I was supposed to write this post last year, documenting my “rehabilitation” as a survivor of a sunken ship. But I’m glad I’m writing this only now because hindsight is always 20/20 as they say.
I started writing down this 12-step program with help from my friends @rajenica and @kayteegee8, who like me, were trying to swim ashore from different sunken ships at that time.
More than a year has passed since. I celebrated my first anniversary being “sober” in this post.
So here are the steps:
1. Acknowledge you need help.
The first step is always this. Whether you were in denial for a long time or just hit rock delusional bottom, acknowledging that you have a problem and knowing you need help is always a good start.
2. Find a support group.
You can’t rehabilitate on your own. Misery loves company you know.
3. Let it go.
Go on, let it out. Whether it’s having a good cry or singing your heart out in a KTV, do it. Crying is good, it cleanses the tear ducts too. Exercising your vocal chords is good, it relieves stress. Sing “I’ll never ship this way again” with all your might. There’s no use bottling everything up, you have to let go of the pain and disappointment. It’s part of moving on.
4. Cut ties. Delete history/bookmarks from computer. Unfollow from SNS. Delete photos, videos… everything. Don’t leave a trace.
Once you’ve used up a month’s supply of Kleenex and dried the tears, it’s time to take the first real step towards sanity. And that is, trash all the memories. Just like in a romantic break-up, you don’t need reminders of the past. Erase the bookmarks, clean your cache. Abuse the delete button. It frees up space in your hard drive too. By erasing and deleting, it makes room for happier things in your life.
5. Assess the damage, start rebuilding. Take on a new hobby or advocacy, find other interests — except shipping.
Like swimming, maybe, so you won’t sink next time. Or running, so that when the next temptation to ship comes along, you can run away very, very fast.
Seriously, there are a lot of interesting things in the world. Paint. Write. Read the books you’ve always wanted to read but was too busy steering your ship. Do photography. Travel. Or retail therapy is always a good excuse. Even in the world of fangirling, there are other more deserving talents to support. But tread those waters carefully.
6. Take your time.
There’s no rush. For some, it may take time to recover. This is not a race. The more you rush it, the more you may not be able to reach the shore. I sailed for five years and it took me a year to swim ashore. It was not an easy journey but I made it!
7. Track your progress.
Of course, you have to know how far you’ve come. But be brutally honest with yourself. It does not help convincing yourself that you’re on the right track if you aren’t because in the long run, it’s still your sanity at stake. C’mon, aren’t you tired of delusions? Don’t delude yourself even here.
8. Test yourself.
With your bookmarks and alerts gone, Google is your friend–or enemy, depending on how you’d look at it. Search for news and information about them. Revisit their SNS. Watch videos of them. Why, even read fan fiction on them. Push the envelope. Test your limits.
9. If you don’t falter, proceed to #10. If you suffer a relapse, go back to #1 and scream/beg for help.
10. Treat yourself.
It’s a monumental step to proceed from #8.
Being able to do all those things and not feel compelled to go back to the ship (and maybe help bring the ruins ashore) shows you have recovered. It must have been a long, but very enlightening journey.
It’s time to reward yourself. Throw a party. Light some fireworks. Eat all the ice cream you want. Drink all you can (which I did and suffered a horrendous hangover for the first time in my life). Eat to your heart’s content. Splurge on a really nice dress or shoes or bag or jewelry. We have different ways to treat ourselves. So do whatever floats your, er, boat. You deserve it.
11. Pay it forward: Share your experience with those struggling with the same situation, help others.
You know what it’s like to be in the delusional rut you were in before. Batshit crazy. Not pretty. So help those who are, but only if they cry for help. Pity those who are drowning in their own delusions and existing in a parallel world believing in their versions of truths, but all you can do is feel sympathetic towards them. Been there, been that right? Until they do #1, that’s the only time to step in.
12. Congratulations! You are now successfully rehabilitated.
Looking back, I can only hope I don’t go that way again. In fact, this 12-step program is a constant reminder to myself that jumping on a ship is not an easy, smooth journey.
it’s time to bring this ship into the shore and throw away the oars forever.
Coz I can’t fight this feeling anymore.
Oh no. Wrong song.
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