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Anyone here in recovery?

Buddha-DudeBuddha-Dude Canada Explorer

Hi. Yes I’m Buddhist and yes I’m an alcoholic. I’m in recovery. The pivotal moment when I realized that I wasn’t in control anymore. (And never was) Does it make me a bad Buddhist? Or did deep insight meditation help me realize it?

ToshyagrVimalajātiajhayes

Comments

  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited October 15

    Welcome to New Buddhist, @Buddha-Dude.

    Actually, I think it makes you a good Buddhist for developing the insight that you weren't in control and needed to make a change in your life, realizing that doing so was for your long-term welfare and happiness, and then putting forth the effort to do so. That's the essence of Buddhism and the eightfold path.

    lobsteryagr
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think 'Merica! Veteran

    Buddhism isn't for Buddhas, its for human beings. Welcome.

    yagrKundoLee82lobster
  • Welcome to NewBuddhist. How long have you been dry? <3

    We have alcoholics here.
    I am addicted to meditation. Whilst most are trying to increase their fix, I am trying to unfix the broken mentality that @person mentions.

    We also have power addicts, probably another thing I need to give up ... along with giving up ...

    yagr
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    My alcohol consumption has been up and down a lot over the last year, at the moment I drink a single beer every two days or so, so very light. But I admire anyone who is going to give up entirely, it takes some dedication and discipline...

    yagr
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited October 16

    @Buddha-Dude said:
    Hi. Yes I’m Buddhist and yes I’m an alcoholic. I’m in recovery. The pivotal moment when I realized that I wasn’t in control anymore. (And never was) Does it make me a bad Buddhist? Or did deep insight meditation help me realize it?

    Addiction is an issue many of us have contend with, and it's not necessarily as easily identifiable as a substance. Addiction to a particular behaviour, habit, phobia or trait, can be just as debilitating, inhibiting and distressing. And of course, there is the danger of replacing one thing with another....

    A wonderful, though sporadic contributor to this forum (@Tosh) knows a good thing or two about such a predicament.

    There's no such thing as a 'Bad' Buddhist. Come to think of it, there's no such thing as a Good one either.

    Just Be. Do your best. And if you trip up, get up and carry on.
    We're here to support, help and talk. But the walking is your job... ;)

    personyagrlobster[Deleted User]
  • ToshTosh Veteran

    Alkie here; 9 years sober, but I still have lots of lesser addictions (cake, chocolate, running, and thoughts; probably more).

    I don't identify as being a Buddhist; I don't think I need to; there's not much point in it for me and could possibly make me appear a bit weird to other alkies, who I try to help.

    I'm more of a '12 Stepper', which still encompasses living an ethical life, meditation, and a practise of compassion; though I can't say I'm brilliant at any of it.

    I'm taking a running friend to his first AA meeting tonight. He's more of a drug abuser than an alkie (or so he says), but I suspect he's willing to let go of the drugs, but "please, not the booze too". Yes, one of 'them'. Haha.

    He has full on Tourettes with the ticks and swearing to go with it. Women love him though; they really find him attractive.

    It almost makes me wish I had Tourettes syndrome.

    [Deleted User]Buddha-Dude
  • yagryagr Veteran

    Also an alcoholic/addict...26 years clean.

    Buddha-Dude
  • VimalajātiVimalajāti Whitby, Ontario Veteran

    @Buddha-Dude said:
    The pivotal moment when I realized that I wasn’t in control anymore. (And never was) Does it make me a bad Buddhist? Or did deep insight meditation help me realize it?

    How did you feel that you weren't in control? Was that a freeing realization or a saddening realization? Did you realize you were not in control (and never had been) due to alcoholism, or did you realize you were not in control (and never had been) due to some other factor?

    Was this an insight into the lack of a controller, or a lack of control? Did it feel good, or did it feel bad?

