Here is an article on the Huffington Post written by the founder of the recovery program I have been attending:
Here Noah writes about addiction and I think we can all relate to these words:
What usually starts as a search for happiness and pleasure almost always ends in tremendous sorrow, loss, confusion, and suffering. Very often it leads us to suicidal thoughts, despondency, and shame. For the addict in the midst of addiction, life is often a downward spiral that ends in incarceration, institutionalization, violence, loss, and death. Some may continue to function in seemingly normal ways–working,
parenting, and participating in society–but an internal death occurs, a numbness arises, and they start to disconnect from themselves and from others. A wall of denial and suppression, too high and too thick to scale or break through, keeps others out and keeps the addict in, trapped by his or her own defenses, prisoner to his or her addictions.
The article also discusses how the foundation of recovery is acceptance of the ways that addiction is causing suffering in one’s life. This Buddhist approach uses the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path as a means to recovery. The program doesn’t ask you to believe in a higher power (not that there is anything wrong with that, but it’s not for everyone) and has the following suggestion for a program-
Of course, like every path, you can only get to your destination by moving forward, one foot in front of the other. The path is gradual and comprehensive, a map of the inner terrain that must be traversed in the process of recovery. The path includes daily meditation practices, written investigations of the causes and conditions of your addictions, and how to find or create the community you will need in order to heal and awaken.
My experience of this program has been very positive. The people I have met have been like-minded and down to earth. I like the way this program and Buddhism seems to be more of a psychology or philosophy of living rather than a religion. There is no worshipping of gods (not that there is anything wrong with that), no heaven or hell or sins. But at the same time it teaches about morality, compassion, and kindness for yourself and others.
At the same time, I feel myself rebelling! The more I am getting involved, the more I am doubting and questioning. I am questioning if I want to become a buddhist (not necessary) or live by any kind of set out principles, I’m doubting that meditation really works and my commitment to my own practice is wavering, and I’m wondering if going down this peaceful path will make me a dull and passive person. I’m afraid of dedicating myself to a program because what if I decide I want to change or it’s not the right fit for me anymore? I said to a sober penpal this week that I feel like I’m in limbo- I don’t want to commit further to my recovery program and change my life more, but at the same time I need to to stay sober.
All of those are I think the big question I’ve been dealing with is- what happens if I decide I want to drink again?
I struggled a lot in the last week or so. It was really difficult for me to be around booze. I was visiting with my brother and his family and my SIL made a couple of comments about how she missed drinking wine with me. It’s not that she is not supportive, but I get that a person gets used to indulging in a certain activity with a companion, and then it’s weird for them not to be able to do it anymore. I used to be a huge wine drinker- when we would go there it was all about making delicious food and trying out different wines. So, I understand that she was only voicing what she notices an absence of.
I said goodbye to my car this week. It needed more work than it was worth. I can’t really afford to go into more debt for a new car with the amount of student debt that I have but I am a fairly car dependant person. So I’ll go further into debt. This is stressful, but being able to go into debt, in a weird way, is a privilege. I am fortunate that I have a good job and a good credit rating that people trust me with borrowed money. I will pay it off eventually, it just sucks.
I miss my party friends. I miss hanging out with them. We’re going to a friends place today- a former big drinking buddy. I need to see people and socialize and feel connected. I need to get out of my head. I get why I used to drink all the time- it numbed that inner voice, the stress or anxiety. It worked, until, of course, it stopped working. And then it turned on me.
Last night I was close to ordering a drink with dinner. Thank the universe for my partner who was able to talk me out of it. There must be something in the air because I’ve noticed that a few bloggers with a good amount of sobriety have slipped or relapsed in the last little while.
I need to focus on my recovery and my spiritual practice. I need to learn how to balance that with regular life. I have this sort of either/or mentality- like I can’t be both spiritual/in recovery and also participate in areas my old life with old friends etc. Part of me just wants to take the booze out and keep on with my old life but that doesn’t work. I am scared to change but I don’t really know why.