Mindful Progress

My mind is out to kill me. I know it, he knows it, and we laugh about it. He likes to obsess over shit and try to control it. I go through fads of doing mindfulness, I either get too busy or find another escape. I seem to think that mindfulness is not necessary when I am busy and accomplishing progress. However, this is when I most need to watch my thinking so I don’t fall into old unhealthy cycles of inflated ego followed by self doubt.

download        Even when you don’t “have time” you should meditate. It helps open your mind to even deeper ideas and understandings. It Helps put yourself in relation to what intentions you have, and embrace what feelings you have been avoiding that cause you unconscious anxiety.  A good starting out app is headspace.com.

This blog is for people who finally do the things they are supposed to. This blog is written for people who like interesting things but are either are too lazy or rather do other things sometimes. We will make it simple for your fat assess to do after you break your fat ass all day. Let the robots worry about perfection. We are human.

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I’m Still Clean

I am in grad school and have let my recovery slip a little. I am grateful for all the things I can do now that I’m clean. I can wear manacles and scoff at things….but I am afraid that I will be figured out somehow. They will point and Yell “Junkie”.

Being an addict is such a huge part of who I am. Recovery and spirituality are my favorite things to talk about. I feel like a serial killer trying to do human things. I mimic what they do, but I cannot be my authentic self because it is vulgar and trashy. I am trash. I’m a golden trash can. I am fancy. But still made for trash. Maybe compost.

I’m sure I’m trash. Golden trash. I’m defined by another’s waste.  Really then, we are all trash. We are all the trash …using ours-selves in an eternal moment. Someday there will be the moment but no trash.

Relapse and Death: Don’t Procrastinate Recovery

I relapsed hard a week ago. I have heard on the news that there is some kind of opiate epidemic going on, and usually I feel a sense of gratitude that this information does not relate to me anymore. However, addiction never goes away. Even after three years of clean time. It is something that must be constantly monitored like owning Satan’s puppy. It will piss on your rug and kill you if you let it out of your sight. If you are an addict it is unlikely you can function normally without walking that evil puppy and keeping it in focus. It may seem cute and cuddly, but it will rip up your life and shit everywhere. You will be in a constant state of picking up shit if you don’t get it trained and take care of it.

I neglected my evil puppy and just let it hang out somewhere in my mind. It had probably been ripping up all parts of my mind while my attention was away. Since I was not aware of this damage, I continued to distract myself and live my life. I knew having a puppy took a lot of work and constant maintenance, but I felt I could somehow control it without putting in any work. Addiction is not something controlled by idle behavior. Even if you have a puppy trained through work and routine, the moment he escapes your awareness he starts doing damage until the only thing in your brain is “I feel like doing obscene amounts of hard drugs”..

The night I relapsed I made a conscious decision to pick up. Any alternative behavior besides picking up was not in my focus. I was fully “on”. I forgot I was powerless and my higher power wireless connection could not be found. I was not mindful of the moment or a higher power, but was at the mercy of pure compulsion. I had not been going to NA meetings, calling my sponsor, or meditating. I fell into an old feeling of despair and went to my old playbook.

I believe it was an old social cue of feeling alienated and caged that triggered that craving. Something in my brain was triggered. I don’t know why I thought dope was the answer. It is never the answer, and really isn’t as good as I think it is.

I have all my old connects on facebook. I called an old friend up that turned out to be selling. He is nearly homeless but seems to be a pretty successful drug dealer. He tells me there are two types of dope in the bag he is giving me. One is super potent. The information does not register in my brain fully.

I am a hypochondriac junky. I knew it was common for people to overdose after being clean for awhile. I cooked up the junk and and smells like shit. I do half a shot, then squirt  the rest in the trash. I am cured from hep c, and don’t fully understand how reinfection occurs, but don’t want to take any chances at self-reinfection. I sit back in my bed and enjoy the high. It offers very shallow comfort. I surf the web and talk to people on facebook. Then around 7am I hear that my nephew is awake upstairs.

