My new journey in Recovery Dharma

Everything is gonna be alright. But I do not know what alright is for me or for you.

My basic fear was of being abandoned. This led me to looking for certainty, the security and predictability in the passage. It is only in sobriety that I can allay my fear through a spiritual union with the Divine, through endorsement of the logical conclusion that everything that happens is real, and through emotional connection to other humans who are as frightened as I was and still can be.

I desperately wanted my world and feelings to change, and I just as resolutely did not want to change my behavior and I was almost incapable of changing my thinking that eventually, the booze would work, or would at least stop hurting me. One of the fundamental requirements of sobriety, and this is not new to me, is willingness to change behavior and thoughts. The willingness to accept reality per se required a new demonstration of honesty with myself and self-examination of my motives.

The short passage you cite is so succinct. It embodies most of the attitude and actions of at least the first 9 steps of AA. And all that work is in service of enlightening the mind and elevating my experience and that of those around me.

9 Likes

from “The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times (Shambhala Classics)” by Pema Chödrön -

“Bodhichitta training offers no promise of happy endings. Rather, this “I” who wants to find security—who wants something to hold on to—can finally learn to grow up. The central question of a warrior’s training is not how we avoid uncertainty and fear but how we relate to discomfort. How do we practice with difficulty, with our emotions, with the unpredictable encounters of an ordinary day? All too frequently we relate like timid birds who don’t dare to leave the nest. Here we sit in a nest that’s getting pretty smelly and that hasn’t served its function for a very long time. No one is arriving to feed us. No one is protecting us and keeping us warm. And yet we keep hoping mother bird will arrive. We could do ourselves the ultimate favor and finally get out of that nest. That this takes courage is obvious. That we could use some helpful hints is also clear. We may doubt that we’re up to being a warrior-in-training. But we can ask ourselves this question: “Do I prefer to grow up and relate to life directly, or do I choose to live and die in fear?””

Alcohol was my stinky birds nest. Setting here thinking about this, I can come up with other stinky birds nests that have taken over alcohols postion. Luckily, over the last 6 years I have gained the tools that help me leave it. Somedays not as fast as others, bit I still leave that stinky nest.

8 Likes

When I look back on my times of active addiction I can see that stinky nest clearly. And it is always easier to see these things in hindsight. Also sometimes we have people in our lives where this inability to leave a stinky nest is so obvious to us.
But now that I think of this image of this really smelly nest there are so many situations where we are exactly there and just can’t see it. I did not see it with my marriage, now I can see it. I did not see it with the way I delt with mood swings, now I can see it.
How do we get to see where we are?

4 Likes

Its like you read my mind after I was done reading. I got thinking about the youngest’s stinky nest, and for the first time…I could see and feel what he was doing. I feel horrible for him.

How do we get to see where we are? For me: sonriety, working this program, meditation…they are all key. While I admit I see my stinky nest still after sitting in it, I dont set in it as long as I did. I believe, for lack of better words, constant vigilance on my part helps the realization happen much sooner than later.

5 Likes

I finally got around to reading Dharma Recovery. Took me five years to get this far. It’s funny, it feels so familiar, so much like how I feel it should be. How I want to live life, how life should be, how we should relate to each other. It doesn’t feel new to me, but to see it all written down, it moves me. The part about sanga did most. This little example here:

“We practise compassion for all living beings, including ourselves, by seeing the truth beneath all our fears: that underneath there’s a loving heart in all of us. We begin to see clearly that those around us experience more pain when they see us struggling alone, instead of us allowing them in.”
(my own translation from the Dutch version)

I’m still in my stinky nest. At least I see it now. And I’m at least partly on the right road too.

5 Likes

I feel in my heart what you wrote, especially the part about seeing it all written down.

3 Likes

from “The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times (Shambhala Classics)” by Pema Chödrön -

“It’s hard to know whether to laugh or to cry at the human predicament. Here we are with so much wisdom and tenderness, and—without even knowing it—we cover it over to protect ourselves from insecurity. Although we have the potential to experience the freedom of a butterfly, we mysteriously prefer the small and fearful cocoon of ego.”

Start reading this book for free: The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearl... - Kindle

6 Likes

from “The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times (Shambhala Classics)” by Pema Chödrön -

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us “the universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening the circle of understanding and compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. —ALBERT EINSTEIN”

The world is bigger than me, and I am not the center

3 Likes

Another perspective could be you are the world and there is no center.

3 Likes

I am going to wrap my head around that perapective.

2 Likes

Pretty sure it is both. :blush:

5 Likes

What is recovery dharma in simpler terms?

2 Likes

A recovery program based on buddhist principles: abstinence, meditation, meetings, buddhist understanding of suffering, addiction and cravings, community, growth.
I’d suggest to join an online meeting. You’ll get a pretty good idea what this is all about.
Recovery Dharma Website

5 Likes