Speaking with my girlfriend over a lovely cup of coffee and Orange Almond Cake this morning, we confirmed our common held belief that alcoholism isn’t that much different from the delusions of other sentient beings.
You see, since I have been sober, I haven’t instantly become a saint. My equanimity to my fellow men is not absolute by a long stretch. The compassion I show those who are suffering can be non-existent some days!
Let me explain what I mean.
The Buddhist path is predicated on compassion and wisdom. As your mind becomes more enlightened you see that one man’s suffering is similar to all sentient beings’ suffering – therefore worthy of compassion. Contrast this mind against blaming others for being who they are and disrupting your peace/rights/happiness.
The alcoholic mind is constantly focussed on the self. Self-centredness, selfishness and self-righteousness is our core problem. Whilst I may blame others for my situation, it is with self-interest that I seek the alcoholic remedy.
So it’s easy to see that the deluded mind of all sentient beings and the self-focused mind of the alcoholic have a similar remedy.
The alcoholic who still suffers must find a way to love and help others (and the first thing is to not pick up the next drink), and the rest of us must find a way to help and love others also.
In a lot of similar ways, I see that the addiction problems our world faces reflect a general malaise that is more subtle in all of us.