Need help with addictions

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Mr Pixel, modified 1 Month ago at 5/13/24 11:48 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 5/13/24 11:48 PM

Need help with addictions

Posts: 60 Join Date: 1/6/21 Recent Posts
Hey all, I'm not sure what to do. I struggle with addiction. 10 months ago I beat a terrifying cocaine addiction by moving across country. Two months ago, with the help of AA, I stopped drinking. I am now chewing nicotine gum in place of cigarettes. I haven't had a smoke in a little over 30 days. I am, however, still addicted to nicotine.

I also have an addiction to caffeine. I have been trying to ween off of it but it seems that my addiction has grown stronger. I am now consuming 600 mg of caffeine on a daily basis. This may not seem super relevant to you guys, but caffeine really affects my daily practice. It gives me anxiety, hinders my sleep, etc. I realize it's insane to keep doing something that brings me suffering, yet I still can't quit. I have an aversion to feeling sleepy and enjoy the euphoric affect that caffeine has on my mind.

Since I quit doing drugs I have developed an addiction to crappy foods. I went to the doctor the other day, and he told me that my health is not good. I have high blood pressure and elevated liver enzymes. I need to lose weight in order for my liver to go back to normal. And, I need to give up caffeine and nicotine for my blood pessure to get back to healthy levels.

I have been deeply challenged this last year and need all help I can get.

From a buddhist perspective, what sort of practices should I be looking into. What should I be doing. Can practice even help with this stuff?

Thanks in advance for any advice or personal anecdotes.
Martin, modified 1 Month ago at 5/14/24 1:05 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 5/14/24 1:05 AM

RE: Need help with addictions

Posts: 873 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Good for you for tackling it head-on! That is the best approach. I struggled with addictions for 20 years and have been free of all that shit for more than 20 years (yeah, I'm old). I quit various things one by one, but they generally came back. It became easier when I quit everything at the same time. That said, some things should take priority. You can't be arrested for fat and disorderly. Make sure that clean and sober are at the top of your to-do list. 

AA is a great resource, as are LifeRing and SMART Recovery. Groups, and particularly face-to-face groups, work well. Making the effort to get to a meeting helps with sobriety even before the meeting starts. The skills you develop in these groups will help with things like food and coffee too. Also, if you protect your sobriety, you can improve your diet and your health. If your sobriety goes...

I did not start meditating until after I quit poisoning myself, so I cannot suggest a plan for ending addiction through meditation but, really, the skills that people use to get sober are very similar to the base skills that people learn in meditation. All recovery programs teach us to see that urges are not our selves and to respond to thoughts by recognizing them for what they are and dropping them. AA's "turning it over" is the same principle as release/softening/relaxing when the mind gets caught up and we lose our object in meditation. Keep coming back is both the last thing we say at an AA meeting and the intention we set at the beginning of mindfulness meditation. The understanding that the mind can be trained, but not controlled, is at the foundation of both endeavors. 

In the long term, awakening provides permanent release from compulsion. That usually takes time. Along the way, abstaining from addiction, and especially staying clean and sober, will help your meditation and meditation will make it easier to abstain from addiction. It is a virtuous cycle. 

I would suggest focusing primarily on samatha meditation. https://midlmeditation.com/main-meditation-menu is a good resource  The softening skills taught by Stephan Proctor can be immediately applied to urges and stress around drinking, using, and other kinds of picking up. I would avoid Mahasi style noting/dry insight of the type many of us on this forum use, at least until you have established comfortable long-term sobriety. It is one path to awakening but it is not necessary for awakening. There can be some rough patches on that path which would be best avoided by someone at risk of picking up. For addicts, such as myself, and possibly you, staying sober is an absolutely necessary condition for awaking. Putting that first, even in choosing a meditation style, would be part of the way to awakening. 
Gus Castellanos, modified 1 Month ago at 5/14/24 4:48 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 5/14/24 4:48 AM

