Is never far away from me … it is part of me. It is part of my karma that I must release in this lifetime to clean the slate, it seems. I continues to shown up again and again in various ways in my life my family, my friends and even complete strangers continue presenting this horrific disease.
I am a recovering alcoholic, alcohol was my DOC. I have been clean and sober for years and I am proud to say that I have never touched a drop of alcohol since the day I finally admitted to myself that I had a problem with alcohol. I knew for many years prior to finally admitting it to myself and my inner circle but, at the time, I did not have the strength, courage or determination to let go of what seemed like the only thing that numbed my busy mind. It was vice of delusional that led me to believe that I was the person I falsely wished to be – fun, outgoing and exciting – it falsely allowed me to step out of the pain that was seeking my attention at every turn. It allowed me to momentarily tear down the walls of my insecurities and be someone else. It was my friend, too many times I overindulged in this friendship. Alcohol numbed any semblance of my inner voice, it drowned out the whispers of my soul and fed the raging beast that screamed inside me yelling at me to conform to societies expectations of who I was supposed to be; it was a constant battle until it wasn’t a battle anymore. A choice.
I don’t believe in labels, I really dislike them and rarely, if ever, put a label on myself. I prefer to say that I have chosen not to drink alcohol anymore period. I choose to give my attention to my soul’s journey.
I also believe that whatever we give attention to grows, whatever wolf we feed is at the helm of our lives and addiction is no different. When I made a resolve to myself to stop drinking I attended the AA program, a program that has helped so many people move out of a life of addiction and walk a certain programmed set of steps to keep moving towards a higher power. There is so much good in the program but it was not a place that I found any comfort. I believe that whether you’re giving your addiction positive or negative attention, you are still giving it attention. When someone asks you who you are and you automatically say I am an addict you are leaving so much out, so much unsaid of the person you really are. I believe that we are many things in this lifetime and that when we have outgrown a part of ourselves we can simply put it on the shelf and it can and will always be a part of us but not a part of us that we continue to feed, that we give attention to anymore. It is put on the shelf to collect dust because it is no longer a part of who we wish to be in this moment. I believe that with AA and any other program that highlights the fact that you are an addict feeds the addiction and it stays alive inside of us. I believe that if we focus our attention on who we want to become instead of who we were we have a better chance of moving forward and leaving the past behind.
If you are reading this and are considering leaving the beast of addiction behind please get help, it is a disease, a monster and needs the help of professionals in the early stages. The shelf will always be waiting to set it down when you are ready and have support.
Addiction has reared it ugly head again in my life only this time it is the cycle repeating itself into the next generation. Someone close to me has relapsed into addiction, yet again, leaving in its wake people who love and care for this individual, leaving a darkness, a hole in the place of where the heart should be residing. It has been painful to watch this experience unfold again in my life. This time I watch from a distance and witness myself as a “recovering co-dependant” and recognize my automatic reactions of wanting to step forward to rescue and sweep up the mess. It was in this comfortable, yet uncomfortable, place that I became the witness of my old patterns of behaviour and was given the chance to do something different . By allowing another to step into their own power and strength it allowed me to step into the role of support while allowing the other to build their own solid foundation. A foundation that would be sturdy, a foundation that would be build with their own hands, a foundation that would support them into the future without the adhesive of another.
Addiction is a slippery slope. I remember hearing that addiction is always doing push ups in the background just waiting for the mind to falter. It is the truth, once you have let go of addiction it can be a constant battle of the mind if you keep it on the mind. As soon as you notice that familiar body sensations of sweat tingling to the surface, that certain kind of excitement that wells up when you know your next hit is around the corner, and that familiar bubble in the depths of your bowels you know addiction has got you by the short hairs. In this moment, this is the only moment, you can walk away and say NO otherwise you take another slippery ride down the mucky slope until you find yourself sitting in a pile of shit at the bottom knowing, as you look up at the mountain you worked so hard to climb, it is still the same mountain. You start the climb all over again putting one foot in front of the other. One step at a time, moment by moment, day after day you climb until you reach your landing-place, each step filled with the determination, the strength and the courage you have in your tank. Most of the time with addiction it is empty thereby making the climb seem impossible but step after step, you climb, weathered, tired, disappointed, overwhelmed, unsure, doubtful, you climb step by step. Walking further and further away from the urge to do it again.
Addiction is like a starving, wild animal that devours anything you have in the house, it eats away at everything, it destroys all the beauty, it devours everything and when it leaves it feels like it took everything, is has destroyed and you wonder if its worth even getting up again. You wonder if just laying in the destruction will somehow make it all go away and the next time you open your eyes it will all just be a bad dream.
Addiction is the destroyer of the mind, not just the drugs that have been ingested but the taker of everything. It takes any self-worth, confidence, belief, wisdom that you thought you had and crushes it, stomps all over it leaving you feeling worthless.
Addiction lies, cheats and steals and you are left a ghost of who you once were. Your mind is ravenous with want & need of a substance to numb the roaring beast your mind has become.
Our minds are like the mafia, if we open the door to addiction, the mafia move in and takes, blackmails, steals, hurts, beats, disrupts, drops you to your knees, backs you into a corner and leaves you fighting the savage wild animal until all you can do is survive. Survival becomes feeding the mafia, giving it anything it wants in order to stay alive, it becomes a never-ending cycle of abuse without any regard for consequences, if feeds on itself and keeps the cycle going round and round until you are left a skeleton, a ghost, the remnants of who you really are behind the growling beast, all the good is covered and you live as the savage beast raging inside of you with only the instinct of survival, the next fix. The next dose to dull any and all senses and you live a life of survival and anything, anyone who gets in your way will get hurt. It the way of addiction.
Growing up in a violent alcoholic family with a father who lived the daily battle of addiction day after day with nothing left to give any anyone except his roaring beast. We lived with secrets, so many secrets. It became my blueprint in life, it’s all I knew. Living a life of complete honesty and truthfulness has been another journey all of its own which involves a complete surrender to what other people think, letting go of the judgements that you are sure to come with revelation of truth. There have been many times while writing this blog that hitting the send button has produced beads of sweat accumulating on my brow paralyzed with fear, feeling like I was dishonouring a code of silence I tool as a little child, worried for the consequences that I believed could only be abominable.
As I write this the same feelings are produced but at the very same time I realize that it is of no concern to me what other people think of me anymore, the drive to continue on this journey to become who I am from the inside out is most important and it means coming clean, being honest and living with integrity. I vow to keep my heart open, to tell the truth and to live within my integrity in the hope that one person can read my words and take some comfort, some encouragement, and perhaps recognize some part of themselves in my writing and keep moving forward.
The path to equanimity is through self-realization, awareness, stillness, belief, will and a continuous climb. I have realized that although enlightenment would be a wonderful place to reach, in this lifetime I will be very content to be able to stay or at least return to equanimity, which is where I reside today.
As I sign off on this post I wish to send light and love, loving kindness and hope to all people struggling with addiction and hope and pray that someday the knocking on their doors will be something other that the vice grip of addiction. Something so strong; a love, a child, a friend, an inner voice that provides the hope, the strength, the determination and the courage it takes to put addiction on the shelf where it belongs and start living the life you were meant to live, that your light will be ignited with love and that you will shine so bright that you will never allow your light not to shine instead you will become the spark that ignites the light of others, paying it forward again and again!
The cleansing of a karmic debt!