35 Days On: A 2,868 Word Review

August 23, 2008

Good morning/afternoon/evening, readers. This is an entry with a difference.


I want to start this entry with a small highlighting, if that makes any sense. I am currently sitting in my parents kitchen, where I am temporarily residing while (a) they are away, and (b) I house-sit.


It is currently 8pm on a Saturday night, certainly not a time for a 28 year old single male to be sitting in a kitchen in his boxer shorts and an ‘Animal’ (from ‘The Muppets’) t shirt. I would have been out, but my arrangements got confused – which was totally something I deliberately did, but more on that later.


Being that I finally decided to write this blog tonight, I made myself some tea, and sat down at my laptop. I actually began the initial part of this entry a few times, but deleted it, thinking perhaps they didn’t make enough sense, or they weren’t grand enough to introduce something I have decided will be a ‘tent-pole’ entry in this blog: a review of me, 35 days on.


My sub-conscious reaction to this was much the same as the ‘old’ David would have felt – which, in this case, was to pack up, go to a Starbucks, and, if I was going to struggle with my writing, at least be ‘seen’ to be attempting to be poetic. Of course, in the constructs of my dark-side, I could struggle with my own artistry in the comfort of a public place, and perhaps people would be attracted to me, or I could revel in my loneliness.


You learn quickly once you leave the Hoffman Process that some things don’t change. As I have said many times in these entries, the world keeps turning, and we keep turning with it. The only major differences are within ourselves.


I realise the above is a largely pointless story of someone who wants to be recognised. I guess you could level that argument at this entire entry – hell, this entire blog – if you liked, but actually, it does illustrate something very important – at least to me.


If I had never attended Hoffman, (and let’s say I was blogging about something else completely, like what a douche I was) right now, I would be in my car driving to the biggest Starbucks I could find, to sit, not write a thing, and generally preen and pose for a couple of hours until I went home, and bear myself up for what a loser I was. Instead, I am in the kitchen. Why? Self awareness, and that’s what it’s all about.


It has been thirty five days since I left Florence House and The Hoffman Process. This is my story.


I Am Closed Box

I am going to start this bit of the blog entry by making something quite clear: this entry is about me. And as much as I love and adore all the people on my process, I won’t be talking about any of them.


I won’t bore you with my back story – that’s in the ‘about me’ tab above – but I will say this: If days are building blocks, from 21st October 1979 to 4th July 2008, a combination of external and internal factors conspired to build and create a person I absolutely hated; myself.


I was a liar, a manipulator, a thief, insecure, self conscious, a user, an abuser, (not physically, I hasten to add) an underachiever, lost, depressed, anxious, plagued by negativity and a lack of any sort of emotional relationships with anyone.


I myself had created the modern David – a person devoid of any authenticity; whose character was a composite of things I admired in people, or what I thought people wanted me to be, or, worse, things I hated.


My life was a succession of lies – some so ingrained they had almost felt like the truth – that I struggled to keep track of, and who I had told what to.


The thing is, the above makes me sound like a terrible person, and, as I am typing away furiously and at speed, I have probably left a number of things out. But what I learned was the most important lesson in my life: I was just a product of my past.


I learned a number of things in my process, some by realisation, and some by confronting them in the most public ways possible. I learned that I blamed myself for a lot of things – for my father leaving when I was 4, and again when I was 7. For my mother not being able to emotionally relate to me. For my step-father, and the hatred and anxiety I had with him that I came to realise was fear. I blamed myself for these things, and for the mess my life was in.


In my more recent therapies, and just prior to entering the Hoffman Process, I had a newly-rehearsed line. (Most of what I said to therapists had either been said to a different one previously, or practiced beforehand) The line was this: ‘I realise now that there are things in my past that have affected me in ways I can’t even begin to realise’. Of course, it may have been a slight variation on this, but you get the drift.


I was right, of course, but saying it out loud had made no difference to how I felt. I blamed myself for everything, and because of all this, I felt unloved and unlovable.


And I was lost and the dark side had total control.


The Box Opens

There can be no denying that The Hoffman Process changed my life. None at all. The person that emerged was so different from that which entered that there can be little argument for overwhelming evidence. But I have and perhaps always will be a little concerned by just how little emotional release I actually went through.


