Sine the forum has this category, I figured I’d say something…
I’m in recovery from alcohol and drugs. 20 years clean n sober. I used to smoke cigarettes too. Alcohol n drugs eventually and inevitably inflicted serious consequences and pain on me. That pain made me…or rather made my mind, look. And what that mind was looking for was the secret. How could I continue to drink n drug which I used to shut the mind and it’s incessant “thinking” off, and get the consequences to back off a bit. Not go away…just back off. Turn the heat down. Thats how little I thought of myself. I wasn’t asking for freedom from addiction…just a short respite.
That lead me to rehab where to my shock and dismay they informed me that “alcohol n drugs are only a symptom of the problem”. To which I asked “then what IS the problem” to which they replied “YOU are the problem”. Me? Huh…how could that be. That got me into AA but I was in no way convinced nor did I buy into that cult crap. Little did I know then that my mind…or more accurately, the mind, had its own plans and defenses against anyone or anything taking away its ability to get me to drink n drug when it decided thats what it wanted to shut off the emotions and pain that came with living. It didn’t bother identifying any possible joy of living.
Let me give you an example. I asked my friend who had some years of sobriety… how can it be, that after a particularly heavy night of drinking and drugging along with the inevitable and relentless mental and physical anguish that follows, and I say to myself…”never again! I will not drink or drug again…ever”. And say it with all the force I can muster. And then, usually not long after making this potential life changing resolution, the same mind relents and eventually says…what the hell…let’s go. And I’m off to the races again. My friend looked at me and said “you’re brain is broken, stop using it”
What? Stop using it…what does that mean. He replied “if you were an accountant and needed a calculator to add and subtract numbers and every time you put in 2+2 and the calculator came back with 5 and was obviously broken, what would you do?” Yes… I would stop using it and get something that worked. He said to do the same here. So what worked? And he said spirituality.
That got me into reading about Zen and developing a meditation practice which lead me to Eckhart Tolle, Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta, Jordan Peterson, etc… it also lead me to realize that my friend was right. My mind was and had been running the show. I believed I was the thinker of the thoughts. I am not the thinker. I look at the mind and ego like the Wizard in the wizard of Oz. All through the movie the characters are petrified of the Wizard and as they approach him, the big booming voice frightens them even more. But once they pull the curtain back and see what they’ve been afraid of… the little weasely mind/ego, they are shocked. That is what I’ve been afraid of. That is what I’ve been allowing to run my life.
Of course, this has taken me 20 years to understand and I have barely a beginning of understanding. But I know now, to the core of my being, that I am not the thinker. Along the way, I came across a so called definition of an alcoholic…I think it can be applied to any addicted person. And it is: “an alcoholic is someone who refuses to give up a life of failure without a fight”
That was me. Thats is my mind…the mind.
I also believe now that what the mind had discovered via alcohol n drugs was a repeatable way to shut itself off…or as Eckhart Tolle says “ a way to go below thought “ which in the beginning is experienced as euphoria.
I learned that I could go beyond thought meditating and stay in that state afterwards with no consequences other than good things happening.
AA uses a phrase that describes the emptiness addiction leads you to as “incomprehensible demoralization”. I know that feeling as all addicts do.
So I went from someone who would have settled for a life of misery bearable only with the constant trips to oblivion via alcohol n drugs to someone who can experience basically whatever life brings me without having to drink or drug. I’m not saying I like everything life gives me, I don’t. But I haven’t had to take a drink or drug in over 20 years…that is a miracle. That is a blessing.
Thanks for reading