I go on support group sites on Facebook all the time to see how people are really feeling in their recovery and it’s seriously one of the saddest places that you can ever be. People are struggling day in and day out, begging for help and receiving the same recycled advice and clichés over and over again. “It’s always gonna be a struggle” or “You gotta fight every day!” Just typing that set off stress chemicals in my body that I wasn’t expecting because I actually pictured someone saying those phrases. It’s stress chemicals like that, that set of the ‘fight or flight’ mechanism in our bodies and we’re not even close to being in danger. An abundance of those stress chemicals creates fears and anxiety, and we may be unaware that we’re even creating them. These people are lost in their recovery and feel like they have no way out, and the thought of another fight is making the prospect of staying sober less and less worth it. The bad news is that the fight back is going to be a long and tough road, the good news is that there is no fight to fight.
Recovery can feel a lot like getting a participation badge in life. You get to participate but you feel like you’re never a factor when it comes to getting above where you’re at right now, because your biggest accomplishment each day is not drinking. If you’re so focused on NOT drinking each and every day then how in the world are you ever supposed get your mind above that part of your life, and actually recover? You’re creating a fight that doesn’t exist because we’re used to struggling with everything in our lives. Do you know who gives you this feeling that you have to fight everything? You do, because you’re the one that lets certain people control your life with their advice because somewhere along the line, you lost your confidence, or maybe you never had any to begin with. This is when we create a struggle in our heads that matches our confidence. When you go to a party where there is alcohol you feel like you can’t act normally because you make up a story in your head that the big bad booze is coming to get you and that you’re powerless against it. Now you’re in recovery and everyone around you is telling you the same thing. I’d be careful who I’m listening to because misery loves company. Look back at your life, not someone else’s because that’s the life that matters most to you. If someone gives you advice based on their experience that’s great, but it’s your experience that ultimately matters.
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A lot of times, it was the person that you were told not to be that needs to come out because that person is the real you as an individual. You put this person away long before you started drinking, so if you think the person you want to be is the one that drinks, you’re sadly mistaken. Maybe you had a strict parent or teacher that didn’t allow you to be yourself when you were a kid, so you thought that you must be doing something wrong and held down that personality for years. Doing things like trying to hide who you really are because you care about other people’s opinions so much, is probably a major contributing factor as to why you became an alcoholic in the first place. An easier way to say it would be; You needed to numb the person you want to be with alcohol, to be the person that other people wanted you to be. We take in so much information these days, it’s getting harder to know who we really are sometimes. Everything you think is made up of information that you have received at some point in your past that your subconscious puts together as your opinion based on how you’re feeling at the moment.
All your thoughts are made up of what you thought about yesterday, the day before, the day before that, and so on until way back when you were in the womb. At some point someone told you that what you were thinking, or feeling, wasn’t right, so you changed your thoughts and emotions, but maybe it felt bad to do that. You kept trying to feel the way that the other person or people told you how to feel, and kept your original good thoughts, emotions, feelings, and ideas buried until it started to create anxiety. Every time that you held down that thought or idea that made you feel good, the anxiety built up so much, that you started to question all of your other thoughts and looked for guidance to see how you should feel. Soon, the only place you looked was to outside sources to make you feel better about yourself. In school it could have been to coolest toys, clothes, or shoes, and as an adult it carries over and adds the trendiest cars, bars, and tech. Everything you do is to impress somebody else and it’s killing you to not be you every day, so your anxiety builds up so much that drowning out your internal pain, that may have even manifested into external pain by now, seems like a logical solution. Even if being in the middle of all of the external nonsense isn’t how you live, there are still some major resentments, maybe towards a person or an establishment, that you’re probably holding onto, especially if you’re an alcoholic, because there’s still something that you’re not dealing with that is continuing to cause you to want to drink. Your psychology creates your biology.
When you’re afraid of something, you feel like you have to fight, but when you’re fighting something you’re creating unnecessary struggles to form a sense of accomplishment. By fighting anything, you are the one that is creating the fight or flight scenario in your own head. Go list all the things that you think you must fight and what you believe you have to do to win the fight. If you compared what would happen of you did nothing at all in those same situations, the results would be the same because all the scenarios that you are trying to protect against were all made up by you, in your head, just right now. We’re so entrenched in all the possibilities that we think can happen, that we never focus inward and just realize that maybe we don’t have to fight all these battles because the only person that we’re actually fighting is us. You don’t have to fight alcoholism.