    Was it a pivotal moment within your recovery path, or a pivotal moment in your reflective diagnosis leading to the undertaking of a recovery path?

    lobster[Deleted User]
  • Buddha-DudeBuddha-Dude Canada Explorer

    @Vimalajāti. I’ll approach this from a couple of views. In the A.A. 12 steps. The first step is to come to a realization that your life has become unmanageable. The behaviours that were part of the alcoholism lead to a daily routine that simply is not my authentic self. Some say the “disease” was to blame. As far as out of control due to some other factor, may imply resentment or outside actions being coped with by drinking. I always “felt” I was in control, but reality was that I wasn’t in control. It was a good feeling to come to understand that I wasn’t “normal”. I wasn’t able to just stop. I simply accepted that I needed help.
    It was disruptive, destructive and frankly disrespectful to myself. I realized that. Whether it felt good or bad to realize this is irrelevant. To pin a emotion on a awakening is like asking a stubbed toe if it felt good or not and would you like to be stubbed again? It felt both freeing and sad to realize this about myself yet happy that the end had come to suffering. And that the path out of suffering by taking Refuge in the Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path was truly a pivotal moment.
    For years I had studied the dharma. Finally the pivotal moment was to realize I was suffering. I was unhappy. AND for no real reason.
    While I may not have answered all your questions, I approached this to the best of my ability.

    Kundolobster
  • Lee82Lee82 Veteran

    I find it interesting that those who are "clean" still refer to themselves as alcoholics and not former alcoholics, why is that? Do you never really consider yourself free of that affliction? That the risk/worry of relapse lives with you?

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Lee82 said:
    I find it interesting that those who are "clean" still refer to themselves as alcoholics and not former alcoholics, why is that? Do you never really consider yourself free of that affliction? That the risk/worry of relapse lives with you?

    Because the desire and danger is still there. An Alcoholic may stop drinking, but the temptation to drink never leaves, and an alcoholic is surrounded by constant opportunity.
    It's the same as gambling.
    So many advertisements on TV for Gala Bingo, Post code lottery and Euromillions... the temptations surround the addict.
    I like that drink and gambling adverts always have the 'small print' "Drink/Gamble Responsibly"...
    The first time you give in to that particular habit, it's irresponsible anyway....!

    Buddha-Dude
  • Buddha-DudeBuddha-Dude Canada Explorer

    Its quite common for “normies” (as they are called in AA) to not understand how the addictive mind works. There are three types of drinkers. Type 1 can take ot leave it. A bottle of wind can be opened and left undrank for weeks. Sometimes never touched again. (These types really don’t understand addiction at all but generally have problems of their own) Type 2 are heavier drinkers. Binges even. They however could stop at anytime if promoted by an outside ultimatum. I.e. doctors orders, dui. Etc. Type 3 are unfortunately addicts. No matter how hard they try they simply cant stop the cravings. Thr brain has been rewired by their addiction to go to any lengths to get their next “fix”. Usually the only help they can get is to seek treatment and remain in a program that slowly rewires their thinking. Yes, it is possible to be recovered. Would they risk taking a drink again? Rarely has it gone in their favour. Rarely!! It truly is a brain disorder. Mich like depression or anorexia. Some say disease. (I disagree). Addiction is a strange thing. “Normal” people tend not the understand it.
    Hope this helps.

  • Buddha-DudeBuddha-Dude Canada Explorer

    Sorry for the typos above. Wow! Really need to start proofreading. O.o

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited October 22

    I was told by a friend (who is an alcoholic) that there are also 2 types of alcoholics:
    An Alcohol addict and an alcohol dependent.

    This distinction can be difficult to discern, but one way is to see that usually (but not always) an alcohol addict is seemingly permanently drunk, and the problem is discernible by all those connected. A Dependent on the other hand, can go for a good while without alcohol, and can continue functioning quite normally, and most of their social circle can remain entirely unaware that the person is alcohol-dependent. But once they begin to drink, they can't stop, until they pass out....

    This is a very simplistic 'test' and not always applicable...

    Addiction - or compulsive substance use despite harmful consequences—is characterized by an inability to stop using the said substance; failure to meet work, social, or family obligations; and, sometimes (depending on the 'fix'), tolerance and withdrawal.

    Dependence is when the body adapts to the substance, requiring more of it to achieve a certain effect (tolerance) and eliciting "drug"-specific physical or mental symptoms if substance use is abruptly ceased (withdrawal). Physical dependence can happen with the chronic use of many drugs. Thus, physical dependence in and of itself does not constitute addiction, but it often accompanies addiction.

    (Taken from "A Guide to Drug Addiction - FAQ" written leaflet, from my Doctor's surgery)

    And this highlights the dangers of see-sawing (Teeter-totter) addictions. :(

  • ajhayesajhayes Northern Michigan Veteran
    edited October 22

    @Buddha-Dude said:
    Hi. Yes I’m Buddhist and yes I’m an alcoholic. I’m in recovery. The pivotal moment when I realized that I wasn’t in control anymore. (And never was) Does it make me a bad Buddhist? Or did deep insight meditation help me realize it?

