This really may evolve into a blog that is mostly about Buddhism and recovery. They just seem to go together for me. I even joined a recover/meditation group finally! I am very proud of myself for taking this step. I know I need a community to keep off the sauce.
The first time I tried to quit drinking was over three years ago. I had thirty-odd days under my belt, and my partner and I had split up, which in my mind had a whole lot to do with how much we drank together. It was a pretty dark time. Hurt like hell, and my whole world was out of kilter. But it was also a catalyst, accompanied by a lot of time for reflection.
I can’t even remember how I first came across the Against the Stream podcasts at that time, but they were the spark that got me invested in Buddhism. More than anything it seemed, at a time when I deeply needed it, meditation offered a potential way to tame the roller-coaster of “big emotions” that seemed to keep getting me in trouble and fucking up my life.
Even though I started drinking again, and even got back together with my partner, the link between the early lessons I learned in Buddhist practice and the ways forward to sobriety has been set in my mind. So there was a bit of a foundation here this time when I got back on the wagon.
My Meditation Group: “Disinterest”
SO the Buddhist thing of the week, from my meditation group, was achieving “disinterest,” which is really a kind of detachment from your own emotions and experiences. That sounds awful doesn’t it? But it isn’t. It isn’t, as one group member put it, the same as “dissociation,” where you detach completely from your emotions. That, she observed, is part of what gets you drinking or using in the first place. Nor is it “not caring.” Disinterest isn’t apathy. You still stay very present in the world. You’re just work at being waaaay less invested in the importance of our own emotions, thoughts and experiences.
Really, we are all pretty self-absorbed as a default. That’s not evil or malicious or selfish or anything; it’s just part of the mundane human experience. I think about my plans, have my feelings, reflect on my experiences, see the world through my eyes and how it affects ME. You are doing the same thing in your own head about you. We all do it. But here’s the thing: if you are in the throes of some kind of addiction, you do it even more.
With sobriety, achieving a calm and thoughtful distance from my emotional storms seems a lot more possible. If nothing else, in meditation, you sit with your own head for a few minutes each day and realize that most of what goes through it is self-absorbed (in that mundane way) and pretty much boring as fuck.
So the way I see it, the sobriety thing and the meditation thing are working along the same current, which is “get my head out of my own arse.” I am far from achieving “enlightenment” which, in the Buddhist sense means that you’ve been liberated from your own ego and all its baggage. But I feel like I’ve got a better chance of moving in that direction when I’m sober.