Insatiable Curiosity

In my home group, we encourage newcomers to read an Essay article entitled “I Don’t Have to Know” for 40 consecutive days. The author describes a compulsive need to know everything around him. He has Batman-like hyper-vigilance that is a habit of insobriety. Realizing that he is not Batman and not God, he relies on the simple mantra of, “I don’t have to know” to practice a healthy habit to not feed the impulsive desire to look. This helps him surrender his need to control and drink in everyone and everything in his environment.

For me, I struggled a great deal in the early months of sobriety when I was just coming off my drug. Although I could accept that I didn’t need to know, I WANTED to know. I’m powerless over lust. I was addicted to the “pull” of curiosity. “I wonder if she would find me attractive?” “I wonder if the sex scene in that movie will bother me?” “I wonder if he mentions his wife’s name on his Facebook account?” “I wonder what was that movement in my peripheral vision?” “I wonder what the correct lyrics to that song are?” “I wonder….” “I wonder….” “I wonder….”

The problem is that I spent most of my life responding immediately to the pull of my habitual desire to voyeuristically squeeze everything out of the world around me. I never questioned that voice inside me. I just reacted instantly to its every question. For example, the voice throws a question like, “I wonder what men’s cologne is the most attractive to women?” Within seconds, I would be on the Internet trying to find the answer. How does that knowledge help me, God, or others? Do I need to know? No! But that doesn’t matter when I want to know. At that moment, I feel as though I will die if I don’t find out the answer.

Typically, my brain will try again and again to convince me that I need this new information. On the other hand, part of my brain says, “Dumb me, why do I want to make myself uncomfortable? What if I see something that steals my serenity?” Henceforth, the battle begins. My fear and frustration grow as I listen attentively to the escalating voices of my ego, both wanting control. One wants to rebel against societal norms to enjoy lust; the other wants to wrest satisfaction out of life and manage my behavior. Help! How can I be free of the prison of conflicted self?! The Bad news: I’m insane! The Good news: There is One who can restore me to sanity. May I find Him now.

In these moments of willingness to seek God I can ignore the voices in my head and look to my heart instead. There, in the present moment, I can find God. He offers me peace and comfort. I can surrender my desire for information to Him. I can affirm that not only do I not need to know, but I also don’t want to know. All that information that I am pulled to intake has nothing to offer me that my God cannot grant me. During those times, my mantra becomes, “I don’t want to know even if I die!” I surrender my insatiable curiosity to God.

I can choose God rather than lust. With His help, my desperate mantra can turn into a calm prayer. “God, I surrender to You my need and want to know. May I find in You the comfort, relief, solace, acceptance, companionship, assurance, happiness, freedom, joy, love, & forgiveness that I seek in the world around me.” I feel God’s gentle hand soothing my restless heart as I release the desire to know. Like a small child, I relax in His arms and allow God to hold me and love me. In God’s Embrace, my needs are met.

Amjed, Texas, USA

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