Isn’t it amazing how we punish ourselves? Isn’t it insane that we have been brought up to believe that we are inherently not worthy of happiness unless we kill ourselves trying to obtain it through security, status, power, relationships or sensations?
This was brought home to me last night when in a sudden flash of the bloody obvious I realised that I have been punishing myself for getting drunk several weeks ago.
There is so much guilt and shame inherent in an alcoholic relapse that I almost subconsciously switched existential positions: from that of a man with a fairly healthy self-image to that of a worm.
It’s not surprising really, given the culture of recovery that I have “grown up” with: if you take a drink/drug your status is instantly reduced to that of a “newcomer”, and anything that you’ve learned in your former period of sobriety (regardless of how long or happy it may have been) must be discarded because “it didn’t work”.
So – true to acceptable form - as soon as I was sober I decided to flagellate myself by putting myself through the tedium of finding a new sponsor to “take me through” the twelve steps. “Must be humble,” my brainwashed subconscious belief system screamed, “must act subservient, must discard all your knowledge and deny all your spiritual experience and pretend that you know nothing.”
The problem is: I am not a newcomer and I know a hell of a lot. I have had many spiritual awakenings over the last three years, as a result of practicing the principles of the program, and the subsequent enlargement of my spiritual life through meditation, investigation and the practice of Self-knowledge. To deny who I am and my experience of “God” would be ludicrous.
I don’t need to wait for somebody to show me how to recover. I know how to recover. I know why I got drunk and I know what I have to do to stay sober, and I choose to recover NOW.
(And listen to Ravi Shankar while I’m at it.)