An old thought pops in my brain. It told me that in order to be fun. In order to show love properly, I needed to be loaded. That old addict thought that says we don’t know how to love, and need dope as a synthetic copy of love to be normal. I remember preparing the shot, and then everything else falls to black.

I wake up feeling very cold. Like death cold. I am being thrown back and forth in the back of an ambulance. All kinds of weird thought enter my head that connect the EMTs to childhood friends. Places I have been with loved ones and forgotten dreams I’ve had bubble to the surface. I am cold and super confused.

They explain to me that I overdosed and immediately I am transported 3 years in the past when I was a hopeless junky. I almost deny that it took place. I am confused on why I even picked up. It all seemed like a huge misunderstanding. I want to convince them that I am a functioning member of society now.

Eventually my dad came into the waiting room. He was convinced that I had died. My nephew had seen me be taken away on a gurney barely alive. I have lost all the trust I had built with my family. I am supposed to start graduate school in two weeks and am spiritually lost. I should be grateful to have survived another overdose and be reinvigorated. However, I was in a state of shock and shame three days after. The thought of wishing to have died even flickered across my mind. Dying is easy. Living is the test. I am supposed to do all this life stuff when really I should be figuring out recovery again.

I do not want to be killed by procrastination. Relapsing and immediately overdosing is somewhat of a gift. I did not get physically addicted again. I can also feel the awe of life and possibilities. I was given another chance to make use of my life force. A near death experience is a good foundation for a spiritual awakening, but like everything in recovery, it will also take some work. My intention is to create a recovery program for myself that prevents thoughts and feelings from building up.

 

 

How to Be Good at Stuff

I am bad at a lot of things. I think “mediocre” may be the correct word which  still means “bad” but isn’t as insulting.  Being mediocre means being “bad” at something most people are.  Being mediocre used to cause me to use drugs because I didn’t like the feeling of failing. I am realizing in my recovery that humility is what has caused me to start succeeding at my life. Also I realized it is normal to be mediocre. The fear of mediocrity is what causes lives to idle into decay. Mediocrity is intention without life experience.

Humility gives me the chance to try something that might scare me. In addiction I was afraid and did not try to succeed out of fear. People say that 2016 was a bad year, but I succeeded at everything I wanted. I learned mediocre people can succeed too if they keep on trying and show up for life. I am no super-confident expert on self help, but I am a junkie who succeeded at his goals last year. I cured my hep c, got a car, apartment, girl friend and got accepted into a graduate program at a very good university.

  1. Do not do drugs- Get into inpatient and put together a program. I assume most people reading this have some kind of recovery program and many may not be satisfied with their life still. Life gets better clean. You have so much extra resources and life power without the drain of addiction something positive will appear.
  2. Make a plan- When my sponsor first told me this I thought I would just end up future tripping and getting depressed. I made a list of goals that I know I had to accomplish. In recovery we get the chance to live life. We can “show up” and do what we are supposed to. Write down realistic goals that are important to you.
  3. Go to the Gym-  Do a lot of cardio. Get past the first 10 minutes on the elliptical and your endorphin will kick in. If you are a junkie you will love that feeling because it gets you high naturally but lifts your mood the whole day.
  4. Stay away from negative people- Even if they are not using some people just pollute your thinking.
  5. It isn’t supposed to be easy- If you are truly not designed to do something, don’t. However if it is something that you know you are supposed to do, then don’t give up. Remember that life does not hand out success, it is something to be earned. Listen to the intention of your life, the lives most worth living have the most challenges.
  6. Be mindful of your actions- In the morning set aside 5 minutes to be mindful of your body and thinking. On your commute to work be mindful of all the sights and the thoughts that pass through you.
  7. Failure is a step towards success– If you failed at something that means to tried to grow somehow. It means you are showing up to life instead of running and you should be proud. Think about what you did wrong and try something else. Maybe something better will be revealed.

