Sunday, November 17, 2013

I was once scared of a toaster

Once upon a time, I was scared of a toaster.

My fear was that if I left the toaster plugged in, there was a chance that the toaster could start on its own, that this strange-but-true-automatic-starting toaster would catch on fire, that the toaster would start a conflagration, that the entire house would burn down. Therefore, I always checked, double checked, and rechecked that the toaster was unplugged. I might put the toaster in my car when I went shopping just to ensure it wasn't plugged in. My mind buzzed with the possibilities, however unlikely, and a simple household appliance caused me much misery. For nervous people, this probably doesn't sound too bizarre, as anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders often lead us to do some pretty strange things in retrospect.

Recovery helped me through these feelings. I learned to become a realist. Dr. Low taught me that anticipation is often worse than realization and, especially, that feelings are not facts. I spotted my reaction as distressing but not dangerous. I decided I would no longer unplug the toaster, thereby "doing the thing I feared and hated to do," as we say in Recovery language.

Over time the urge to unplug the toaster decreased and, when I felt the need to check it, I relied on my Recovery training. In fact, the other day I noticed that my roommate had unplugged the toaster, and I promptly plugged it back in. At this moment I realized how much progress I have made since I started this blog in 2008 and my Recovery training and 2009, and for that I'm giving myself a hearty endorsement.