Something Awful is always about to happen.
How awful it will be, is in proportion to two things:
1) How bad I am; and
2) How much pleasure I’m experiencing.
The irrationality of this belief is easy to concede. I have cognitive scripts targeted at this belief. I know some of where it came from, which helped make good cognitive scripts to fight it, but knowing where it came from, in and of itself, isn’t helpful.
When the Hammer is out there, I know the one I love most is going to die soon, I’m going to lose my job, the storm from hell is about to blow away my home, and (always) some unspecified Something Worse is out there, too. I am on the Fast Track to being homeless, helpless, alone, sick, desperate, abandoned, etc.
I know how irrational it is, and I have the cognitive scripts and they help a bit. They help a lot, in fact, if I combine them with the Program and practice them on a daily, even hourly basis with a heaping helping of the Steps and the Serenity Prayer.
But it’s one of those things my jerkbrain pulls out of the trick bag on a regular basis. If I can detach the awareness of the Hammer from the “personal” elements of “how ‘bad’ I am” (somehow I earned what’s coming to me...) and/or how much pleasure I’m experiencing (because you always have to pay for pleasure with misery, yanno...) I can short-circuit it more easily.
So, how do I do that?
There’s a paradoxical power in Step One: Powerlessness is freeing. If I’m powerless, I break the connection between “what I want, what I do, what I strive after” and “what happens.” It’s a small help, but a start.