mindfulnessAs a former heroin addict I know well what it is to crave my poison of choice, one more hit, just to get me straight…then I’ll quit once and for all! How many of you remember this scenario within your own minds? If you’ve been a drug addict, or an alcoholic for that matter, you’ve been there. But how can we possibly control such urgings of our minds? Once an addict, always an addict. Right?
But is that really true, or is this a conclusion based on ignorance of who, or what, WE actually are? Think about it. When I have a headache I say, “my head hurts”. When I trip on something I may say I stubbed my toe. When I refer to any part of me (my body) I say my arm, my leg, my stomach, my eye, my face, etc. I don’t say I hurt. It’s as though I am innately aware that although it is my body, it isn’t me. Think about this for a moment. Look at yourself in the mirror and every part of your body, both externally and internally; you always refer to every limb and every organ as my ___. Somehow you just know that you’re living inside this bag of bones and what you see isn’t really you.
By the same token, you are also not your mind, either. We do know that, as we also will say things like my mind is ———. Yet all our lives we’re somehow thinking that the endless stream of thoughts going through our minds with no cessation is “me”, that everything I experienced in life was happening to.
Heroin addicts want to calm that endless stream of thoughts, or if using other drugs or alcohol, to stimulate thoughts making us somehow feel better about ourselves. But the mind is also a sensory organ that allows us to process what we experience in the world. Some experiences arise from our movements in the world, from all that we come into contact with each day, but some arise entirely from our own minds, from somewhere deep inside our psyche.
For any substance abuser to successfully change his or her life from one of dependence to a life of independence, we have to become philosophers. We have to search for answers to the basic question of “why am I so damned dissatisfied with life that I need a drug just to get through each day”?
There is a philosophy predominant in recovery that says “you are forever an addict”. The idea is that you must go to meetings of other addicts for the rest of your life, and talk about how hard it is to stay straight, sober. But relapse is common for those attending these recovery groups, as well. Even those who profess to give everything over to God, for they themselves have no strength themselves to combat this problem are in constant dread of relapse.
It’s necessary to go deeper than this. In the beginning we first have to detox, and we need help to do that with some sort of rehabilitation scenario afterwards. We need the encouragement, counseling and loving feelings from others to help us traverse this great mountain of recovery from drugs or alcohol. But then we have to go further, and that’s why I say, “Become a philosopher”.
The “take one day at a time” philosophy is a good one. That’s a mainstay in most drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs, as well as the ongoing programs like Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, etc. You are told to just worry about today, get through this day with a little help from your friends.
It is very true that we need to live in the present. Otherwise life literally passes you by. If we are thinking about our past, we end up feeling depressed. Isn’t it true? Thinking about all the difficult experiences from our past is a bring-down. What good is it for who we are today?
Always thinking about the future keeps us in anxiety. When I get this, then I’ll be happy. When I make this much money I can relax. I want to go there, do this, buy that, eat this, drive one of those, take a vacation, or any one of endless desires or perceived needs for the future. Yet while we are becoming depressed thinking about those experiences that are long past, or worrying about what we think we want to do, or need, in the future that’s stressing us totally out…life in the present is passing us by. Think about it! To begin to become aware of yourself and your consciousness right now, you have to be present, here and now.
addictmindSo today, tonight, tomorrow, try to constantly bring your mind back to your present when you find your thoughts wandering down the path of past experiences. When you catch yourself daydreaming about a future that can never be experienced until you get there, come back to reality. Live today. As a yogi once said to me “Be Here Now”.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This