Quenching that Spiritual Thirst
I have been keeping up my regime of getting more spiritually fit – went to mass and then a meeting.
I have also been doing a lot of walking too (approx 5 miles a day).
Although I still blog on the neuropsychology of addiction on my other blog (kinda alcoholic having two blogs isn’t it?) http://insidethealcoholicbrain.com/ my heart and soul is moving noticeably back into the world of recovery and doing recovery.
My head has been learning what my heart knows already.
Not just turning up at a meeting and sharing my experience and insights but also doing low level service, like always helping clear up after the meeting, stacking chairs, moving tables etc.
I have also enjoyed talking to newcomers. It has been fascinating meeting people where they are at.
Rather than using my memory banks to relate my stories of treatment and recovery, I am more interested in their own spiritual journeys of self discovery. I kinda feel excited for them.
It is always spiritually nourishing to see people suddenly get it, to see the light of recognition and acceptance of their condition start shining a new light in their eyes. The beginnings of psychic change and a spiritual awakening about their condition.
I go to chapel but rarely see this type of transformation. Perhaps the people at mass aren’t as spiritually ill as us? I am not so sure sometimes.
I shared this with an earthling/normie who had some experience of 12 step groups and she agreed most enthusiastically that the conversions one sees in 12 step groups appears more profound than any she experienced in chapel.
It makes one think this – how is is that a hopeless drunk can suddenly be so dramatically altered in his or her views of the world and those in it. How come they can come to accept a higher power in their lives so readily? Almost as if they had some strange disposition towards this?
Is this part of the gift of desperation? Is it partly an acceptance of seeing it work in others and this encourages one to explore this themselves?
Is it because there is close link about being humiliated by alcohol and the necessary ego deflation which leads to humility (for me humility is tied up with accepting one needs help and then asking for and receiving it)?
When i came to AA I was determined not to do the God thing but I intuitively understood the spiritual thing.
I had been a practicing Buddhist on and off over a decade or more and firmly believed that all suffering comes from an attachment to the self. I still do.
Hadn’t I already been looking for a spiritual solution to my problems?
Both my parents were very religious and both had issues with alcohol (my father before I was born) and drugs (Valium in my mothers case). In fact my parish priest was an alcoholic and my father would have to go the the parish house at least half an hour prior to mass to make sure he was sober enough to take mass. A beautiful man he was too, our local priest but an active alcoholic.
Was I born into this world with a spiritual thirst, a thirst for communion with the infinite, something beyond the self, with the divine in order to escape the often emotionally painful limitations of the self?
Has it always been necessary for me, spirituality? Does in balance my inherent lackings?
Before I went to mass I meditated for half an hour. I used this Christian meditation where I simply lie in a corpse position on my back and wait or God’s Grace. Sometimes I utter the words “Come Holy Spirit Come” and give myself wholly to His Grace.
Then I have this creeping feeling of peace, of stillness, of quiet.
I have some of the thoughts I normally have but they do not effect me, they are no longer exerting any distress and I no longer react to them. They are no longer propelling me out of bed and into some course of action.
They are my thoughts devoid of anxiety, devoid of emotional pain. But they are still mine but cwtched in the comforting embrace of God.
To be an addict about it – it is like an analgesic, a pain killer in a sense. Like an opiate but without the disappearance from reality, instead remaining still but present in the now, in this moment.
The best way I can help explain further is in relation to the video below where Thomas Merton describes contemplation and mystical union with God.
This helped me a great deal this video because when talking of God we have to be careful we are not creating a self construction of God which leaves us still in the finite parameters of self and self delusion.
It is beyond self but it is a realm in which the self communes with that beyond oneself. Thomas Merton explains it better than I ever could!
It is the sense of the infinite, the escape from the attached self, the transcendence that I have always wanted, craved and finally compulsively sought .
Why did I not find it fully before? Why, well I think this is because I had always had this other way of finding transcendence and that was in a bottle or in a drug or in a behaviour.
I could not fully find this divine transcendence until I saw the lies of this chemically created transcendence.
It had always been getting in the way of what I really need, a full God consciousness, full transcendence from self.
After the meeting I stopped and talked with two elderly woman and then walked them up the street to where they were going. We laughing and carrying on, gently making fun of each other, stopping to talk and go on, then stop again and go on, with silly talk and laughter.
We stopped and staggered our talkative ways on the hill to Main Street. Arm in arm with foolish fun. To the outsider we must have looked like we were acting like three drunks would, talking, and excessively gesturing, caught up in waffly exuberance. Slightly intoxicated by our merriment.
I remember thinking this is similar to going out on the town with friends, who mainly were alcoholics too and are mainly now dead.
We could have looked like three drunks who had finally found what they were looking for!
Drink was never the answer, it got in way of the answer but also kept some of us from killing ourselves while we waited for this answer, His Mercy.
God blesses AA!