Of late, I’ve noticed despair and desire arising and sometimes becoming a distraction and a focus of my meditation for several days. I, at times, intentionally try, and impossibly fail, to avoid feelings of despair and feelings of desire. Despair often creates hopeless sadness. Desire becomes an obsessive urge, often harmful, to change the way that I feel or to escape the way that I feel. And yet, like so many things I notice, despair and desire are inextricably connected.
While I’m committed to the practise of spiritual principles as a part of my recovery from alcohol and other drug addiction, the emphasis within Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) on being accepting, compassionate, tolerant, unselfish and loving, etc, and of “practising these principles in all our affairs”, combined with literal interpretation of fellowship literature, can lead to unrealistic expectations of ourselves and potentially harmful consequences.
A pandemic seeming without end, a stark political divide, hurricanes in the gulf, raging fires in the west all creating anxiety of an uncertain future that can overwhelm me. Being present for myself and for those that I love and that love me at times is threatened by my urge to flee, to withdraw from life, and retreat.
Emotional sobriety is a term thrown around recovery circles. It implies that we have more to recover from than just the physically addictive properties of alcohol. When I first got sober, I thought that it was the physically addictive properties of alcohol that kept me sick.
Of late, I’ve been aware of how important light is to my well-being. Fall has sometimes been a signal of occasional seasonal symptoms of depression. Before getting sober, this became unbearable because, even on medications, I had no tools to as we often say, live life on life’s terms.
When astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson was asked why people who don’t know the answer to a question still claim they know the answer, he responded, “…It’s called ‘The Argument from Ignorance”…It’s a remarkable thing going on in the human brain. It’s, you don’t know what something is, therefore it’s something that you know it is.”
This is the first part of the webinar on Emotional Sobriety that was hosted by the Freethinkers Living Sober Group in…
Once upon a time, I lived as if I had no choice but to drink alcohol in good times and in bad. I was ‘powerless over alcohol’ and I made my life ‘unmanageable’. Part of me knew that I was self-sabotaging any chance of living the kind of life that I hoped for and once thought possible. Even more insidious was the shame that I felt for the harm that I was causing those that I loved and that loved me.
The basic principles which the Oxford Groupers had taught were ancient and universal ones, the common property of mankind… The early AA got its ideas of self-examination, acknowledgement of character defects, restitution for harm done, and working with others straight from the Oxford Groups and directly from Sam Shoemaker. (Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, p. 39)