Mindfulness in Addiction

If you are an addict in recovery following a structured program then relapsing soon is unlikely. Once you understand how to stay clean, and the mental maintenance required to stay clean, it then becomes  a mental decision to get “loaded”. However addicts get loaded all the time after sobriety right? They lack mindfulness of their program and forget. Being mindful of old patterns can prevent a relapse. I don’t think it was possible to be mindful in addiction. I ran from mindfulness when I was an addict. I remember once someone explained mindfulness to me when I was a deep junkie and I thought it was laughable! Try and feel my feelings?! WTF?

In addiction the addict does not have a weak will but is  powerless regardless . The addict is powerless because the process that determines what he thinks is corrupted at biological  level. An addict does not have thoughts that belong to him. His thoughts are machinations of goop.  An addict is powerless to be himself authentically. His thoughts are just synapses burning in chemical fire that obscures self awareness.  thoughts

Thoughts determined by the chemicals bludgeon mindfulness from the brain. Being mindful is not needed if you can “control” feelings. The addict attempts to “control” his brain by ingesting chemicals.  Drugs become like a cheat code for the brain. They make you think you won the game without living the experience.

addicion-mind

Drugs can give you a feeling that you have a 4.0 GPA and are “winning” at your life. At a chemical level your brain thinks it is gathering resources, building a shelter and starting a family. A family that you feed a protect from bears and provide for. It stimulates primal reward. Heroin in particular affects the reward pathway of the brain. Your brain is tricked. That feeling of doing well in school is stimulated by  heroin. The time you made that winning point for the big game is stimulated by heroin.

illusion

Heroin makes you think that you mother coddling you like a sick infant, and stimulates a primal sense that “everything is ok”. Heroin is not your mom though… Heroin is not a 4.0 GPA. However at a chemical level your brain cannot tell. The brain talks to itself through “neurotransmitters”  that get released during certain experiences and influence the thoughts that are formed. The “self” is made up of millions of these reactions.  They transport messages in the brain . A feeling you should have climbing a mountain is released in a Honey Bucket nodding out in drool.

Therefore mindfulness in addiction is impossible. It is important to be mindful of those old biological pathways however. Old shortcuts of the brain. The old shortcuts to the shimmering tower. Pathways of illusion. I am grateful to be able to have my own thoughts today. I am grateful that recovery has enabled me to be mindful of myself and watch old habits.

Something to Live For: An Atheist Becomes Spiritual

How an atheist found a “higher power”

The biggest problem I had with recovery was learning how to surrender my will to a “higher power”. I went through a Nietzsche phase in high school and saw this as the ultimate admission of weakness. I used to go on Atheist Jihad against Christians any chance I got. However the talons of addiction squeezed and I bucked in humility.  I realized I had to surrender my ego and try to find a “higher power” if I wanted to live. Initially I just used the recovery process as my higher power, but soon encountered the awe of living a spiritual life.

The Eternal Now

Have you ever suddenly just started tripping out and realized your alive before? You could be lying in bed and suddenly hyper-aware of how alive you really are and overwhelmed with awe.   I think when this happens the brain is releasing DMT but those realizations helped spark my understanding of mindfulness. I learned to feel my presence in the world and my responsibility to be aware. The first spiritual concept I learned was to connect with the “moment” or “eternal now”. To be in awe how this “moment” is actually “always” and connects with eternity.  When you are “present” the relentless thinking machine of the mind subsides. Your mind cannot wander when you are focused on the present. Obsessive thinking is what used to drive me to use, so using the “Eternal Now” helped me be aware of my thoughts instead of identifying with them. I still forget sometimes that thoughts just happen and are not me.

 Life as a Higher Power

Life is a power greater than yourself. Life is bigger than your ego. You are alive and can’t help it. Life is a force that is inside of you and everything on earth. I can hold my breath and try not to breath, but I will eventually be forced to take another breath. Life is in control of my breath not me. This was a comforting realization and made breathing meditation easier. I used to freak out when I was told to watch my breath and have a panic attack not knowing when I was supposed to breath.

