was. Today I’d like to share on how it works.

Unmanageability works through one channel and one channel only. That’s out of the fact that we as humans have only one channel for communication – and that is the voice in the head. This is almost always said to be our thoughts. No one calls it a voice in my head.

Once seen like that, this false ownership of thoughts makes us act as if it were us thinking.

In our step workshops, we deal with the fact that thoughts are not ours; they just happen to us - or we indulge in thoughting, for short. So I wont go into that here – I suggest you do the online step workshop to train yourself on this crucial aspect. and register for online 12 step workshop.

Once the voice in the head says something, we act on it with little or no freedom to disregard it. This is the trap. Freedom from this trap is the key to a whole new future.

Unmanageability acts through our thoughts, exploiting our belief that we are the author of those thoughts. Said crudely, we are the victims of ourselves. Or we are our worst enemy. I’m sure you have heard these words before.

There are two fundamental human feelings – Love and Fear. Every other feeling is just a derivative from these two opposing, fundamental feelings.

What is disconcerting, however, is that fear is the default feeling. Born out of the primordial need for survival, nature has cultivated and evolved a system that is focussed on survival. Hence, fear is the default and love is a choice.

The fundamental need for survival is the fertiliser for cultivating unmanageability early on in our childhood. This cultivation starts bright and early in childhood. Practiced over and over again, the variations in manifestation takes on innumerable forms, some of which each one of us choose as our favourites. So some become MY unmanageability. Yours may be others.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that this is bad. In fact, I am saying that this is what enabled you and me to survive! So how can it be bad for us?

The problem isn’t with the ways of being that unmanageability manifests itself. The problem is that we have no freedom to be any other way! There is little or no choice. It becomes automatic and robotic!

So how does unmanageability work? It occurs as a thought. Naturally, we grab the thought as if it is ours. That closes out all possibility for other thoughts to come to us. That’s how Unmanageability works on us. That first thought.

Let me give some examples …. From my AA, Al-Anon and OA experiences … to show how it doesn’t matter what the affliction, Unmanageability works in exactly the same way. No wonder there are so many fellowships that use the same 12 steps.

In the previous talk (#1), I shared how I picked up that beer in the Laccadives. Looking back and doing an inventory with my sponsor, I saw then that the *silent* thought in my mind was something like this. “I’ve been sober 4 years now. I’ve rebuilt my life. Now I have achieved a great feat. So I deserve to celebrate. One beer won’t do me any harm! I know how to revert back to sobriety.”

I’ll talk of this insidious *silent* thought or  “Inner Need” in another talk, but suffice it to say that this Inner Need was & is the source of all my unmanageability which, in turn, manifests out in the world as my defects of character.

The Inner Need or *silent* thought was *not* “I deserve a reward” but that “I am inadequate” and needed a reward to negate that I am inadequate.

Just ask yourself “Who needs appreciation all the time?” Obviously, someone who doesn’t have self-esteem and feels inadequate!

Who needs recognition all the time? Who gets upset all the time if not acknowledged? These outwardly appearing needs actually cover up the deep hole in our psyche that never gets filled up!

Of course, since we all suffer from it, we have developed a common code of conduct … called being politically correct!

That simple *thought* I had, came from where? It couldn’t have been “mine” since I was active in AA and followed the programme as told to me by my sponsor! Besides, why did I disregard the caution my friends gave me… that I shouldn’t drink? How did I brush all that aside and order that beer?

The misleading explanation everyone gives is “That’s the nature of the disease. Cunning. Baffling.” But isn’t that just a cover up for a lack of real understanding of Unmanageability? You decide. I made up my mind long ago. And haven’t had a drink since.

Now I’ll take the example from Al-Anon that I personally experienced.

The Alky took to drugs & alcohol at the tender age of 9 but it wasn’t till he was 11 yrs. of age that I discovered it.

From then on, I tried in 100’s of ways to keep him from drinking & using and making a hash of his life. I used every trick I knew – meeting all his demands, convincing him of the cost to his life, threatening him, cajoling him, etc. like every parent would do. But nothing worked.

Then, when he had his third near fatal car crash and after hospitalisation, I admitted him to a rehab. There a counselor told me I was enabling him and suggested I join AL-Anon. I did. And in Al Anon  one of the first things I learnt was what is referred to as the “3Cs”: I didn’t Cause it. I Can’t Cure it. I can’t Control it.

Unmanageability won’t accept this! Especially that I can’t control it! How’s that possible? It would be an admission of defeat and failure! My inadequacy would be exposed!

But by the grace of God I stuck to the Al Anon programme and it worked – eventually. I let the Alky face up to his own life and consequences. In return I earned his wrath and choicest abuse. For years I didn’t know where he was, what he was doing and if he was even alive.

I need not mention how painful it was and the long years I cried myself to sleep at night. But it worked. He is now found his own station in life, sober and being appreciated for his work by his bosses and clients. He’s even come by the house to look us up – all on his own without any prodding. The one thing I did was pray for him every single night before sleep, as I still do, for every member of my family. I leave it to your imagination of the kinds of *thoughts* that would have run through my mind during those long years.

Once more, Unmanageability acts through our  thoughts.

Now my experience in my OA programme… Remember, I spoke earlier about rewarding myself? Well overeating for me was all about just that! Rewarding myself so that I didn’t feel inadequate!

In OA there’s a critical lesson. That is, It’s not what you eat but what’s eating you!

When I wrote my food diary, the pattern was clear in an instant. I ate to reward myself not to keep myself alive. In other words I ate what I wanted instead of eating what I needed. Thus overeating, compulsively.

My Unmanageability manifested itself in many forms but the most common was fear of hunger and boredom. Both occurring in my thoughts and not in the body!

I ate since I was afraid that I’d go hungry. This is a primordial human urge since there were no refrigerators in ancient times to store food for lean hunting days, nor were there quick order fast food apps on mobile phones!

Without a corresponding increase in physical activity, not only did I put on massive weight, my blood sugar was at astronomical levels too!

Since getting on the OA programme, many years ago, my intake has naturally come down a lot and stabilised my weight – over many, many years now – but also given me the God given freedom of choosing which thought to act on!

In conclusion of today’s talk on How Unmanageability Acts, I’ll repeat:

  1. Unmanageability acts through thoughts.
  2. Thoughts happen to us. We are not the authors.
  3. Grabbing the first thought, like grabbing the first drink, does all the damage.

Thank you for listening. Good Night. If there are any questions, comments, or on topic sharing, I’ll keep the channel on for a few more minutes. Thereafter, we'll continue on our WhatsApp group:

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Thank JS for the UM Talk session 2. Very informative. I have actually started sharing these exercises like listening  to voice of the mind , taming the monkey mind, with my kids as well. 

I have a problem, can't accept just like that anything, helping these talks a lot  to understand and accept. Thank you so much sir.

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