    Glad you found your way here, @buddha_dude. I'm in recovery as well, just hit my 10 years in September. Whatever brought you here, either being a bad Buddhist (don't worry, I'm a bad Buddhist too) or deep insight (if it's this, tell me how you got it ;) ). This is a good group of people (and crustaceans). I feel comfortable talking about whatever is bugging me or sharing ideas here. I'm looking forward to hearing more from you. -^-

    person
  • Lee82Lee82 Veteran

    But are you saying alcoholism or addiction in general is not cureable? Even 10 years without drinking you would still consider yourself, and have others still consider you, as a dormant alcoholic if you like? Just trying to understand the issue.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Lee82 I am not an addict myself, but have known four, two in my family, and 2, close acquaintances.

    See, it's not the substance that is the problem. An addiction is a behavioural problem, and the behaviour is ingrained. Even if you remove the substance completely, the person is still vulnerable due to this behavioural 'blimp'. They can stop drinking/smoking/taking drugs, but it's not the removal of the substance that does it - because in one way or another, they're all still available.
    The real fight is the ability to continue resisting and to suppress the behavioural trait.

    You can take the person away from the 'drug' - but you can't take the desire out of the person. To mash a hackneyed phrase.

  • ajhayesajhayes Northern Michigan Veteran

    @Lee82 said:
    But are you saying alcoholism or addiction in general is not cureable? Even 10 years without drinking you would still consider yourself, and have others still consider you, as a dormant alcoholic if you like? Just trying to understand the issue.

    @Lee82 - @Federica said it pretty well. I still refer to myself as an alcoholic. More accurate a recovering alcoholic. Recovery is an ongoing process; as long as I don't take a drink, I'm alright. But, if I start again, I might be ok for a week or two. After that, I will quickly slide into my old habit.

    I suppose dormant is a good term for it as well. Thanks for asking. :)

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @federica said:
    The real fight is the ability to continue resisting and to suppress the behavioural trait.

    A friend of mine recently completed a residential course at a rehab facility, and according to him current thinking is that vulnerability to addiction is caused by other significant issues in the person’s life. For him it was a tremendous fear of being abandoned, going back to his being given up for adoption by his birth mother early in life.

    The rehab clinics help bring to the surface these kinds of deep-seated issues and help develop new and healthier coping patterns, lessening the pull of alcohol and other addictive substances.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Kerome said:

    @federica said:
    The real fight is the ability to continue resisting and to suppress the behavioural trait.

    A friend of mine recently completed a residential course at a rehab facility, and according to him current thinking is that vulnerability to addiction is caused by other significant issues in the person’s life. For him it was a tremendous fear of being abandoned, going back to his being given up for adoption by his birth mother early in life.

    The rehab clinics help bring to the surface these kinds of deep-seated issues and help develop new and healthier coping patterns, lessening the pull of alcohol and other addictive substances.

    Yes, exactly, that's my point. it's not the substance that is the issue.
    It's what's going on in the mind, that is the issue.
    he learned a behaviour due to his unfortunate circumstance, and found that resorting to a substance might have helped him numb the pain to begin with.
    After a while, the pain is still there, but the addiction then takes root.
    That is, unless something is done.

  • Buddha-DudeBuddha-Dude Canada Explorer

    Fantastic book about the addicted mind.
    “The Biology of Desire” by Marc Lewis.
    A neuroscientist who has studied addictions and the brain. He maintains that addiction is NOT a disease, rather a “wiring” problem in the brain. It is possible to be recovered. But once that “switch” is flipped on again, the cycle of addiction starts up again.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    A lot of people have labelled it a 'disease'. In fact, it's become a 'trendy' description, but I have always argued against it.
    Seems I was correct in asserting it was a behavioural "in the Mind" problem.

    Thanks for the informative update, @Buddha-Dude ...

    Buddha-Dude
  • Rewiring is part of the cognitive dharma.
    https://www.buddhistrecovery.org

    Meanwhile ... for the tantric inclined ... here is one remover of obstacles with a few inspiring words ...

    https://www.sivasakti.com/tantra/dasa-maha-vidya/tara-part-1-3/

    I used to have a beer on my shrine in case Tara was thirsty (she likes water just as much) ...

