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In 1987 I was responsible for producing a monthly recovery newsetter to support addicts in the Vancouver British Columbia area. This poem "I Am Addiction" was an anonymous contribution, and I have yet to find out who wrote it. It was - and still is - so clear and honestly revealing of the agenda that addiction has, and how addiction works. I've found this to be tremendously helpful during the subsequent years! I've found it helps me recognize when and how the voice of addiction is trying to defeat my recovery work. (For my purposes, I use the word addiction and alcoholism interchangeably, as alcohol is a drug.)
I hope you also find it useful. Even with 37 + years of recovery, there are still moments - usually only a few seconds at a time, and also only once or twice a year, when I hear The voice of Addiction try to push me around. Today - and for years now - I use this awareness to bring my attention to how I am in some way, feeling or thinking or acting (or all 3!) off centre in some way.
"Centre yourself first in wholeness"
When I was early in my studies to practice acupuncture and other Oriental healing methods, I came across this instruction while reading about the Taoist sages – the wise elders of ancient China.
The instruction is to “Centre yourself first in wholeness.” This is basic guidance to those who want health, vitality, and to be able to embody their highest and best self.
It’s about developing your ability to live your best life – from this moment forward.
The purpose of this embodiment is to learn how to feel, think, and act in ways that create the greatest joy possible – for ourselves and others.
When I first came across this, I asked myself the question: “How do I do THAT???” This was like so many other times, when people have told me WHAT to do, without telling me HOW!
Knowing when - and learning how - to "Centre myself first in wholeness" has become a foundation for me in creating and maintaining my emotional health. I think of it as an essential set of skills in my recovery tool kit.
Being able to use awareness of my emotional balance allows me to catch myself whenever I'm off balance. When needed, I can choose to change my emotional "setting", with these skills for caring for myself, and others.
This isn't like "winning a lottery can change your life" - that's luck and outside of direct influence (other than buying a ticket, of course).
When I use these emotional awareness and "coming back to my centre" skills, I'm able to create changes that equal "the difference that makes a difference".
What are these skills?
There are many variations of them that have developed over millennia, and more are still being added to today. They fall under easily describable practices based on helping us live “in this moment” – and to truly make positive choices based on being informed, rather than under a destructive influence.
They are things like:
a) Physical Body awareness
b) Emotional awareness
c) Cognition awareness: being able to recognize the nature of my thoughts. Seeing which direction they want to push me allows me to work skillfully to bring about change.
All together, these are important pivot points for helping me “come home” whenever I lose myself. Being able to “keep my head when all about you are losing theirs" is part of the gifts of long term recovery. It's also available to anyone who chooses to engage in learning how!
Do I have to wait and hope "I'll be lucky...?"
... "lucky enough" to get "long term recovery" and "achieve serenity?" Or can I reliably accelerate the process?
If you really want to learn how to do this for yourself, you can!
Learning how to strengthen your recovery muscles to a place where you can confidently overcome the "triggers" of addiction – and the way it wants to hijack and destroy anything good in your life - takes dedication and frequent (daily is better) exercise.
The good news is that the exercises are not only easy – they’re also enjoyable, can be done anywhere, and anytime – even in public! They are easily within anyone's ability, and can be learned within as short a time as 6 weeks.