Priya’s Battle With Addiction Blog Series: Part 10 of 12
Posted by Reboot
At one of my first meetings I heard a few old-timers speak of the disease of alcoholism and addiction as being three fold. They said the disease was physical, emotional and spiritual. One of them went on to explain that towards the end of our drinking or using years, we were sure to find ourselves bankrupt in all the three areas of life.
Physical bankruptcy entailed loosing or jeopardizing all my relationships in life as well as material comforts and health. Emotionally, I had lost sight of who I was and often faced unpredictable emotional outbursts and mood swings or even depression. I related completely to the first two. What really caught me off-guard was the spiritual angle. Growing up, I had come to war with the concept of God and religion. I had no such beliefs anymore. I was an agnostic, over the years growing up I believed that there may or may not have been a God but the concept did not concern me. God was for the weak and they were free to depend on Him or Her. I was not weak and I could figure out my life, just fine. Not only did I not need a God but I had considered myself God in my own life, sometimes even in the life of others. Alcohol and drugs gave me the strength and the confidence to face and solve any of my problems. In the past I had also been successful in helping friends with their problems. Was I being forced to examine which God I believed in or what deity I worshiped? Or did the 12 steps advocate one religion over the other? I was almost going to pick up my bags and run out the door but something held me back and made me want to sit and listen.
A fellow member shared that he too had been oblivious to the concepts of faith and spirituality as a newcomer. For me though, at 23 years of age, I just wanted a normal happy life with a little bit of adventure. I did not mind being bad sometimes, after all, I was so young. I did not want to become a saint, that life seems bleak and boring. Little did I know spirituality had nothing to do with becoming a saint, and a spiritual life was far from bleak and boring. My sponsor once explained to me in very simple terms that spirituality meant leading a clean and healthy life so that my spirit would be nurtured and grow. I had to look out for behavior and thoughts that were aimed towards hurting or harming others. Was it really that simple? My sponsor went on to explain that spirituality also meant living a life free from selfishness and self-centeredness. Now I had to do some introspecting.The more I dove into my past deeds that evidently had backfired, the more I noticed that even then kindest intention of mine had some selfish and self-centered motive. Never had I just done things for the benefit of another or gone out of my way to help someone and not expected anything in return. I realized that spirituality or a spiritual way of life was one free of any conditions. It seemed hard but I liked the sound of it and I was willing to do anything to recover. My sponsor made me see that spirituality in 12 step recovery encouraged fun but not at the cost of another person. That I was excited to think about.
I also often considered being spiritual with chastity. I was again proved wrong. Once more my sponsor reiterated the fact that I was going to choose this new way of life that needed me to work on my personal growth and do things that would make my spirit happy and free of any nativity. Sex was a natural instinct and my new way of life encouraged balancing these instincts, but sex used as a weapon to hurt someone else or promiscuity as a lifestyle, I would have to answer only to my conscience.
With all my misconceptions regarding spirituality smashed, I was looking forward to this new life. It seems clean and refreshing. It seemed like something that could bring me happiness and joy that I longed. I asked my sponsor where to start and she immediately put me on to the first of the 12 steps. It has been a challenging yet wonderfully fulfilling journey since then. The 12 steps in all my affairs constantly keep me on my toes. Life is by no means boring. Over time I have found many new interests and passion. I found love and joy and laughter along the way and every experience came with a gentle learning that would make me grow up just a little.
By no means am I a saint. My life and practice of the programme is not perfect. One day at a time, life on this spiritual path has been three steps forward and one step backward. Every now and then, life brings new challenges with it and thanks to my loving and kind higher power and the help of my sponsor I always have tools to use and power through. At times I repeat some errors or mistakes, sometimes stubbornness or complacency sets in, but more often than not my spiritual guide or sponsor shows me the mirror and I am put back into action.
Along the way, I have struggles and clashes with people who have nothing in common with my vision or ideals. In the past I would have fought for them to see my way but now I simply let go and move on. Often I whisper a prayer and wish them well, and in the bargain, I learn a little more and grow.
Spirituality has shown me the need and importance of keeping the spotlight on myself and my way of life and how just taking the next right step will bring my spirit to feel happy, joyous and free!
Priya is an Addict and an Alcoholic who came into recovery at the young age of 23. She continues to work a 12 step program closely with a sponsor and has been sober for 5 years since 2011. Priya lives in New Delhi-India and has a joyous and fulfilling personal and professional life. In her free time, Priya enjoys reading, listening to music, bake and watching movies. She strongly believes that for her to keep what she has learned in recovery, she must share her experience, strength and hope with other recovering Addicts and Alcoholics.