Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Fog of Addiction

Societies and families look upon addiction as a blight. Whether from drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex, food, or money, an obsession overtakes the psyche. Cravings trigger undesirable actions that the very addict's consciousness would spurn -- if only he or she were in touch with it. Although pure awareness exists, unsullied in a place and time free of bodily imbalances, sadly, people lost in addiction don't have the road map to get there (here).

In my life pre-cancer, the only uncontrollable urge centered upon food. Every fad diet that came across the airwaves was employed to quell glutinous urges. My boastful mantra: "I don't have an addictive personality except for food."  Inevitably, this hubris would be tested by the gods. 

With extreme pain from radiation treatment inflicted on my mortal coil, narcotic painkillers became a daily friend. They were marvelously effective and truly needed for about one year, during which incalcitrant skin tissue refused to heal. Most opiates made me nauseous, therefore unusable, but after experimenting the doctors found one that made me feel wonderful. So wonderful, in fact, that it was pure heaven to take my daily dose. No matter what trauma physical, emotional, or otherwise came my way, one of those little blue pills catapulted me into a state of euphoria. 

Eventually, a time arrived when the pain, although still an unwanted companion, became tolerable without those happy pills. And that was when the devil and the knowing mind began its ping pong game. 

Devil: "Why stop? I make you happy and the docs will keep writing the script." 

Knower: "It's a cheap shot. It's not a true, grounded happiness and I don't even meditate anymore. I'm spending all the capital I banked in the last 45 years. If I keep taking happy pills, my spiritual bank will be emptied. Bankrupted."

Devil: "Yeah, but I'm easy. And the drugs give you tons of energy. You want energy don't you? Remember that office you never cleaned up? Keeping taking me and you can do anything."

Knower: "Yeah, I want the quick fix but I'm sliding downhill to the bottom of a pit. I'm not going to score pills for godssake and I took an oath decades ago to lie no more. So I have to stop."

Devil: "Try. You won't be able to. You love me."

True, I did love my drug of choice. But this experience gave me a newly found empathy for drug addicts who take the easy route before banking spiritual capital. Luckily for me, having spent decades on the spiritual path, a landing site was perfectly clear and my guides both inner and outer were there with flashing lights to direct me out of the fog to a safe landing. True, my couch had the indent of the physical body for about 10 days until normal, fresh, wonderful aware mind returned. The false gods had disappeared. 

For those who turn to mind-altering substances in order to alleviate emotional pain -- before knowing who they are -- the path is indeed steep to recovery. Without a firm basis in conscious awareness and the tools to practice, it is near impossible to resist the allure of instant escape. Now it is clear why programs like AA have meetings almost every hour of the day, and why a path to recovery must be navigated as carefully as a boat on stormy seas.

Prayers go out to all who have taken the short cut, only to find themselves lost in the thicket. May all return safely to the shores of conscious awareness, with the help of the All-That-Is.

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