I am a person in long-term recovery from addiction, two weeks ago I celebrated 25 years since the last day I used drugs or alcohol. I have also battled with codependency, gambling, sex, sugar and nicotine addiction to name the most obvious ones.
I have not thought about using drugs or alcohol for over 20 years. There is no charge for me around it.
Today, I am happily married, very athletic and creative, healthy, and love my life. My work in the world is to pass on the gifts of my recovery and healing to others who have struggled in similar ways as I have. Of course, like everyone, I am a work in progress, but today I see that as part of the Human Condition, not a part of having once been mired in addiction.
I want to share the three most important three things I have learned about overcoming addiction and thriving in recovery.
1) There is no cure for addiction any more than there is a cure for being subject to the human condition. Human Beings are mostly looking for a way out, an escape hatch, a cure. Where's the pill or the thing or the person that will fix me? As long as I looked outside to be fixed, I remained in a disempowered state of being and addiction was my master. The moment I was taught to look within and supported in that process by wise, loving teachers, I accessed enough power to heal, transform and move beyond addiction.
2) Drugs and alcohol (and other addictive behaviors) are not the problem. They may have caused more problems, but the core issues were there before the drugs and alcohol took hold of me. We have to explore the causes and conditions that lead to any destructive behavior. In order to do this exploration, the intoxicants have to be removed from your life. This is why abstinence is so important. We must create the conditions for physical detoxification and mental clarity so that we can begin to clear away the original hurts and traumas of our life. When we do this work, we heal more deeply and access more joy than most of us could possibly imagine.
3) People do not recover from addiction by themselves. Addiction is a dis-ease of isolation. Ironically, when we are depressed or stuck in our addictions, we tend to want to be alone. Even those of us who are around people a lot can still feel alone because we are stuck in the worst neighborhood of all -- the mind of a person walking the Earth with untreated addiction. Every step of my recovery required a teacher, a friend, a family member, a therapist, a yoga teacher or shaman to help me navigate along to the next place. If you knew my story you would so clearly see that I am standing here on the shoulders of the teachers who came before me. This, I believe, is how it is for us all.
And here is one more...
4) Body, breath and diet are 3 of the most important (and overlooked) things in recovery from addiction. People fail in great part because they do not understand how to operate their body, how to use their breath to gain control of their mind and they cannot perceive the massive impact of the food they eat on the rest of their life.
In this age of information, it is the mission of my company, Recovery 2.0, to put out the most cutting-edge content possible that will help people to truly move beyond addiction and to upgrade their lives.
And today, iTunes just published our first podcast ever. It is called The Recovery 2.0 Power Hour and consists of conversations with thought leaders with deep experience in their fields and a lot of wisdom to offer about healing from addiction and living exceptionally well.
Our first podcast is a powerful interview with best-selling author Dr. Gabor Maté.
My opinion is that we are in the worst addiction epidemic in history. Part of this has to do with people misunderstanding addiction and how to recover from it. I'm envisioning people being able to access much better information about healing from addiction and thriving in their life.
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