Do you have any spiritual wisdom for alcoholics?
Healing an addiction is one of the greatest spiritual accomplishments. An addiction is the experience of a part of your personality that is completely in the control of external circumstances.
For example, if you are addicted to sex and you meet a willing partner, you will have sex. If you are addicted to alcohol or drugs and you are given a fix, you will take it. It you are addicted to food and you find a package of chocolate cookies, you will eat it. You are powerless.
Spiritual growth is the creation of authentic power, becoming the authority in your own life and able to make the most constructive choices at each moment. This is what an addict cannot do.
In other words, your addiction shows you exactly what you must acknowledge, experience, and heal with your own choices in order to create a life of meaning and joy instead of a life of continual and desperate need.
I suggest you read the Addiction chapter in The Seat of the Soul, and practice the exercises in The Heart of the Soul: Emotional Awareness and The Mind of the Soul: Responsible Choice.
There is no way around your addictions on the spiritual path.
If we are all learning, wouldnâ€™t it be better if we knew what we had done wrong so that we could put it right this time?
A better question is, â€œHow can I create differently?â€
When you act with fear, you make the same choices you have made before and they create the same painful consequences that you have experienced before.
When you act with love, you break this cycle. You can choose differently by remembering that every interaction, even one that you replay in your mind, is an opportunity for you to act from love instead of fear, even if you have always acted from fear in the past.
For example, even if you have always shouted when you became angry in the past, you can choose not to shout this time. If you have always withdrawn emotionally when you became jealous in the past, you can choose not to withdraw emotionally this time. Nothing is stopping you from making healthy choices except the parts of your personality that want to shout, withdraw, etc.
Instead of concerning yourself with â€œgetting it right,â€ focus each moment on making the healthiest choice you can. You cannot â€œget it wrongâ€ because no matter what choice you make you will have the opportunity to learn from the consequences that it creates.
Why not create joyful and constructive consequences instead of painful and destructive consequences?
How do I forgive myself? How do I come back to the good part of myself when I have been in such a dark place for so long?
Not forgiving is like wearing dark sunglasses that gruesomely distort what you see, and you insist that others wear these sunglasses, too. When you forgive, you take the sunglasses off.
Not forgiving is like carrying a bag full of heavy rocks wherever you go. When you forgive, you put the bag down and walk away from it. The person you forgive may not
even know that you have forgiven her.
Forgiveness can happen easier when you see that the pain you are suffering affects you, and only you can choose other experiences. For example, when you are holding a grudge or not forgiving someone, ask yourself, â€œDoes this feel good or bad?â€ (It will feel bad.)
Then ask yourself, â€œIs not forgiving worth my continuing to feel this way?â€
If it isnâ€™t, do something different. Try forgiving anyway, even if the person you havenâ€™t forgiven is yourself. Hold yourself accountable for your decision to free yourself from the pain of not forgiving, or for your decision not to forgive and continue to feel the pain.
Look at your hardship as an opportunity to do something that will benefit you. When you forgive, you take the opportunity.