I had not thought this question out very well back in the 90’s. While I did crazy things, the life I was living would have indicated that at times I was nuts, but no one would have considered me insane. I had a responsible job, a family, a home, two or more cars, no debt, volunteered time to causes, etc.
Yet a voice inside kept saying “Keith your nuts” and I fought it. Sure I drank too much at times and drugged some, sure I used other people to make me feel good; but then, wasn’t this “normal” for people in my position? The voice inside said “NOT”.
Today I define insanity in a simple way (and I’m a complicated person trying to live a simple life); you’ve all heard it before; insanity simply is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different outcome.
By this simple definition, I was insane and in the process had lost myself and any self-esteem that I had ever had. Yes I had “stuff” and the outward appearance of “success”, yet I had nothing inside accept that little voice. I was living in a fantasy land and just hoping things would be OK eventually and I was an actor on the stage of life just trying to please family and all those I came in contact with. I could not please me! Not even when I put on my “living” masks.
Finally I sought help. Through a set of circumstances (marriage counselling to please her), I was introduced to a “coach” who understood me. He quarterbacked my recovery over a three year period.
12 step groups were not for a person of my stature in life, yet my “coach” introduced me to the 12 steps under a different terminology. He introduced me, when I was ready, to group therapy and some sharing. He presented the “thought” of treatment (of course with a white collar twist), and eventually checking into a facility became my idea. 16 years ago I was in residential treatment for New Years, a full 3 months after my clean and sober date. I was not ready for 12 step groups YET.
While in treatment, I attended a class on spirituality. I was not and still am not a religious person, but something that was said by the “teacher” sparked inside of me and I went to see her after the lecture.
To keep it simple, I learned what the little voice was inside of me; it was the voice of a power greater than I. Call it what you want, but it was a voice of rationale thinking; the “right” side of right and wrong equation that I had learned to shut down, the voice of Good Orderly Direction, whatever it was, it didn’t matter. It “was” and I began to listen to it. It also opened my mind to 12 step group attendance.
Today, I spend a part of each day in conscious contact with this voice. I talk to it and listen to it. I try to do what it tells me I should do and as best I can, on a daily basis, I give my problems and worries, those outside of my direct control, over to this higher power to handle. I’ve made huge progress, yet there is and always will be a long way to go! I’m work in progress.
The 12 steps tell me that we came to believe a power greater than us could restore us to sanity. I’ve learned this truth.
Once I was coached to understand the insanity in my life, and was coached to find out what the small quiet voice inside was, I became one of those miracles who have been restored to sanity by a power greater than me.
Ever ask yourself if you’re insane? If you are like me and ask the question, it is likely you are! Scary, but this is very common. Look at all the “well known” people around us who have come forward and told us how mental illness has touched their lives.
You have options open to you. One is to continue to do nothing, let the insanity continue, and deprive yourself of self-esteem, self-respect and living the life you are capable of living. This is a selfish cowardly way to live. It hurts others and cheats the world of talent.
Another open to you is to reach out and get the help you need. Depending on whom you are and where you’re at, this help is available in many forms including 12 step groups and the people you will meet there. Personal coaching or counselling are other avenues that can be a good start point. No matter what route you chose, reach out, get help and be prepared to take massive action. There is a power greater than you that can help you find sanity and the internal peace that goes with it. (;

Author's Bio: 

Keith is a Master Certified Life Coach with a specialization in addictions and works with private clients one on one.