August 31

COURAGE MONTH: DAY 31: “Give your enemy a face, If he is human, do not dehumanize him. Know him and know why he is your enemy. If your enemy is within you, understand what it is and why you are afraid. Put a face on your fear. When you understand it, and it is no longer vague and shapeless, you will find that your fear is no longer so formidable.”― Mercedes Lackey

Most addicts talk about their addiction as if it were a separate part of their brain that could be removed surgically. That is not how this works.

Ego is the seat of addiction. It is the “monster” we must overcome to be free of addictive patterns and tendencies to self-destruct and make others the fall guy for our problems. Our “enemy” is not human, nor is it something we can remove from our human experience here on this blue marble.

However, I found a way to give it a name and a face. Many years ago, in my pursuit of peace from Ego, I began to study Buddhist principles. In fact, I did this many years prior to coming into recovery. Of course it did not work when I still drank and used copious quantities of drugs. However, the ideas were comforting to me and I never stopped the study, along with a powerful indoctrination in Hindi practices, which is how the Buddha grew up and the studies he followed. I also have a lot of learning in Indigenous Medicine practices that began in my childhood.

So, when I came across the term “monkey mind,” I related. I am that. And I began to long for the cessation of the monkeys screaming in my head. I gave the monkey a new name when I heard a friend of mine talk about how he lived with a gorilla in his brain that was out to get him, in reference to his addiction. I loved it! So I named mine the “Screaming Purple Monkeys” (SPM) probably 30 years or so ago. Most  of you who have read my writings for any time are familiar with them. As are any of my old clients or sponsees, because I love to talk about this as an entity that is separate from Kelly, who is a spiritual being on a journey to end the reign of the SPM, at least in her own life.

It gives the enemy (Ego) a face that keeps me right-sized and comfortable with talking about how Ego works to destroy everything in our lives and keep us in a constant state of unhappiness, stress, anxiety, depression, and fear.

I love this quote. It was new to me when I gathered the quotes last month, and I kept waiting, all month is would turn out, to write about it. The reason being that I am not comfortable with the term “enemy.”
But when I started writing today, I found I could comfortably sit with the term. It is not one I ever use, because it fits nowhere in my beliefs, but I do resonate with the quote a lot. So SPM is it! Be courageous!

Published by: Kelly

I am a therapist and counselor with long-term recovery from addictions and personal trauma. My writing reflects these experiences and the road I have traveled in 12-Step recovery settings, along with the work I have done for over 30 years in the field. My love of dolphins includes the stories of them being healers in places all over the world. I long to offer every broken spirit and body the experience of a healing hug. May my words and stories inform, uplift and delight your spirit and soothe your weary heart.

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