Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Heaven and Hell/ sober at the soul level

I am reading a book right now that, while much of it seems far fetched, has parts that resonate with some ideas that have been forming with me since getting sober. It was talking about 'the other side', where souls go when they die, and how certain souls enter into a sort of never ending hell because they take their intricate control dramas over with them- even in death they are not able to let them go, and they recreate them on the other side, and thus are in hell. But what struck me is that if that is hell, then they were in it before they died, too. Depicted in this were very much addicted people- drugs, sex, rage and manipulation of others...and it is like that, when we are in our using. We are in hell. We are trapped in the narrow hallways of our own twisted control dramas.

I read also (another book- I like to read) that one description of hell, called Sheol, is "the realm of diminishing awareness". That being said, the opposite would be heaven, 'the realm of expanding awareness."  When I got sober, I made a choice to start walking towards heaven. (Crawling would probably be more apt.) My ever shrinking world was going to end, as they say, in jail, institutions, or death. My using (pills, coke, alcohol, that few years) had me in several ERs for tremors through my shoulders and arms, heart palpitations, profuse sweating, panic attacks. I had doctors sending me to neurologists for the tremors, and cardiologists for the racing heart-not to mention 7 ODs under my belt previously- meanwhile i was losing everything around me, my condo, my career, my relationships,  my self. Eventually I didn't want to leave the house unless I could help it. I needed to be able to control my environment, and my ability to cope was so compromised the the environment had to shrink, to fit my ability to manage it. I had to take a certain number of pills just to get from one hour to the next, the exact cocktail of pharmaceuticals, and vodka, (but never in a glass, always in a bottle in the freezer, a million trips to the kitchen, as if no one would notice) This is most definitely hell. I got to where I couldn't actually chew and swallow food. My children were frightened for me. I didn't smile for a full year. 

I say this not only because doing so liberates me (the truth sets you free!) but also to illustrate how using is so very much about control. Controlling how we feel, what we feel, what we do. The rituals. The habits. Its all based on Fear. And fear makes us puppets to the ego. Fear of feeling, fear of dying, fear of living, fear of not being loved, fear of being loved, fear of failure, fear of success...this is the opposite of living.  And sometimes we never wake up to this, that we are in a hell that we have created. Instead of waking up we take the red pill and stay in the Matrix, living the lie, numbing ourselves to death. I can't think of anything more tragic. 

When I came to Recovery, I had spent a month detoxing in a room by myself. I crawled in, shaking and pale and emaciated. Hollow. And immediately my awareness began to expand, I became aware of HOPE, and that was my first step in the direction of heaven.  And heaven opened up for me, because I sought it. It was always there, waiting for me to realize that I was in hell. And I acquired faith, through doing the work.  The ego lost steam as I put principles into my life and lived by them. And miracles started kicking in, at first shocking, and then they became something I could rely on, as long as I was doing the work. Heaven became, and is, exactly where I am standing. Wherever I put my feet is holy ground. I have come to know heaven and hell to be states that exist right here and now. Every moment we get to choose one, every choice opens up one reality or the other. The power of that, and living organically from that point of reference, is awe inspiring. Heaven is waiting for us to choose it. Grace is ours if we only see it always has been and always will be, infinitely, ours. This isn't only true of people in recovery or trying to or need it, but it seems more critical, pertinent and relevant,than not, for us. 

That is the crux of Contrary Action. It goes waaaaay beyond mere abstinence. We are hell bent (pun intended!) on creating chaos and destruction, despair and suffering, when we are in self will. No matter what manner of sheep 's clothing that crafty ego wolf is wearing, it means to do harm to us, ultimately.  It is our first impulse, as alcoholics and addicts. But to pause, breathe, and then do the thing that is contrary to our comfort zone is where true liberation from the bondage of self happens. And to live by principles, actively being of service to others, is the key to a miraculous, adventurous, epic, and extraordinary life. Or, as Tom Robbins says-

"...More immediately, by waxing soulful you will have granted yourself the possibility of ecstatic participation in what the ancients considered a divinely animated universe. And on a day to day basis, folks, it doesn't get any better than that."

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