Very little of what I went through felt… ‘raw’. Perhaps I don’t even realise the impact, or perhaps, as was suggested, the energy and mindset you find yourself in during those key moments are so ‘other-worldly’ that you don’t realise it’s happening. I saw so much outpouring of emotion, but honestly, part of me wondered why I wasn’t collapsing in floods on uncontrollable tears, or why I wasn’t completely lost in anger or regression. I did wonderful work on my process; life saving work, but quite a lot was done in my conscious mind, and perhaps that is why I am so equally conscious of continuing my work outside of the process.


What surprised me was how angry I was. I have always known I was a terribly passive-aggressive person, but when I let go, I really let go – to the point of almost frightening myself – and I learned to combat my crippling self-consciousness.


They say the process is a beginning; a platform from which you build. In the 35 days since I have left the process, I have come to realise just how true that actually is. The work we do away from the process is actually just as important as that which we do while we’re there. What I have come to learn is that rather being a ‘fixing-factory’, The Hoffman Process merely cleanses us and sends us home with the detergent – the tools for maintaining a sense of the true, clean, us.


I will be honest, there are parts of me which Hoffman did not fix, and some things which still dictate to me, and run my life in certain aspects. But what is important is that I know what they are, and when they are pulling away at me.


In these next three sections of this blog, I am going to look at what has changed, and what hasn’t. And then, finally, what the future holds. Get comfy, go make some tea, and I’ll see you all in a moment.


The Changes

How’s your tea? Mines just finished. Well, I have been writing this blog for 54 minutes already.


I’ll start this part of the entry with a statement I am very proud of: the positives vastly outweigh the negatives. There really have been an insurmountable number of positive changes.


The first, the most obvious, and my joint favourite is the lack of lies. Lies were my protection – my embellisher and my favourite means of deception. It didn’t matter whether it was innocuous or whether it was something huge, lies were how I led my life. I suspect there are many who know little or no truths about me at all. And now, whether it puts me in a positive light or not, I cannot help but tell the truth. Sometimes, it has hurt; sometimes, it has hurt me, but I am proud to say that the time of lies and bullshit have long since passed from my life.


Coming joint top with that wonderful new part of my life are my relationships. Ironic that I should talk about this having recently broken up with someone I loved, but it is a small price to pay for the ongoing, beautiful, wonderful period of reconnection I am currently enjoying.


I never believed, even for a moment, that my relationships with my parents could be so good. In the past, I resented my mother deeply – obviously tied into my childhood experiences – but also because of the ways she had changed from the person I knew, as she grew into a life of increasing affluence and wealth that my parents are lucky enough to enjoy. It ties into something a few paragraphs down, but I came to realise that her emotional distance had nothing to do with her feelings about me, rather it was just the way she was. We will never be the sort of mother and son who share our most intimate of intimates for mutual advice, but our relationship has never been stronger, and it is all because I now see and appreciate that we are who we are, and how to make that fit


The greatest change of all has come with my step-father. In the space of two months – from the time I entered the process until now – we have turned 180 degrees, and gone from two strangers who could barely stand the sight of each other to the closest father/son relationship I could ever imagine. In all the years I longed and pined for a father, I would never have believed I could have something as wonderful as this.


With my sister, with my brother, with friends, relatives and acquaintances alike, I am reconnecting with everyone, some slowly, and some as though there were floodgates just waiting to be pushed open.


This all has come about because, finally, I know myself. Of all the reconnecting I have done, by far the most important has been with myself. I now finally know who I am, and it has allowed me to have, for the first time, focus, direction and a completely unknown sense of determination. I have kicked myself down to the ground for so long, and it is truly an overwhelming pleasure to know I am able to pick myself up. Knowing myself as I do, and being able to see that I am not a terrible, awful person as I thought I was is the most precious of gifts.


The Hoffman Process throws a lot of buzzwords at you. So many, in fact, that it is almost impossible to remember or absorb all of them. But if I only remember one for the rest of my life, I hope it’s this:


It’s not about me.


Let’s say it again. It’s not about me. I fucking love those four words.


As I said earlier, self-consciousness crippled me. I would spend my entire life wracked with worry that people were judging me at every turn – that, to them, I was shit until I could prove otherwise. Of course, being that my self esteem was so low, I never could figure out how to prove a thing, which only made it worse.


But I learned that if I was a product of my negative patterns, then so are you. And so is him, and him, and her. Perhaps there was a touch of misplaced arrogance there, but I genuinely believed that people were judging me, and that if I got shouted at, or someone didn’t agree with me, or I said a joke and no-one laughed (this happens fairly regularly) that it was because I was a terrible person.


