One of many things that I learned as I struggled to survive for many years with the misery and crippling symptoms of untreated Bipolar Disorder and Alcoholism is that the brain and the human mind are receptacles of information and sensory perceptions, leaving them vulnerable to the toxins we feed them.

For a couple of decades, I poured nasty sludge into my mind, like a fast food restaurant dumping the fetid grease from their fryers into “recycling” vats. I cared as much for myself and the consequences of treating my mind this way as the purveyors of heart attack inducing imitation food care for their customers.

The Stoics posited that a human mind is a tabula rasa (blank slate) at birth. My experiences have taught me that it is more like a dry sponge. And our five senses slake its thirst with the “moisture” of knowledge and perceptions from our environment, eventually saturating it. But, fortunately, I also learned it can be wrung dry and re-saturated with cleaner water.

My Bipolar/Addict self was born with the tendency to self-destruct and to gravitate to spiritual and intellectual poisons, almost always zeroing in on the negative, both in thoughts and choices. Spice that up with an indoctrination that included heavy doses of shame, and you have the ideal recipe for a person who, despite being “open minded,” chose to fill that open mind with detritus.

My mind was on a steady diet of catastrophic thinking, self-hatred, toxic shame, mental self-flagellation, false negative core beliefs, unwarranted fear, pornography, macabre movies, dark music, cynicism, hatred, revenge, and many other twisted, perverse forms of junk food. Yum Brands would’ve been proud in a metaphorical way.

Subsisting on this abhorrent diet, my mind became as sick and dysfunctional as one would imagine a human being would become were they to live on McDonald’s, Doritos, KFC, Twinkies and Coke.

For me, a significant part of finding stability and sobriety has been to change my mind’s “eating habits” -feeding it positive affirmations, realistic thoughts, love, positive sensory stimulation (by staying away from toxic people and environments), spiritual readings, recovery books, more uplifting music, prayer, and many other fresh, organic “mental fruits and vegetables.”

As a result, I feel better, I am stable and sober (one day at a time), I am no longer an easy mark for the predators who live amongst us, and I have a life instead of an existence.

I have a good attitude, so I put good things in my mind.

Thank God for the grace and wherewithal to do so!


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