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  • Writer's pictureMike Szot

Mental Prison

In the mind there exists a prison. We’re trapped inside a vehicle that the ego drives. In this vehicle—fear is in the driver’s seat, ego in the passenger seat, and all manner of excuses and validation in the back. As a person in recovery I can attest that I was not who I am today when this vehicle was on the road. This is not to say that I am free of ego or bias, but to say that I am now aware when that vehicle is on the road.

The Destination

This car’s destination is always a place in my mind that vindicates me and removes me of all personal accountability and responsibility. That destination is called comfort. In comfort I am never wrong and cannot be told that I am wrong. In comfort, there was only ever my point of view. There was no recognition of others views as anything other than a threat to my never ending comfort. There exists the cognitive problem with that destination, and it is simply that “no one is always right”.

Comforting Thoughts

Comfort, when abused, is a place of stagnation and zero growth. There is no recognition of fault, and there is no work to be done. I would only ever keep company with those who seek to share my destination. We can call that the radio station in this car. Now I have this place where I can commit harm to myself, and worse harm to others—and be completely justified in it. The cost of this destination is great, and it’s only through “the bottom” was I ever able to see that.

Rock Bottom

The bottom—contrary to popular belief—is not physical. It’s rather the recognition that my destination was wrong and truly a prison. I was the warden, guard, and prisoner of that prison. The most interesting aspect of this prison was that the cell door was always open, but I refused to see it as open. Pride held me captive because pride is nothing more than a manifestation of the ego, which is the fear fueled machine. I was so afraid of so much, and that fear closed off all hope through the very same logic that validated my very imprisonment. It was not until I was able to see truth and say from inside that cell “I am not supposed to be here”. This was accomplished by saying “It is my fault, and it was my choices that have brought me to here”. I am a grateful alcoholic in recovery, because I can say without any hesitation that I am free only because I acknowledge my part in my imprisonment. It mattered little what happened in the past, and it mattered extraordinarily little on who aided my destruction, but what mattered most was that I wanted to be free.


Freedom is in the very admission, and that freedom is a daily choice. Pride had robbed me of all hope and healing for many years. My pride was my protector from truth, and that truth was what was needed to heal these wounds. Comfort builds walls that keep out the beauty and grace of the struggle. Comfort and demand for it create tyrants and monsters of many. I was, and can still be one of these selfish monsters, but no matter what, I will be prisoner in pride again if I demand constant comfort.

Thanks, but I think I will just walk instead.


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