But I see now. It’s not. Actually, I really like myself these days, and I recognise that, a couple of flaws aside, I’m actually a pretty fucking fantastic person, and people’s moods, senses of humour, or reactions have absolutely nothing to do with me. I practice self love, and I do love me these days. It’s not about me.


Bloody hell, this is a very long entry isn’t it? Ok, so I think I should close this section with something I have learned, and it is this: give yourselves a break. You are not perfect, life is not perfect, and the world most certainly isn’t perfect. I have learned that sometimes, you just have to say ‘it’s not about me’, or accept that you have a flaw or two, and just give yourself the break to say ‘but ultimately, I’m a good person’. Or even allow yourself to get angry. It’s not so bad. I am not so bad. As long as you have more good than bad, you’re doing a pretty fucking good job.


The Kinks

Sadly, some things are déjà vu all over again.


I emerged from Florence House a pillar of strength and new found adventure; eager to discover the new me.


What I found was mostly good, but some negatives remain.


But look above – I ain’t beating myself up about it.


I still have OCD. The need to have everything in order is long gone, as has my obsessive need to organise and plan in great advance. However, I am still prone to an unstoppable desire.


Sometimes, it is just for a ‘thing’ – a new shirt, some sunglasses, a car, a laptop – and nothing will come in-between my desires and realisations. This is not so terrible – not great, but workable.


However, one aspect of me, one of my most hated, remains. And it is to do with women.


The old David didn’t have girlfriends or girls who were friends, nor did he have objects of desire. He just consumed people. I used to try and explain to therapists how sex addiction worked, how orgasm wasn’t during the act of sex itself; that, in fact, the sex itself was largely joyless and uninteresting, but that the act of orgasm was at the point of someone turning up at the door, or saying ‘I’ll be there in 10 minutes.’ It wasn’t the sex, it was the power. It was knowing you ‘had’ them.


Some of that, sadly, has remained. I still feel unwavering desire for some people, and still don’t hear the word ‘no’ very well – though again, this isn’t in a physical way, its just if someone is uninterested, I tend to plough on regardless and pester them to the point of defeat or annoyance.


This tells me that there is still some anxiety in me, and still some insecurity, despite how consciously secure I actually feel. I am fortunate that I have the tools at my disposal to work with them, and, if nothing else, I am conscious of this urge; this desire, and that’s the first step to freedom.


Conclusion, Future

In conclusion, my life is incomparable to the one I left. Though much is the same – my job, my personal life, etc – so much has changed that sometimes, I struggle to stop myself from climbing a tall building and doing a dance. The Hoffman Process is an absolute gift, and I am forever in the debt of the process and the people I met on the way.


What the future holds I do not know, but for the first time, I am genuinely excited, and, if nothing else, I firmly know what I want. I have a few ideas, but I am not going to get obsessive or single minded about them, nor am I going to punish myself if they do not come to fruition. All I know is that I feel overwhelmingly positive; positive for the little changes, for knowing where my faults lie, and for the person I am, and can become.


If you have read this entire thing, I would like to offer you my thanks. I am sure it hasn’t made a whole lot of sense at times, and I am going to fight the urge to edit it, as I think I’d like to leave it as it is, raw. Thank you for sharing this with me, the externalisation of 35 of the happiest days of my life. It must have taken tremendous patience to get read this far. Trust me, patience is something I’ve come to learn all too much about.


Thank you again for reading this short entry.


Until we resume normal service, I’ve been Closed Box.


Goodnight world.


3 Responses to “35 Days On: A 2,868 Word Review”

  1. R G Says:

    I was supposed to be asleep 40 mins back, that was when I decided I will read this one blog and go to sleep. Your story of change inspired me, so much that I did some search on the internet to see what exactly is this process.

    I would call myself a micro You (before the process I guess), except for the liar, manipulator, thief, user, abuser bit, I guess I have the same problems at a very small level. I’m coping with that, improving over a period of time.

    I’m glad that it worked for you, keep blogging!!

  2. […] August 26, 2008 by David Levy Good morning blog fans – and a special good morning to my friend Shira, if she’s reading. And a big shout out to R_C, who was kind enough to read and comment on my mammoth entry over the weekend (it should be below this one). I have to say, reading it back, just how proud I am of it and the words and sentiments, not to mention the maturity it contains. Link here: 35 Days On, A 2,868 Word Review […]

  3. Tonje Says:

    Wow. I really admire you. Not only because you have changed as much as you have, but because you are able to write down all this and be so “into” your feelings, if you understand. (My English dictionary is not perfect, so it’s kind of difficult to explain.)
    But, I admire you.

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