RE: Need help with addictions

Posts: 22 Join Date: 1/2/18 Recent Posts
Congrats on the months of recovery from cocaine and alcohol. Having problems with other substances and behavior after recovering from our main addiction is common. I am 20 years clean and sober from coke, alcohol, and opioids. I never smoked, but I do drink coffee, which can sometimes get out of control. And it does impact my meditation as well as every day life. I attended many AA meetings for ~10 years and still consider myself a member of AA, though I don't go to them anymore. Instead, I attend and facilitate, Recovery Dharma meetings, which, like Refuge Recovery, are mindfulness-based, Buddhist-informed programs of recovery open to all addictions. 
Also, a new peer-led recovery program, Mindshift Recovery, was started a few months ago. Mindshift Recovery is rooted in the latest science of habit change, mindfulness, and recovery best practices based on the work of neuroscientist, addiction psychiatrist, and mindfulness practitioner Judson Brewer, MD, PhD.
It can be used as a stand-alone program but is mostly attended by people in other programs who have time in their primary recovery and are dealing with other habits they want to break, such as overeating, smoking, reactivity, anxiety, 'stinking thinking,' procrastination, shame, and such--things that not only affect our quality of life but, left unaddressed, can lead us back to our primary addictions.
The meetings are open to everyone and all addictions/habits, anywhere on the recovery journey, including those not sure if they have a problem. 
Meetings are free, peer-led, and facilitated by people trained by Jud Brewer. We meet virtually on Thursdays, noon-1 pm Eastern US time via Zoom.
Please join us, sign up here to receive the weekly Zoom link: https://mindshiftrecovery.org/weekly-call-sign-up
‎ ‎Nihila, modified 1 Month ago at 5/14/24 9:05 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 5/14/24 8:43 AM

RE: Need help with addictions

Posts: 351 Join Date: 1/19/23 Recent Posts
Congrats. You've come a long way in a short time. Give yourself some slack! Nicotine and caffeine are harder to overcome in my experience since they're socially acceptable and are also much milder in terms of effects.

I have an aversion to feeling sleepy


This story came to mind regarding sleepiness and aversion to it. Not sure it's applicable to you but I found it helpful myself.

https://youtu.be/VJ3nZIXKvqc?si=NALulKoFQY29XqBN&t=2869
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Mr Pixel, modified 1 Month ago at 5/14/24 9:36 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 5/14/24 9:36 AM

RE: Need help with addictions

Posts: 60 Join Date: 1/6/21 Recent Posts
Thanks everyone!

A couple of things came up for me after I read these posts earlier this morning. The first thing is that I've been too hard on myself. Trying to drop everything all at once is too much and most of all ineffective.

I'm going to meet with my therapist this morning and talk about these things. He is also a Buddhist which is really helpful.

This morning, rather than doing a normal sit, I did loving kindness meditation. I've only done LMK a few times so I am rather inexperienced but I already feel at peace and more present. I'm going to meet with my current meditation teacher this week to discuss further.

Anyways, thanks for all the replies so far.
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Pawel K, modified 1 Month ago at 5/15/24 5:16 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 5/15/24 5:16 AM

RE: Need help with addictions

Posts: 1172 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
By the looks of it you went in to addiction hard.
I am not sure there is anything to drop addictions easily.
For most things you can do cessation of part of brain which clings to stuff and when something else arises it doesn't. If you regularly flood your body with chemicals its like all of it clings to this stuff so no matter what it will always feel bad.

In this case at most reduction of triggers (e.g. places/situations/people associated with given addiction) + reduction of withdrawal symptoms (e.g. consequently reducing doses or finding something else) + strong will to be consistent can help.

By 'something else' I mean chemicals which are known to reduce withdrawal symptoms. Just beware of stuff you might get prescribed as its often worse than original addiction e.g. benzodiazepines are hell to quit... but also why peple like to prescribe them - getting more means there is a need to pay for a visit (or get paid by someone funding your 'free' medical care).
For nicotine the good alternative is cytosine. It doesn't really have anywhere near the same effects as nicotine and the way you apply it lack the 'relief hit' but if you already use nicotine patches you might try to replace nicotine with cytosine. It causes nicotine to not work and itself apparently binds to the same receptors so has slightly similar effects whle nowhere near addictive. Success rate is still low but its better.
Nicotine is one of the hardest things to quit. It also makes any other addiction much more justified.

Caffeine - just drink less coffee. I know I know, how can a person consider oneself alive without tons and tons of coffee? There would certainly be at some point dehydration, wouldn't it? Well, drink more water when you are just thirsty - works for all kinds of animals and plants when they need water. It doesn't come with coffee in it ;)

Crappy foods... scientists are apparently working on finding solution to people eating crappy foods but so far the only progress that has been made is inventing even crappier foods to test absolute limits of how bad the food can get. I guess the best solution is to learn how to cook or because there is not that much to learn jus to it rather than choosing fast and easy options which are specifically packed with all the stuff that makes it act like drugs. Something like mono-sodium glutamate is what 'hooks' us up. Fast food brands know this well and pack their food full of it so when you get cravings for it you think of their food. The thing is body doesn't need it - it needs the components of meat where the same taste is naturally found. Put some meat and tons of MSG in to food and your body will adjust to how much it gets with how much umami taste. So then when you eat normal food the response will be that you cannot possibly get what you need enough. It takes some time eating healthy foods to readjust your brain and then it might feel (incorrectly but still helpful to self-limiting consumption) that something with lots and lots of this umami taste like fast food might put too much stuff from the meat in to your body. Its only when you eat fast food and actually only put tons of taste that this readjustment happen.