When I started meditating it was hard because I felt uncomfortable in my own skin, and that’s why a lot of us don’t make the time for ourselves, because we don’t really like who we’ve become. If you’re an alcoholic, nothing says I hate the person I’m trying to be for everyone else like making your body chemically dependent. You don’t hate yourself because that’s impossible, but what you do end up hating is this person that reality T.V. shows, political views, and other outside sources created, and now in recovery, you’re still trying to be that person that you are trying to get away from. We treat all of these outside things like they’re our identity when we actually don’t like trying to keep up with all of it because it’s too exhausting. Most of what we do each day is like pouring a full glass of water into an empty glass of water, and we keep repeating the process all day just to keep ourselves busy. We try and feel important by creating menial tasks in order to get by, and never look in the mirror to figure out if that’s what we really want to be doing. Alcoholism is an internal problem that stems from our lack of coping skills to deal with everyday situations that we create, and when we’re overloaded with information, we try to quiet it down by drinking excessively. What if for one day, you didn’t overload yourself, and you didn’t have to figure anything out because there was no input coming in? Could you do it? It might be hard because we’re so addicted to the outside world that we use all that data as coping mechanisms, and never develop any real coping skills. I received no coping skills because my parents were alcoholics, but some kids receive none because they’re raised by television and the internet, or by parents who don’t have coping skills themselves. I was one of those children and one of those parents. It’s a vicious cycle, but it’s one that can be easily rectified by looking inward.
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Where do coping skills come from? Meditation is being studied scientifically with heart monitors, brain scans, by measuring energy in the human body, and all sorts of new ways right now. Scientists and researchers are finding that meditation is far and away the best medicine that we have for treating how we feel. How we feel is how we think, and how we think is how we feel so by changing how we think, we can change how we feel. It sounds crazy, but this is what the science of meditation tells us. When we stop using the outside world and its influences to tell us how to feel, something changes in our inner selves. Science is studying what happens to our brains and bodies when we get outside ourselves during meditation and are finding out how powerful the human body really is. I’ve been able to change the expression of the alcoholic gene by using deep meditation and making nutritional changes to restructure how my body operates, reversing all of the damage done to my organs caused by excessive drinking. This stuff works and there is nothing to complain about because I now have the coping skills to deal with all the crap that I let into my life. If you don’t like the phrase coping skills, then use time management, or filing abilities to feel better about it. It’s your universe and you can call it what you want.
If you start meditating and you inadvertently scare the crap out of yourself then don’t stop because you’re doing it right. The key is to accept the incoming feelings, thoughts, and emotions with love and gratitude, so you can release them in the same way. These emotions are your fears and anxieties that you have let build up over the years and now that you’re willing to let them out… they’re ready. The thing to remember is that they can’t hurt you in any way, shape, or form. It’s only an emotion of the past and should be shown love and gratitude because its best intention was to protect you. It was you that kept the feeling in there for so long and let it manifest into what it is today, so let it out with love and gratitude so it can be free and not have an effect on your emotional state any longer. It’s just you and you in the room and no matter how scary things may get, it’s still just you in a room so you can decide to feel good right now if you want to. You don’t have to fear your emotions because you created them, and if you don’t like what you created, then observe your creation and find out if it has any meaning in your life and get rid of it if it doesn’t. The more you use love and gratitude while meditating, the more your inside view of the world will change and the faster you will recover. Think bad thoughts to feel bad and think good thoughts to feel good. Keep complaining and your complaints will come true because you’re reinforcing that they’re true. It’s time to make something else like a new future true. You are more powerful than you have ever been told and it’s time to start getting excited about it because you have a real opportunity to fully recover!
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Your sponsor can’t tell you any of this, so stop asking someone with zero qualifications to answer questions about you. The questions that you ask other people should be directed at yourself first, because you’re the only one that can truly answer them. I’m not saying don’t get any support, what I am saying is to look inside yourself before you go to external sources, so you know what to ask, and who to ask. No matter what response you get from anyone, the choice to take control of your mind and body is up to you. Remember that the more you complain about your struggles, the more you are enforcing to your brain that your body is in discomfort without alcohol, therefore reinforcing your desire to drink. Do the exact opposite of what the alcoholic version of you would do. You are powerful!
For an inspirational and informative story of how I cured my alcoholism, read my book; Recovered: The Cure for Alcoholism.