I am grateful that I get to tell you my about my journey, it’s been pivotal in my life. I had nothing of a life before.
In my addiction, I actively worked to drink and use every day. It wasn’t a hobby or a side gig. Being in oblivion was the mission. Sometimes I would chase fireworks, only to find smoke when I arrived.
As an addict without my dope, I am without my solution. I am still irrational sometimes, even without the drugs and alcohol. I am also conscious of my mistakes. The worst part is when I say something, twist my own words, and end up saying something that sounds very strange. I have negative feelings that grab my back, actively tugging on my hair. They whisper “Do you remember when you failed? Do you remember when you messed up? That is all you are”.
I would love to boast that meditation and my spiritual practice have expelled those monsters. I still say very strange things, and I still get those bad, grabby feelings. It is through meditation that I make sense of it. I am grateful for the troubles that have graced my path. I get to understand that these are normal human experiences, a wonderful gift of sobriety.
Sobriety has given me a change of perspective, to say the least. It allows me to see the world just as it is. There doesn’t always have to be magic, or wonder, or anything all that exciting. I can look out to the world and allow it to go by.
I practiced meditation long before I got sober. It was of benefit at first because I had trouble sleeping. I had a back problem that kept me crooked for months at a time. Meditation brought calm to the hazy storm cloud in my head. It usually doesn’t take more than a couple of breaths before I can feel the clarity start taking shape. Breathing is a practice I approach with great admiration and appreciation.
The important part of meditation, for myself, is moving through my thoughts lovingly and without judgement. In a formal sitting meditation, I have the opportunity to think about a lot of things. This process is patient and can be accompanied by a guided meditation which helps me to focus on individual breaths. There are some active meditations I take as well. A long walk around the nature reserve where I live is a perfect chance to appreciate nature’s strength. Meditation can also be painting, or gardening. Anything where I’m concentrating on the present moment, staying with my breath and movements of my hands. I can set aside a certain amount of time for my own mental health.
In meditation, there are chants I use to clear my thinking when troubling thoughts arise. I choose positive statements to repeat over and over until I forgot what I was chanting for. In meditation, I have a chance to see the truth of these thoughts. Many times I am ridden with shame for past actions and this overflows into resentment. In meditation, I feel union with the humans I pass on my journey. It brings balance to my all-or-nothing thinking.
My sobriety has been the backbone of everything that I know to be true about the world. It started me on a journey of knowledge and introspection. There have always been open hands in my life, but until I got sober I didn’t have my eyes open to see their offering. The most important people in my life today are those that are themselves, with an honesty and longing for clarity that I see in myself.
I learn to see and honor the ordinary with respect and reverence. I don’t run after bright lights seeking something I know I will find within myself. When I struggle with something, I can throw myself into some TED talks, read a book or take a walk.
I understand that spiritually, I am still a child. I am learning like a child. I am sensitive like a child. My feelings are dynamic, and I can react as such. I used to run away from my life to escape this exact thing. In sobriety I have nothing to do but be. I am working on loving my inner child, and meditation has allowed me open up for the embrace.
It is all a process in tiny steps, something that I never understood before. I see now how important it is to be open-minded, honest, and willing- to be with myself. If you feel ready to meditate, I encourage you to find your own safe space to explore.