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Alcoholics All Suffer With Disgusting Self-Cherishing Ignorance

Mike Mather

The 'I' Has It

Self-cherishing is the mindset that prioritises our own importance while neglecting others. We perceive an inherently existent self, cherish it, and believe that its happiness and freedom are supremely important.

Shantideva, in the “Guide to The Bodhisattva's Way of Life,” asserts that all suffering in this world arises from the desire for personal happiness. This claim can be interpreted to mean that the suffering we experience arises from the karma created when we harm others. By neglecting others' happiness and suffering, we create karma for our future suffering.

Hands reaching out to each other across urban chasm

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

The Disadvantages of Self-cherishing

Many people suffer when their self-cherishing leads to depression, discouragement, and mental pain. Some even contemplate suicide when their wishes are not granted. The goal of our meditation is to abandon self-cherishing.

In “Eight Steps To Happiness,” Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso offers numerous suggestions on how to cherish others. We start by wanting others to be happy, and then figuring out how we can help them achieve this.

see also 'Love And Compassion in AA Action'

Alcoholism, Not Wasm

For those following the 12-step program, there is an emphasis on extending a helping hand. This often leads to encouraging newcomers to feel a sense of belonging and to assist everyone in progressing through their steps.

Reading the Big Book becomes an intimate experience shared with others. Leading meetings and fulfilling other service roles also become ways of cherishing others.

Working with others is both the hardest and most rewarding thing an alcoholic can do. Paradoxically, the more we help others, the better we feel and the more improved our karmic record becomes.

Young woman looking out a window with alcoholic drink in hand

Photo by monica di loxley on Unsplash

You Can Tell An Alcoholic…

Old-timers regularly say that each time you read the Big Book, it seems to contain more words. Its wisdom and depth are revealed more with each reading. The extent of our willingness to help others is directly related to the benefits we reap, and this applies not only in this lifetime.

About the Author Mike Mather

Mike was born in 1963 which technically makes him one of the youngest of the Baby Boomers. An Australian with Indigenous and European heritage, he has been an avid and required student of Buddhism and alcoholism since 2008.

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