In my humble opinion, the root of all suffered emanates from want and desire, which are both manifestations of the EGO. The EGO is a problem solving mechanism of the MiND, designed to help us survive and thrive on the evolutionary ladder, but at some point, things seem to have gone a little caca.
Hi, I’m Dan, and I’ve been in recovery for almost five years. Now unless you’re in recovery, you may not know what I’m talking about when I use the word “RECOVERY”, so let me start at the beginning.
Recovery typically begins shortly after a “rock bottom” and I’m not talking about a Dwayne “THE ROCK” Johnson “Rock Bottom”, I’m talking about LiFE as you know it ending “rock bottom”. My rock bottom was the point where I was forced to surrender, because all the coping mechanisms that I could deploy within my arsenal of coping mechanisms no longer worked. My brain literally went pop and I became physically and mentally ill. It’s highly probable that I’d been ill for some time, but I was coping day to day.
My coping mechanisms were basically anything that I could use to change my mood, so food, sugar and caffeine being the most frequently used. Then there were cigarettes and alcohol. Then there was work and sex.
It was actually work that brought me into recovery, as I couldn’t figure out why my ambitions weren’t being fulfilled. I couldn’t get my small business to the next level, which is not an uncommon occurrence. Many people have business coaches, so I sought some professional help. Any good therapist will tell you that you need at least 6 sessions to make an impact. It must have been within six sessions that I finally started to lose the plot.
I had a row with my girlfriend of the time, phoned my mum and asked if I could come and stay with her for a short while. Me and my girlfriend split up shortly afterwards.
Another 6 sessions of psychotherapy and I’m off work, at the doctors, back on anti-depressants and lying on the sofa unable to function. I remember going back to work after taking 2 weeks off and just knowing that the writing was on the wall. I couldn’t do it any more. I couldn’t pretend that I was OK because inside I was broken.
So recovery is what happens once we hit rock bottom, but my rock bottom lasted about 6 months before I actually started to embrace recovery. During those 6 months I started seeing my psychotherapist for 2 hours every week and I began EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) therapy. The EMDR process managed to unlock something deep within me, that I thought I had locked away forever and it soon became apparent that I had a problem with sex addiction. My psychotherapist isn’t a sex addiction specialist, as I’d originally gone to see her for some business/LiFE coaching, so she advised me to begin attending a 12 Step Fellowship for Sex Addiction, otherwise know as Sex Addicts Anonymous or SAA.
This was when the real process of recovery began, as I started to realise the severity of my addictive behaviours. I was really fortunate, because early on I came across a book called “Break Free from OCD: Overcoming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder with CBT”. I quickly tuned into the fact that addiction is just another expression of OCD, which allowed me to see that all my behaviours were pretty much routed in addiction, hence why I said early about using anything that can affect my mood, such as sugar or caffeine. I began exploring other 12 Step Fellowships, such as AA, NA, WA, UA, CoDA and ACA.
Pre-recovery, I had an overwhelming desire to NOT feel certain emotions, so I would do my best to suppress them on my own, but a lot of the time I would need a little help from either a substance, such as alcohol or a process such as work, to distract me from how I was really feeling. Underpinning EVERYTHiNG was fear. Fear of failure, fear of being found wanting, fear of being found out as a fraud, fear for the sake of fear.
“We suffer more often in imagination than in reality”Lucius Annaeus Seneca
There were two questions that I asked myself early on in the recovery process:
Firstly, who am I? The answer to which is the topic for another post.
Secondly, what do I want? I was fortunate enough to have someone point out to me that want and desire are the root of all suffering, so I began the mantra of “I want NOTHiNG”, but then realised that I was still wanting SOMETHiNG, even if that SOMETHiNG was NOTHiNG, so I amended my mantra to “i do not want”.
I did get what I asked for when I said “I want NOTHiNG”, as I ended up entering the VOiD of the unmanifested, but that is also a topic for another post.
TIP: Don’t try and bite off more than you can chew. So often we can become overwhelmed by want and desire that we forget to focus on the really important stuff. I’ve spent along time cleaning house since coming into recovery, so a piece of advice for anyone currently struggling with addiction and/or mental illness, start with what you don’t want.
I found it really helpful to remind myself on a regular basis, that I no longer wanted to be an addict and I currently have to remind myself that I do not want fear or anxiety.
Sometimes we only get what we need, when we let go of what we no longer want.