Drug addiction took me down a road where imagination didn’t exist anymore. I wasn’t capable of having dreams because every moment of my life consisted of doing whatever I had to do to get my next fix. I couldn’t function without drugs, but they were killing me. When I began my journey of recovery, I was introduced to four key spiritual principles to live by in order to let my imagination flow, achieve my dreams, and help others.
Spirituality can mean so many different things, but it’s essentially what keeps us grounded in our lives. Spirituality brings us balance, peace, joy and so much more, and it’s something that we all have to work towards each day. 12-Step programs emphasize spirituality because of how truly transformational it is on the heart. For many who have struggled with addiction, there is a void that needs to be filled – and while we try to use substances to fill that gap, they simply don’t work. Throughout recovery, however, we can actively strengthen our spiritual selves to fill the missing pieces in our lives.
Although I love words and respect their power, all this is beyond words. My recovery is beyond words–the depth of the relief and happiness and freedom that comes with it. When I hear others speak of it, I know they lack words too. No problem. Their emotional passion is communicated loud and clear. Recovery, Higher Power, Green… whatever. I will think less and feel more. And continue to stay in conscious contact with It so I can notice it all around me.
A newcomer asked me recently what a spiritual awakening means. What a great question… The spirit does not wake with a start. There is no spiritual alarm clock to set. In my experience, a spiritual awakening is a gradual process. Of course, there is the burning bush experience, the vision. And while I experienced a mystical jolt of the soul while detoxifying in Mexico, I’ve come to trust my knowledge from practical experience more than that fever dream, that hallucinogenic product of my delirium.
Balance. Middle Ground. That’s seems almost as elusive as perfection to me, but a much more worthy aim. And the good news is, there’s more of a range to aim for. It’s not an absolute, finite spot to hit or miss. The only absolute I need is that I absolutely may not drink alcohol or do recreational drugs. Ever. And even that’s getting easier to conceive of and accept. I no longer miss those things – even though “one day at a time” does have a nice ring and is a reliable mantra for so much more than addictions. I realize that my “go-to fix” is not anything outside myself anymore.
Here are some examples of contrary actions for “Life’s Little Moments”––what would you add to this list?
Take a walk instead of a nap… Take some deep breaths instead of speaking out in anger at someone… Give someone a compliment when feeling envious or less-than… Make amends instead of plotting revenge… Engage in visualizing the life of your dreams instead of engaging in “morbid reflection…”
If a picture is worth 1000 words, then a word is worth 1000 pictures. Since waking up to this, I’m more selective with my words, whether uttered or just in thought. In the past, words tumbled mindlessly around in my head stirring up emotions, frequently negative, that would spontaneously combust into a tirade or a tantrum, or simmer as internal gloom, fear, or resentment. And I thought it was real. I simply wasn’t paying attention.
We give much attention to getting sober from drugs and alcohol but emotional sobriety is something that, in alcoholic or dysfunctional families, everyone loses. And everyone needs to get back. The essence of emotional sobriety is good self-regulation… when we can’t bring our feeling and thinking into some sort of balance, our life and our relationships feel out of balance too. The ability to self-regulate, to bring ourselves into balance, is key to emotional sobriety.