34 years ago this month I tried to take my own life – 17 years ago today I said no more to drugs & alcohol.
I stopped drinking alcohol the year before I stopped drugs. I was addicted to the pain meds I was taking for migraines. There was a lot of recreational drug use going on too. Believing that I could only be happy with the aid of distractions (drugs, alcohol, food, sex, buying things, etc) I finally realized that by attempting to escape my suffering, I was actually creating MORE suffering for myself and also for others.
A friend once said she couldn’t understand how I could meditate while drunk or high…she said it sounded to her like showing up drunk at God’s door. Her words were more powerful than she knew, and they inspired me to do what needed to be done. I knew I couldn’t go deeper in my spiritual life if I was unwilling to fully surrender to life itself – the light and the dark, the joy and the suffering.
When things get tough I sometimes look back at 1981 and my life since then. I look at 1998 and my life since then too. I am able to see by my own experience that everything in life is impermanent and everything in life offers me a doorway to deeper contemplation. What doorway I choose determines the degree of suffering I experience (or don’t experience).
I often say I’ve lived many lifetimes in this one lifetime and today I’m grateful that I was able to create a new life for myself – especially when the old lives just didn’t serve love – and therefore didn’t serve me!