Today, I dragged myself to the “Heart of Recovery” Buddhist 12-Step group at the Berkeley Shambhala Center. I was resisting going, but with the encouragement of Jon, I just committed to showing up. I am glad that I went because I had a profound realization: I’ve been so focused on resisting and controlling my addiction that no energy was being devoted to my recovery. It was like I was in limbo in my war with myself.
In a text called Cool Water, by William Alexander, he talks about recovery as being a gift that is revealed to you. This made me think of all the ways I have expended energy on curbing my addiction rather than focusing that energy where it counts most: on my Self. I realized that recovery isn’t just about stopping an addiction. It’s about recovery of Self. It is about experiencing the same aliveness, clarity and vibrance inside of myself that I am beginning to experience without the haze of addiction.
All of a sudden, being in recovery wasn’t such a bad thing. In fact, it suddenly became a good lifelong process for recovering and awakening my Self. …
“In fact the spiritual path can be viewed as one of progressive surrender to uncertainty, for the known is the past, while the unknown is a field of infinite possibilities.” – David Simon M.D, and Deepak Chopra, M.D., in Freedom from Addiction
As I continue to work on letting go of my addiction pattern as a series of life-diminishing habits, I stand facing the inevitable unknown that lies before someone who has grown too used to my morass. It is the very nature of addiction that we rely on the familiar because it feels safe to us even if it is harmful to us in the end.
The above quote from Dr. Simon and Dr. Chopra of The Chopra Center helps to put the seemingly daunting unknown in perspective. By our own doing, we have gotten ourselves to this point in life. It is of our choosing that we now know … know the short-term comfort and subsequent emptiness left us by indulging sex, alcohol, drugs, eating, gambling, spending, etc. And it is knowing that tells us that we are stuck in the past rather than being in the deliciously present moment.
It is when I don’t know that I can have hope. It is when I don’t know that I can celebrate … because it means that a different future, rather than a familiar, predictable one, is possible.