I have learned to do what life expects me to do. My higher power is simply life and it fills me with joy. My ego is softened when I realize that every living person is just me living a different life. It could also be called universal consciousness.  Our purpose as beings is to be aware of life.  A higher power should be simple and mine is. Simplicity is crucial in developing spirituality.

Surrender

I had to surrender to recovery, but I also must surrender my ego daily to life. It is hard to stay in a state of surrender. My ego is very tricky and possesses me like a demon if I am not mindful. It convinces me my will does not need direction from something higher. I must remember my ego is afraid of life and will cause me suffering. I must keep my will aligned with what life has planned. Having life as a higher power is a bit presumptuous because It presupposes I have a determined purpose. That everyone has a purpose they must discover. However it is comforting having faith there is a purpose for my life. I just have to be aware for.

This is how I started my understanding of spirituality. I am lucky for my addiction because it made me that much more grateful for being alive. I know many are not so lucky to find there way back. I was a cynic and was willing and open minded enough to make the 12 Steps work for me.

Binge-Watching is an Addiction

binge-watch

Why is Netflix binging so widely accepted in our culture?  “Cool” people like lesbians who own pugs think it is completely acceptable to waste hundreds of hours of precious life watching someone else’s acting career.  Netflix is cheating at being lazy. There are no commercials and its too easy to become a weekend shut-in. Being lazy used to come with more guilt. People shamed the lazy and threw salt on them. People should not be the 3-seasons-straight-binging type of lazy. When your on the 3rd season you get a similar “I don’t give a shit” feeling that comes from drugs. You become the inverse of mindful and operate at the vibration of a cray-fish. Why is such insanity acceptable? Everyone knows its wrong but there is no social taboo.

netflix-and-chill-condom-foil-hand_1
Netflix is for cool people who have sex.

Unlike Netflix, heroin is taboo and not cool to talk about at the office.  Heroin addiction and Netflix binging have more in common than you would think. They both leave you feeling spiritually bankrupt and both dim your awareness. Watching Orange is the New Black is usually not done mindfully. Netflix is an escape from awareness like heroin. A Junkie can blow an entire weekend nodding out and smiling; something seen as  upsetting or uncomfortable to society. Doesn’t Netflix cause people to smile and drool like a junkie for a weekend but holding snacks  Besides the hepatitis c and overdosing on the fringes of society, binge watching Netflix and heroin addiction both obstruct spiritual growth in a similar way.

heroin-cablegirl-binge

When someone is binge watching Netflix they are escaping their awareness by imprinting feeling and images in their mind for an unhealthy duration. Binge watching makes being mindful more difficult because it programs the brain for passive  unawareness and not focused awareness. Is Netflix just an escape for people raised too well for dope?Or is there another reason it is not taboo.

I believe Netflix is largely a cultural addiction unlike substance abuse which is an individual addiction. Substance abuse is complex, but one spiritual component is that addicts have obsessive thinking that causes tension. Obsessive thinking makes addicts feel disconnected. Addicts feel aversion and have a fear to living life on it own terms. They rather create a chemical reality. The junkie rather chemically repress obsessive thoughts and dim his awareness.

Netflix has assumed the role of unifying our culture around the traditional American medium of television; but  instead just created binge junkies.  Netflix  is the new centralized medium for consuming content similar to how network television used to be. Network television is where our cultural consciousness used to focus. Content, news and all media came from only a few sources which enabled people to share a cultural consciousness.

Netflix is now one of the only powerful centralized networks and is not limited by time or space like traditional networks. The traditional  TV network controlled  content and people felt connected within the same culture. Content is now fragmented but still has the old cultural consciousness. People binge-watch to both escape and connect with a fragmented culture. There is now so much  content available that everyone binge watches everything at different times.  Binge watching  like a junkie is not taboo because it is an attempt to participate in a fragmented culture.

family
Still the most popular American community builder

Heroin is obviously much worse than Netflix but both obscure awareness with  garbage. Out cultural consciousness must evolve and condemn binge watching if we are ever to wake up as a society.