Staying accountable – addictions and the ANS

In the past, I would write blog posts when I was really feeling good or when I had done a lot of practice. In other words, the “Facebook” effect was happening. That is when everyone only posts the best about themselves or about their travels, and the rest of us are left going, “Good lord! They have it so nice. My life sucks.” It is rather disheartening. If I am having a hard time, and all of my friends’ posts look so amazing, that would be hard to deal with for long periods of time. Therefore I hope no one is experiencing that from my blog! (So let me remedy that problem if it is happening.)

In an effort to be more transparent, in the past, I definitely had an issue with playing computer games. In fact, 15 years ago and more, I would binge out on games, sometimes for hours at a time. There were even a couple of occasions where I played for 12 – 18 hours straight. (Good grief – if I could have been putting that much effort into enlightenment, I would already be beyond suffering by now!)

This “addiction,” I believe, arose from my having built a body around being stuck in a frozen or shock-filled place. When I was born, I was taken from my mother for at least 12 hours, maybe longer, because I had an unusual rash on my body. Poor little baby Kirby! I just want to scoop him up and cuddle and hum and sing lullabies to him!

Anyhow, this event, along with other factors, led to my little newborn amygdala saying, “the world is not safe! We have to constantly produce cortisol and catecholamines (adrenaline or epinephrine etc) in order to be on guard against a dangerous world!” This is what I built my body around because no body in my environment knew that this could be healed and repaired, and therefore no-one even attempted to make repair in little baby Kirby (me). 😦

Hence, I learned to compensate by dissociating and leaving my body altogether sometimes. I had an extremely high pain tolerance – or another way of saying that, is that I was never fully embodied to feel the pain (until I hit 27 or 28 years old!). [If you want an example, when I was in high school, I went through one of the MOST painful situations a male human being can experience – I had bad testicular torsion, and only a prompt surgery saved both of my testes. Thank goodness my mother forced me to go to the Emergency Department. I was in so much discomfort that I was forced to crawl around the house. But I did not admit to being in any pain. It was very weird. I was grossly dissociating and struggling to stay in my body.]

And in dissociating, my body produced endorphins (and all nervous systems when they are in parasympathetic shock do this) which meant that dissociating was actually kind of blissful (as my body went into shock mode slowly preparing for the worst – preparing to die).

Is this heavy stuff? Yes! Addictions are not a light matter. They are present because of some deep unmet need and healing this void in our psyche takes very careful time and attention and mentoring / coaching / healing / therapy. Long story short though, upon learning about the Autonomic Nervous System – the ANS – and how some “addictions” are really just an attempt to go back to old ways of feeling (which is all some people know) – I realized I wanted to move toward a healthy nervous system.

As a result, I have mostly left computer games in the past. Thank goodness! But I don’t need to be too hard on myself. Just last night, I played for a couple of hours. An old pattern arising, trying it on again. You could say weeds continue to grow in the garden of my mind. I just need to be KIND above all else, and vigilant. But kindness toward myself – all parts of myself is MOST important. And remember to bring the little wounded parts of me along. Saying, “Yes little guy (Kirby), you had to decide whether the world was safe (which there were way too many stress hormones to say it was) or if the world was dangerous (good decision in this case). For a baby, there is no gray area – it is either black or white for baby brains. And as a result, you did the best you could. That dissociation pattern, that reacting to stress by fantasizing and going into fantastic worlds, that was a great survival mechanism. Now, you can put that tool in your back pocket. If you require it, you can take it out and use it consciously, knowing you can stop at any moment and put it back in your pocket. Now, you can resource those little wounded parts and slowly walk them forward toward health. No need to be stuck in those ancient double bind patterns. Any time you feel yourself subconsciously twisting up into a pretzel shape, pause and ask, what is my objection to this situation? What do I need to be more grounded and centered? How can I be explicit about my boundary needs?”

So that is where I stand. When I forget to bring my little parts along, I am tempted to play games quite frequently. The only time I am not tempted is when I am in good company and being in my social nervous system is easy (the most healthy functional coherent resilient level as it were). Otherwise I need to make a cozy nest for my baby parts to re-do building my body in. And I can. And I am. I just wish this process were faster.

However, one of my favorite sayings from the Pre- and Perinatal Therapy training is, “the slower you go, the faster you will get there.”

Having to blog like this every day is good. I am being held accountable. If I am tempted to do something depleting (like say playing a game for longer than an hour), I realize that it might make me feel depressed for a while afterward. So why would I do it in the first place? 🙂 And then I would have to come on here and post something depressing. No one wants that!

<I am laughing out loud>

Well thank you for putting up with my musings again,


P.S. I somehow did about 3 hours of practice all totaled yesterday, plus I assisted in teaching a great bodywork class where I learned some incredible tools – like how to bring acupressure into a Craniosacral or Visceral Manipulation session. Amazing stuff. So lots of virtue yesterday, along with a couple hours of numbing out. Three steps forward, one step back. =^D


Published by Kirby Moore

Kirby Moore is a healing facilitator based in the beautiful rolling hills of Charlottesville, Virginia. He does sessions in-person and long distance via Skype and Zoom, working with Spiritual Astrology, Somatic Experiencing, Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy and Birth Process Work. His healing work is informed by fifteen years of meditation and Qigong practice. He works with client's intentions and deepest longings to attain clear, tangible results. Contact him for more info at (email): kirby [at] mkirbymoore [dot] com

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