Alcoholism and Buddhism
Growing up is hard to do….when you’re 45!
At 54 years old now, alcoholism and Buddhism has shaped my worldview. If you, like so many others, have found out that halfway through your life that you’ve missed something important, like – Alcoholism, AND that you really like Buddhism philosophy – more than the traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs of your father. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
Life, like a bad day, can be restarted any time. Enjoy the age that you are right now, do the things you like to do more often, and more importantly be the sort of person you admire.
When you realise what the limiting factors in your life are, and do something positive about it, you will never look back again. I promise! This is my story, and I hope we become friends.
My name is Mike and I’m an alcoholic (10 years sober now), aborigine, Buddhist, father, lover, creator.
I also don’t much care for labels. (Hehe)
How I began my journey of alcoholism and Buddhism.
I really objected to identifying as an alcoholic after I said my name in meetings – every time. After all, I was much more than an alcoholic…wasn’t I?
I had been a father for five children since I was 17 years old.
I had been married once and tried to live with another woman for 13 years and another one for 2 years.
There had been those wonderful (failed) enterprises that I was the leader of – including Squash Court owner, Insurance Broker, Real Estate Agency owner, and the also the purveyor of too many fine products and services to remember.
My sisters and parents still talked to me sometimes, so I must have been an appropriate, if not an excellent family member.
And let’s not forget altogether, all the wonderful university and college courses that I had almost finished…surely I was a student of life, love, flora, and fauna!
Oh, shit! That’s right…
I AM an ALCOHOLIC!
All the labels I used to describe myself (in bold, above) ARE NOT ME!
And what I have discovered on my journey inwards is that the roles I play are usually a version of me. My ego perceives what you want me to be, and I adapt to the situation like a chameleon.
Now, I am no psychologist – but I’ve seen a few. I am not a philosopher, but I have an opinion. I have experience, strength and I hope you can relate to my struggles and identify some of me in some of you.
Whilst I speak of Alcoholism being a major part of my life, it is now with ten years sobriety that I can talk about the more important aspects of Life on Earth.
The Environmental Science Degree that I do at UNE teaches about the physical relationships between us organisms, and my spiritual life is full of the ethereal matters concerning all sentient beings. There is a balance appearing in the daily rub of life for me at last.
Being brought up a white boy in suburban Brisbane, Australia, and finding out my Aboriginal heritage as an adult also has had a profound effect on my psyche. The development of more understanding of the cultural importance of country, ritual and society is a significant need in my latter years in this iteration.
Thank goodness for the internet. I feel that despite the problems facing our modern society, we have an outstanding opportunity to heal, progress and grow. I see this as a personal quest, for I cannot change you, but I can change me.
This Quest – writing about alcoholism and Buddhism
I began in earnest on this blogging adventure in January 2018, after a few false starts. Beginning Sobriety is an early outpouring to help others identify with powerlessness. In a society consumed with Power, it is in recognising our vulnerability that we can progress forward to a new beginning.
The second step of alcoholism recovery is to accept that a Higher Power can relieve you of your dilemma. For some, this is difficult because God has a negative past in our memory.
So in February, I wrote 5 Things You’ll Love About Buddhism, a reflection for me, on the lovely, surprising things I learned in my first months of learning Buddhism. I hope you like the article even if you’re not a Buddhist.
The third month of the year, for me, is a time to renew my vow. I was instructed to turn my will and my life over to the care of God, and I have made vows of Refuge and Bodhichitta. In “A Controversial Buddhist Understanding Of Resurrection”, I write about the inward journey of renewal.
Please journey inwards with me. My alcoholism may not be similar to your story, but our humanness is. The human condition is of struggle and pain.
Buddhism may be your cup of tea, but the need to rely on a Higher Power of your own understanding is a communion of sorts. It is this shared imperative that I’m interested in discussing with you. It’s not all about alcoholism and Buddhism, you see?
It’s about love and understanding. I hope you read on and let me explain.
Just out “The Peace You Get When You Let Go”.