I had a day recently of obsession, around and around inside my head, unable to get past it, unable to get by it, chained to that circular route of thought. Horrible. I haven't had a day like that in a long time. The only way to break the obsession was to go for a nap. When I woke up, I was no longer obsessed. What a relief!
I find it hard to believe that I once lived my life like that, substituting one obsession for another, never being able to live at peace inside my own head. I think that may be partly why I read so much; when I was reading, I wasn't thinking about the current obsession.
And where did all that obsessing take me? To misery, time and again, but I hadn't any clue about how to break it, how to get out of it, how to avoid starting in the first place. I had to be in program for quite some time before I realised that some thoughts were just not good ones upon which to dwell - they were the opening bars to an obsession.
I was trapped inside a prison of my own thinking, with no awareness of that reality. I remember feeling very doubtful when anyone in a meeting would talk about "changing their thinking." I was so far removed from that, I couldn't even imagine it. My first attempts were more like pleading with my Higher Power to help me get off a road upon which I'd purposefully set out, hours earlier. I recall walking with my dog, and saying the first line of the Serenity Prayer repeatedly, anything to try to stop the obsessing.
There have been times when the only way I knew I'd been obsessing, was with the feeling of overwhelming relief that washed over me when I managed, somehow, to stop.
My fears consumed my life without me knowing - if anything, I would have considered my worry "prudent." It was an awful way to live, and the only way out was with Al-Anon. I learned to control, to some extent, my own thinking. I learned that some topics were forbidden if I wanted peace. I couldn't say to myself "I'll just worry for half an hour, then the rest of the evening, I'll do something else." For me, it doesn't work that way, if I allow a fear headroom, it will consume me. I may appear to be living my life, but I'm not really there. My body is, my mind is miles away, trapped on a circular treadmill.