Also MSG has stimulating effects on nervous system. Not much and it isn't by itself that unhealthy but enough for it to cause craving by itself. So when you cook food or get good food and feel like you might still have craving for fast food even though you shouldn't need it nutrient-wise it might actually be better to pus some MSG (its in all meat taste enhancing products) until you don't feel like needing to eat fast foods. Maybe always slightly less than limits of how much you can consume it so each time you do you reduce its amount until you feel like you don't need it. Though I guess little is okay so no need to compromise on taste and just be aware of how eating too much of MSG makes food without tons of it taste bad while also making other tastes kinda diminish. Its nothing compared to being too used to MSG and eating then food without tons of it. That is why someone who eats fast foods when they go to good restaurant will find the food there bland and unappealing. Best not overdo such things.

---
Anyways, the takeaway is that since things which act on nervous system typically are all-inclusive in regard affecting whole brain it means its unavoidable to experience changes they make everywhere. Changes like neurons loosing sites overstimulated by drugs or having more of those blocked.

Regarding that there might be mechanism where parts of brain which are used more experience more changes than those not used. It is less relevant with stimulants or when you take stimulants. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulant. Still some parts of brain might be less affected. And certainly the issue can be mitigated by switching used parts of brain fast fast...

...well, good luck with that emoticon
I mean while you need to expect karmic suffering and endure please do use that as opportunity to practice. Bad karma, good karma, all is opportunity for practice ;)
shargrol, modified 1 Month ago at 5/15/24 5:24 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 5/15/24 5:24 AM

RE: Need help with addictions

Posts: 2523 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
I have no practical advice to give, just an observation that people who deal with their addictions tend to become really excellent meditators --- it's really the same skill: don't "believe" the way you temporarily feel, slow down and take the time to observe and understand, choose the most wise and harmless path forward that you can think of at the time -- and don't be daunted when you find out you aren't perfect and need keep refining this skill.

If you can do it with your body (addictions, etc.), you can do it with your mind (nanas, jhanas, sankaras, 6 realms, 5 elements, etc.)!

​​​​​​​Be as kind and healthy as you can, but don't beat yourself up with perfectionism, depression, or mania. 

Best wishes Mr. Pixel!
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Bahiya Baby, modified 1 Month ago at 5/15/24 6:58 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 5/15/24 6:58 PM

RE: Need help with addictions

Posts: 523 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
The only way I have ever been able to make dramatic changes to chemical or dietary addictions is gradually, slowly and often over long periods of time. I rarely see this kind of approach recommended but it really works for me. With nicotine, alcohol, food etc. 

This is also the approach one takes to suffering when meditating. Piece by piece we give up our attachments with all the ups and downs, successes and failures that are to be expected over a long journey. 
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Bahiya Baby, modified 1 Month ago at 5/15/24 8:46 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 5/15/24 8:06 PM

RE: Need help with addictions

Posts: 523 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
Like... a really big part of it is cultivating a feeling of resolve towards doing something. Feel what it's like to want to do the thing and then continue to cultivate that feeling of determined resolve over days, weeks, etc. 

Another really big part is people. If you grew up in the rave scene and all your friends do drugs it can be difficult not to do drugs. It can be useful to involve yourself with social situations where you're less likely to do the thing. That's what i had to do. I have friends who found that and much more in AA, I have other friends who just got into sports or hiking or drama or yoga or work whatever....

If you've got a coffee problem then don't go to cafe's lol... hanging out with healthy eating people can be a great way to stay on track with food. Also learning to cook, doing cooking classes etc. 

