So, I’ve begun teaching a writing class (can’t disclose where) that I call: Exploring the space between your ears. The point of this course is to lead addicts through a series of reflective writing exercises such that they learn to “own” the space between their ears (you know, their thoughts, emotions, etc.)
It’s like this: cave exploring is a generally lightless experience. It’s probably a bad idea to explore a cave without a flashlight. What’s an even worse idea is to dive into a cave without an idea of where it leads and how much room there is to navigate and move around. Yet we tend to live our lives without knowing where the space between our ears leads. We don’t explore that area enough, and when we do, we usually find things there like self-doubt or fear. For some, the space between their ears holds unearned shame which then leads to other dark places from which people can’t escape.
Substance dependency further clouds that space between the ears because all it leads to is more substance use. For those addicted to drugs and alcohol, the space between their ears isn’t theirs, really; substances of abuse hijack that space such that people can’t even explore that area because all they’ll find is a never ending desire for MORE….
That’s where the class comes, in – at least, the hope for this class is that participants learn to both explore that space between their ears in a safe and creative way so that they can wrest the map away from substances’ clutches and create their own map to a healthier place from which something good and strong and beautiful can emerge.
Since no one can know anyone else’s space between their ears and I since want everyone to get to know their own, I’m sharing the exercise through which I led the class. I asked the participants to answer:
Have you ever done something that you didn’t understand? In looking back at your behavior, why do you think you acted as you did?
(an aside, this exercise comes from my book, “49 Tips and Insights for Understanding Addiction”)
The class found value in looking inside the space between their ears and I think it was a good introduction for them to reflect on their behaviors that they may not have understood when they first acted as they did. As a matter of fact, their general responses showed real thought and I would even dare to say that they gained some valuable information that they can use along their path towards Recovery. I offer this same exercise to anyone: Really dig in to the space between your ears, addict or not, I can safely say you can learn about yourself in a very deep and real way. Good luck and safe travels down the rabbit hole that can be our innermost thoughts….