9-5-21 Responsibility


The following was written by a family member of an addict who died from his addiction:

“What is clear to me is that success, fame and fortune do not equal happiness and recovery. We can’t really blame a drug, though it is gnarly and deadly, because we know that the drug is just a symptom of a deeper suffering, a deeper sadness, and an inability to cope with reality.

Here’s what I know about happiness, the end of suffering, and recovery:

First, it’s an inside job whereby we need to know ourselves. This takes many years of effort by talking, writing, and looking very deeply inside at who we are as people. It also involves a great deal of love and forgiveness towards ourselves and others. It may involve seeing our parents and ancestors as part of who we are today. This isn’t easy work. 

Second, it takes daily effort and training my mind to touch the seeds of joy and happiness, and the seeds of suffering and pain that exist within me and around me. For those involved in a 12-step program, they call this ‘a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.’ In my practice it means that I can be fully present each moment of daily life. This can be accomplished with meditation, awareness of our breathing, stopping and seeing there are many conditions of happiness. Again, this isn’t necessarily easy work but the alternatives are pretty bleak.

My practice today is about being present for myself and for others. In doing so I can stay alive and see my happiness and face my suffering. This means I have to be willing to stop and observe my feelings as they come and as they go; both the positive ones and the negative ones. I feel joy that I am alive, sober, and present for my family and friends. I feel sadness that suffering continues to happen to people. I do not hide from suffering nor am I overwhelmed by it but am able to accept and work with it as a natural part of life.

I feel frustration that so many don’t understand the deep suffering of an addict. All these feelings co-exist within me and will eventually disappear. This is my practice—observing and taking care of the feelings. In fact, suffering is part of happiness and happiness is part of suffering. They are the mud and the lotus. The trick is to not let the suffering overwhelm us and bring us to despair.

Third, walking through our suffering doesn’t need to be done alone. Having others in our life to support and guide us is key; teachers and mentors who can guide and support us. For those in a 12-step program, there are meetings and sponsors. For some, counseling may be very useful or needed. In the Buddhist community it is called a sangha, a place of refuge with others that can offer joy and happiness on our journey on the path.                                                          

We all have suffering. These three things, knowing ourselves, daily practice of cultivating joy, and being in community, can be applied to anyone’s life regardless of addiction/non-addiction, wealth/poverty, success/failure or fame/obscurity. Today I am taking a few moments to be grateful and to also send my energy of healing to those that I know that suffer. May the end of all beings suffering and this healing awaken within them.  

Human potential is the same for all. Your feeling, ‘I am of no value,’ is wrong. Absolutely wrong. You are deceiving yourself. With the realization of one’s own potential and self-confidence in one’s ability, one can build a better world. According to my own experience, self-confidence is very important. That sort of confidence is not a blind one; it is an awareness of one’s own potential, and we all vary in what we are endowed with; comparisons are not helpful. On that basis, human beings can transform themselves by increasing the good qualities and reducing the negative qualities.

We are responsible for asking for help. We need to progress slowly, and through the experience and advice of others, we can begin healing and begin helping others to heal also, which is where our greatest progress occurs.  

Achieving salvation can be compared to curing a disease; if one is ill, one must go to a doctor. The doctor diagnoses the ailment and prescribes medicine. The medicine must be taken by the person himself. He cannot have someone else take the medicine for him. No one can be cured by simply admiring the medicine or just praising the doctor for his good prescription. In order to be cured, he himself must faithfully follow the instructions given by the doctor with regard to the manner and frequency in taking his medicine, his daily diet and other relevant medical restraints. 

We are alone in the sense that we ourselves need to administer the antidote to greed, anger, self-doubt and avoidance. As we learn that we are connected to all other beings, and take sometimes uncomfortable action to BE involved, our loneliness and isolation will subside.” As I slowly gain a healthy sense of self worth, it must be cultivated through my responsibility to act, to be present, in a loving and honest manner with the people that are in my life now. 

As we learn to accept the suffering of the past, to NOT dwell in it, but to use our experiences to be of help to others, we find community and compassion. The more we sit with ourselves and become completely familiar with who we are (so-called ‘good’ and ‘bad’ qualities included), the less we doubt ourselves as spiritual beings. We begin becoming more involved in life, often with an effort and courage that helps us to step into activities and connections with others. Not being sorry for ourselves and hiding away. We are responsible for the other people in our lives, not to change them or fix them, but to be involved in a healthy and present manner, not hiding and wailing about the past.  We come to understand that all of these things are only aspects of our basic goodness, the sunlight of the spirit is made up of all parts of all beings, and that it is as it should be, and that is as it IS. WE ARE BASICALLY GOOD!  

We know others suffer as we have, and we are now here to witness our lives, their lives, and be a participant in all aspects of life.

However, if we don’t make much effort, we can rely on not much changing.

I am responsible for my life, and I am responsible for doing what I can to help uplift the lives of others. These are one and the same.  

Suggestion – Say something kind to someone you do not care for.

How do you fill your bucket? One drop at a time
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step
The great arises out of small things that are honored and cared for
May you be well. May you be happy. May you find peace.

Heart Of Recovery web site  — fcheartofrecovery.com