Thursday, 22 September 2011

Coffee with God

After getting drunk the faith that I’d had in God and the twelve step program evaporated like snow in springtime. I was left with the most barren and awful emptiness. I couldn’t believe that I would ever be happy again. I kept thinking to myself: can I really face going through all this again? But as a friend of mine put it: “Do you have any choice?”

And the answer is no. I don’t have any choice. Not if I want to stay sober and relatively sane.

So, last night – as I did the night before, and the night before that – I dragged myself to a meeting. It turned out to be an astonishingly good meeting; a powerful meeting; a really, really HEAVY meeting, filled with newcomers, chronic relapsers and other alcoholics of the rock-bottom variety. At the end of it, this big black guy who’d seen me pissed in Boscombe three weeks earlier came up to me and said: “I was shocked when I saw that you were drunk, but I knew you’d be ok, because of all the stuff you’ve done in the past. God loves you. God’s got your back.”

I thought about this when I got home; and as snapshots of my life flashed through my memory I realised he was right. I thought about all the desperate and dangerous situations I’ve put myself in, and from which I’ve escaped, relatively unharmed. I thought about the inability that I have consistently demonstrated in regards to managing my own life, and I asked myself: is there any time in my life that God has not had my back?

Once again the answer is no. No there isn’t. God has always had my back. And if God had not had my back all this time, I would be in big big trouble.

Right there and then my ego starts to resurface, telling me I’m special, and I have to remind it: I may be unique, but I am not special. I am nothing but consciousness expressing itself as humanity. I am the same consciousness that is expressing itself as the grass and the trees and the universe; as these words that you are reading and as you that is reading them.

To say that there is “one” consciousness is not quite right, because there is nothing else. It is the only principle operating and we are it.

God’s got all of our backs.

Check out Not 2 Likely.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Dead or Fucked or Worse

Recently – after nearly three years sober – I picked up a drink.

Well: to say “picked up a drink” is putting it somewhat mildly. I actually made a decision to kill myself with a bottle of vodka and a handful of Prozac. I knew I was taking a risk, though; and the risk was this: there was a very good chance that I would just come round again, four hours later, having set off the physical craving for alcohol in my body, and be unable to stop drinking.

And that is exactly what happened.

How had I allowed myself to come to this point of insanity?

Those of you familiar with my blog will know that after my initial “spiritual awakening” through the twelve step program of recovery I became interested in the non-dual nature of reality, and decided to adopt the practice of self-enquiry, with the view of attaining enlightenment. This all seemed like good step 11 stuff to me.

I began to live a more monastic lifestyle: I got rid of the telly, spent most of my time in silence and stopped communicating with people unless absolutely necessary. I fantasized about the moment when I would be free of the body, mind and ego. And yet: every bloody morning I woke up, still in samsara; still identified with the body and mind; still in bondage. Or so it seemed. It was like Groundhog Day. It was like drinking. I became transcendentally bored.

The truth of the matter was: I wasn’t getting what I wanted. And what I wanted – once again, albeit in a subtle “spiritual” disguise – was something that would make me feel better. I was, once again, in resistance to what is.

I was trying to fix myself. I had stopped “relying upon God” and was relying almost entirely on my ego (which as we know, doesn’t even really exist). I had cunningly fooled myself into thinking that I was freeing myself from my mind, when in actual fact I was reinforcing my habitual non-acceptance of everything. I was full of spiritual pride. I was screwed: but I didn’t know it.

Wandering around Boscombe, pissed, I would run into people from the fellowship. None of them – thank God – tried to lecture me. They only asked if I was ready for help yet. But I was defiant. I was going to destroy myself.

And then I got “lucky”. Something happened to me which has never happened before. On the fifth or sixth morning I came round with a couple of beers left in the flat. And it suddenly dawned on me: This is futile. This is going nowhere. You’ve already smashed yourself to pieces. You don’t need to do it again.

There and then I picked up the telephone and called my friend, Wobbly John. Amazingly, he had an alcohol detox which he’d kept in a drawer for the last two years against such an emergency, and he administered it to me. And took me to a meeting. And another meeting. And no-one in those meetings judged or lectured me.

And really what I want to say is this: to all my friends and to our wonderful fellowship, thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Without you I would be dead or fucked or worse.

*Incidentally, I no longer wish to kill myself; nor do I particularly care about enlightenment.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Just for Today

Just for today I will try to live through this day only, and not tackle my whole life problem at once. I can do something for twelve hours that would appall me if I felt that I had to keep it up for a lifetime.

Just for today I will be happy. Most people are as happy as they make up their minds to be.

Just for today I will adjust myself to what is, and not try to adjust everything to my own desires. I will take my ‘luck’ as it comes, and fit myself to it.

Just for today I will try to strengthen my mind. I will study. I will learn something useful. I will not be a mental loafer. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration.

Just for today I will exercise my soul in three ways: I will do somebody a good turn and not get found out; if anybody knows of it, it will not count. I will do at least two things I don’t want to do – just for exercise. I will not show anyone that my feelings are hurt; they may be hurt, but today I will not show it.

Just for today I will be agreeable. I will look as well as I can, dress becomingly, talk low, act courteously, criticise not one bit, not find fault with anything and not try to improve or regulate anybody except myself.

Just for today I will have a programme. I may not follow it exactly, but I will have it. I will save myself from two pests: hurry and indecision.

Just for today I will have a quiet half hour all by myself, and relax. During this half hour, sometime, I will try to get a better perspective of my life.

Just for today I will be unafraid. Especially I will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful, and to believe that as I give to the world, so the world will give to me.

Friday, 9 September 2011

The Wise Old Owl of Ordinary Street

There’s a crazy woman who lives down my street. At least, I think she’s a woman, but at times it can be a bit difficult to tell because she takes to wearing pinstriped suits, kipper ties, carrying a briefcase and calling herself Horace.

She calls me Giles.

Recently she’s taken to leaning out of her window and haranguing me as I’m on my way to the shop. Just now, I went out to buy a bag of sugar for my yogi tea, and, lo and behold: there she was; arms waving insanely as she launched herself at me through her open window like something out of a snuff movie.

“Giles,” she screeched, “I see you’re sober today!”

            “Yes, Horace,” I replied, “yes I am.”

           “Well you need to know something. There are only three reasons that you will pick up a drink. One, because you’ve spent all your money on gambling and prostitutes and the pressure of the loan sharks and whatnot has become too much to bear: two, because you’re hanging around with people who are drinking and somehow someone’s convinced you that it’ll be alright: or three, you’re not right in the head. Thus speaks the wise old owl of Ordinary Street.”

            “Wise old owl?” I thought to myself. Mad old bint, more like. 


Thursday, 1 September 2011

The Meaning of Life

I am trying to find the meaning  of life.

So far, life is the answer.

I wake up.

I am aware of the fact that I wake up.

That is it, so far.