Seeing Red

This morning I did an interesting, literally eye-opening experiment that illustrates the power of visualization and the mind.

Think of this experiment like the tasty tray of sample bites at Costco. Try it, and if you like it, you can take the whole box home with you.

I've spent many years reading and studying Rhonda Byrne's life-changing book, The Secret. It goes heavily into visualization and being on the "right frequency" in order to summon the Law of Attraction. I've loved her approach so much that I have the words "Thoughts Become Things" tattooed as part of the sleeve inked forever on my right arm.

So let's get to it.

If you've done this experiment before, do it again, because it's a great reminder of how involved and in control we actually are (despite feelings of being absolutely out of control, sometimes) in the actual creation of our day-to-day reality.

Close your eyes. Actually don't. Not just yet.

Keep reading the instructions, then close your eyes.

Once you've closed your eyes, imagine the colour red. Flood your mind with the colour red. Every shade, hue and rich palette of red candy apples, fire engines and roses. Red buttons, red shoes, red walls, red cars, flirty red dresses, and red, flashing lights.

Red wine.

Everything, everywhere, is red.

Stay there for a moment, feeling and admiring red, red, red.

(Hot tip: this is the point where you can close your eyes and start picturing the colour red for a minute or two).

Now, open your eyes.

Look all around you, and notice how you're immediately drawn to each and every red thing in the room. (Aside: this will likely only work if you actually have red things in your room...).

I didn't think we had anything red in our kitchen - until I looked around and my eyes zeroed in on a red Betty Crocker spatula, then the red power light on the oil diffuser we keep running in our kitchen. A little bit of red on the birthday card just to my left, which I bought for my nephew. The dogs red water bowl. The round red 'close' button in my browser's window that I'm typing all of this in.

I wasn't looking for red things.

My brain just found and brought to my attention what it was I had visualized with such intent.

My thoughts literally became things right before my eyes.

Just because you don't always see something doesn't mean it isn't there. The trick is focusing your attention and energy on what it is you want to see in the world around you.

Now, imagine if we start to apply this witchcraft (I call it witchcraft because a sober mind is truly full of of magic) to other parts of our life. Visualize yourself pulling into the best parking spot at the grocery store. And when I say visualize, I mean really truly envision and feel yourself pulling into that parking spot – know what the steering wheel feels like under your hands, see the short distance to the store entrance, see and feel what you're wearing and the way the sunlight reveals all the dust on your dash.

The more senses you can utilize the better.

Now, imagine if we apply it to staying, or becoming, alcohol free. Actually, let's take a step back and look at how the Seeing Red theory applies to when we had no control over alcohol.

I clearly remember what it felt like - and I mean truly felt like – being in the throws of uncontrollable alcoholism. I was desperate, depressed, and broke down. When I closed my eyes, all I saw was black. An endless, unmanageable loop of more desperate, depressed, broken down days.

And the past.

Let's face it: as alcoholics, we spend a lot of time trapped inside our heads, all the while feeling as though we're losing our minds.

I put so much focus on how awful things were, how out of control my life was, and how I was this destructive tornado in the lives of everyone near me – and guess what?

That's exactly what I got more of. 

More depression, more being out of control, more obsession over alcohol, and more rapidly declining feelings of self-worth.

More blackness.

Instead of seeing red, I was seeing in the world exactly what I was giving my attention and energy to.

I was sitting in the hot mess I'd become, and all I could see in the landscape around me was more of what I was focusing on.

The crappy parts.

The dark parts.

The unforgivable, shameful stories of the past that I kept reading to myself night after night and day after day.

Now, let's fast forward to the day I decided to get rid of alcohol (again). I shifted my focus and attention to Annie Grace's The Alcohol Experiment, to supporting and getting support from like-minded souls stuck in the same struggle, and to climbing my way out of the pit I'd thrown myself in.

I fixed my attention on becoming healthy, helpful, clean, strong, and sober.

I pictured myself succeeding.

I visualized myself in what should be difficult situations, tripping over triggers that would normally land me at the bottom of a bottle. And I visualized myself having fun, laughing, comfortable, confident – and sober.

I pictured / picture myself getting rid of alcohol as the easiest thing I've ever done.

Day by day and trigger by trigger, I'm intentionally setting myself up to seek out sobriety and strength in the reality I have within my power to create.

It's been scientifically proven that the act of visualization can literally rewire your brain. And it works with everything from seeing red, to finding parking spots, to getting and staying sober and most importantly: Gratitude.

If you can visualize and feel – I mean really, truly feel – gratitude for what you do have, when you open your eyes you will seek out – and the world will present to you – even more people, situations and things to be grateful for.

It's cliché, I know.

Mind over matter. But it works.

It's time to start using our minds to create what really matters.

Sober, alcohol free recovery blogger.

Photographer. Writer. Ex-Blackout Artist.

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