  • Addictions seek to fill a “God-sized hole” inside the addict, as they say in AA. Or maybe a Buddha-sized hole for non-monotheists. My substance of choice (five years sober) made me feel like my true self, the one I’d always meant and was destined to be. But meanwhile, I was living in an Imax movie inside the head, starring guess who, while wreaking some personal havoc. The addiction was a dodge, a grandiose evasion from facing things I had not ever faced—the real work needing to be undertaken once the drama of the drug was out of the picture. Someone once described drug abuse (and by extension addiction of any sort, I’d say) as ‘“samsara within samsara.” 🙏🏻

    lobster
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Dhammika said:
    Addictions seek to fill a “God-sized hole” inside the addict, as they say in AA. Or maybe a Buddha-sized hole for non-monotheists. My substance of choice (five years sober) made me feel like my true self, the one I’d always meant and was destined to be. But meanwhile, I was living in an Imax movie inside the head, starring guess who, while wreaking some personal havoc. The addiction was a dodge, a grandiose evasion from facing things I had not ever faced—the real work needing to be undertaken once the drama of the drug was out of the picture. Someone once described drug abuse (and by extension addiction of any sort, I’d say) as ‘“samsara within samsara.” 🙏🏻

    Yup.
    You can't use shit to clean up shit.

    if you'll pardon the language.

  • yagryagr Veteran

    While the folks here have described alcoholism and addiction very well in terms of societal norms at the moment, I have a different take which I offer as food for thought maybe - certainly not to sway anyone or argue.

    As I mentioned above, I have twenty-six years clean and truth be told, I don't consider myself an addict any longer - I am recovered (past tense). That said, I usually use present tense because it is convention. The subtitle of the book Alcoholics Anonymous is, "The story of how more than one hundred men have recovered from alcoholism" - also past tense.

    Every addiction specialist swears by two tenets:

    1. There is no cure for addiction.
    2. Alcohol or drugs is just a symptom of the problem.

    And every addiction specialist or counselor I've ever heard from, including the books Alcoholics Anonymous and the Narcotics Anonymous Basic Text, break down addiction to either a spiritual malady or an emotional one. If this is true, then those two tenets cannot also be true (imo). If alcohol and drugs are just the symptom of the problem - then remove the problem and the addictive substance goes away. Fix the emotional issue or insert spirituality and presto chango... I do understand that such talk would be a death sentence for most, and so I don't share it often. You folks are always an exception.

    I have absolutely no desire to use drugs recreationally again. I distinguish because I am prescribed narcotics due to my health and I take them. It's been just about three years

    (http://newbuddhist.com/discussion/comment/468354#Comment_468354)

    of 40 mgs/day and I stopped taking them for two weeks in August, just to see if I had a problem. I didn't experience anything that would be considered withdrawal. I mean, I spent more time in pain of course and pain woke me up more than I liked. I firmly believe that twenty-six years ago I would have traded the pills for heroin by this time.

    Anyway, just some thoughts - no wrong way to stay clean and sober.

    lobster
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think 'Merica! Veteran

    I think this is relevant to the causes of addiction being a deeper emotional issue.

    yagr
  • I think @federica summed up my particular case beautifully. I’ve had a lot of troubles with alcohol over the years which came to a head this early this year, after an assessment at a rehab facility it was deemed that I was ‘dependent’ rather than ‘addicted’ but I would require a chemical detox to get me away from it safely due to the massive amounts I was drinking.

    It was very successful and nearly 7 months in I’m not even tempted to drink. It’s not that I’m afraid to start because I won’t stop, it’s more of a case that I just can’t be bothered as it was having no effect on me when I was drinking even huge amounts. As part of my work I see first hand the damage alcohol does to people (I see people who are dying because they’ve drunk a tenth of my regular amounts and only for a couple of years whereas I got away with it for 30 years), I’ve learned just how fortunate I really am.

    Am I ever going to drink again? Probably not but purely because I’m loving sobriety and it was the only precept that I used to have trouble with. I’m actually quite proud to share my story (to carefully selected people) and I know of at least three others who have asked for help as a result.

    federica
  • Buddha-DudeBuddha-Dude Canada Explorer

    I created this as a recovery artwork. The Noble Eightfold Path on the outside. The Refuge in the middle. K for Karma. And on the edge of the triangle is the addiction cycle.
    Thought I’d share.

    yagrfederica
  • Ah K for karma ...
    I thought it was kryptonite :3 :p

    Bravo! B) <3

    Everyday calmer and karma. Iz plan! 🌈💗🙏🏽

    Buddha-Dude
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