The British psychiatrist, R.D. Lang, wrote “there are three things human beings are afraid of: death, other people and their own minds. Terrified of my mind, I have always dreaded to spend a moment alone with it. There always had to be a phone in my hand as an emergency kit in case I was ever trapped waiting anywhere, even for one minute, be it a bank lineup or supermarket checkout counter. I was forever throwing my mind scraps to feed on, as to a ferocious and malevolent beast that would devour me the moment it was not chewing on something else”.
On one hand, fourteen years is a long time. On the other hand, fourteen years ago feels like the other day. Fourteen is the number of years I have been clean and sober. The reasons for my addictions are never far away in time and place – they are ever present. And the reasons for me to recover are never far away as well – they too are ever present. Successful recovery is a matter of which I “feed”.
Essentially, recovery is a complex and dynamic process, encompassing all the positive benefits to someone’s physical, mental and social health as well as their spirituality that can happen when we get help with our addiction. It is a process of learning, grieving and healing. It is a process of hope and of commitment to total abstinence from that to which we are addicted. When we talk about addiction we are talking about a wide range of types of addiction including drugs, alcohol, food, gambling, sex and money. There are also the behavioral addictions of resentment, self-doubt, self-mutilation , isolation, and procrastination.
Recovery does not come easily. Recovery does not remain easily. The journey holds many serious challenges. The fear of facing challenges is often what drives people into addiction in the first place. We use alcohol, drugs and other addictions as a way to hide from our problems. If we continue with this in recovery we will always be looking for ways to avoid facing reality. I think it is important to substitute/replace these escapes with practices and beliefs that assist in growing spiritually. Creating a foundation of skills in recovery is essential. We need to develop skills and new strategies to face life’s everyday challenges. Some skills and practices that have been helpful to many in recovery include the 12-Steps (roadmap), Seeking a Power Greater Than Ourselves, Yoga Asana (movement), Meditation (quieting the mind), Support Groups (community), Rigorous Honesty, Being of Service to Others, Making Recovery a Priority , Improving Diet, and Handling One Addiction At a Time. All can be helpful in growing beyond addiction and its resulting behaviors.
Learning to acknowledge and honor all of our feelings and emotions is important because our cell tissues hold memory. Moving out the energy of addiction that has been living in our bodies is vital to our recovery. That is why Yoga is such a key element in recovery.
The Alcoholics Anonymous text states we either grow along spiritual lines or live in alcoholic doom. This goes for all addictions. If we do not become spiritually fit, we stay in a state of suffering. We stay adversely attached to, as R.D. Lang wrote, the terror of our own mind.
Recovery is doable. Getting help can provide guidance in creating a roadmap forward and learning the necessary skills. It also helps create a community of support to encourage us to stay on the journey of recovery.
So Much Gratitude,