Also for what it's worth the most energy i have ever experienced is through no caffeine, no sugar and disciplined regulation of sexual energy. Caffeine and sugar are really a pretty poor stand in for just natural healthy energy. 
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Dream Walker, modified 1 Month ago at 5/15/24 9:41 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 5/15/24 9:12 PM

RE: Need help with addictions

Posts: 1746 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
(EDITED UPDATED link)
You might Google this - 

site:www.dharmaoverground.org addict alcoholic drug (search term)

There is good stuff to dig up...
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/view_message/5528488#_com_liferay_message_boards_web_portlet_MBPortlet_message_5528767
​​​​​​​There are Buddhist meetings around for group support 
I liked urge surfing exercises 
Good Luck,
~D
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Mac Max, modified 1 Month ago at 5/16/24 7:10 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 5/16/24 7:10 AM

RE: Need help with addictions

Posts: 34 Join Date: 1/25/24 Recent Posts
I also used to struggle with addiction, and these are just a few things that worked for me, not to be taken as advice but rather a perspective.

The first retreat that I did fixed a lot of it. Just having a tool(vipassana) for exploring what is going on in the body that can be used again and again did most of the difference. Doing a 10-day retreat in a quite seirous tradition(goenka) was not pleasan't and is not risk free(even though I knew nothing about risks at the time), but it seemed to just take away the worst parts of my suffering.

I had to go back again and again and keep on practicing for many years but still. 7 year nicotine addiction gone, have come back to that maybe 3 times for a few months in the past 10 years. 7 year alcohol addiction also more or less gone, I got drunk few time a year for like 5 years after that but not 2-5 times per week that had been the norm up until then. And my sex addiction took me like a year or so more to kick, more practice and a couple more retreats.

I sort of consider these things side effects to what I got out of the retreats, but my sense is that there was always tremendous psycological benefits to doing them. 

I don't know what others think of this but reatreats have been immensly valuable to me. 

But also, not as a stand alone thing. Regular practice in daily life, getting out of freind circles, commiting to quitting again and again stuff that others mentioned here.

I should also say that I never fully managed to quit sugar and caffine, those I seem to cycle 50% of the time on 50% off.

In the goenka tradition they talk about it as if intense practice like in a retreat setting gets rid of the worst defilements first, the things that would get you reborn in the lowest realm. I see that as a metaphor that has some thruth to it just from my personal very anecdotal experience.

And again, don't see this as advice, just sort of a possibility to explore.
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Mac Max, modified 1 Month ago at 5/16/24 7:54 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 5/16/24 7:36 AM

RE: Need help with addictions

Posts: 34 Join Date: 1/25/24 Recent Posts
And also, falling in love with working out.

Working out has been very helpful to me. 

How I do it nowadays is to mix playfulness and discipline. Find something that you find intresting. I like hiking, wheight training, indoor climbing, swiming, biking.

I used to hate doing cardio, but that was because I started out with too high intensity. Now I just get on a treadmill and put on full incline and just walk fast enough to start to breathing a bit more heavy. Still slow enough to breath through the nose. I could keep on with a conversation, but in shorter sentences. It's the pace that you could do for hours almost. Sometimes called zone 2 training. I just do this for 30-120 minutes, as often as I have time left, just before work or on lunch break or morning before kids wake up. Great if you want to do walking meditation and also listening to podcast or music.

Otherwise just getting outside and go for some activity that raises the pulse a bit, dosen't have to be anything special, find some other people that you can do that with.

And I pair that with some resistance training. I just go to the gym, do whatever I feel like. In the beginning you should get the form down, probably use a PT. And then the key thing to me here is just to do max effort or very close to max effort for at least one set per muscle group that you are doing that day. I think its really fun to push myself and just feel what it feels like to max out. And see that you do this in a safe manner. I do this 1-5 times per week. Just as often as I find the time. And just anything is enough. I often go to the gym for just 10 or 20 min. Warm up do 2 or 3 sets, and feel better than before I got there when I leave.

It is also quite fun to max out on cardio, like bike as fast as you can for 3 mins and then rest 3 mins and do that 3 times. 

The discipline aspect here is that I try to tune into how good it feels after I'm done with a workout and then trying to remind myself about that and remember that dipspite what I feel before I have the opportunity of going to the gym or doing some activity the next time. And just sort of overiding that resistance of starting or going to the gym that often times are there before getting into it.

Just as simple as possible, work up to it slowly, and slowly fall in love with it. If you manage to get this into a weekly routine the body will love you.
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Mr Pixel, modified 28 Days ago at 5/20/24 7:32 AM
Created 28 Days ago at 5/20/24 7:32 AM

RE: Need help with addictions

Posts: 60 Join Date: 1/6/21 Recent Posts
Thanks for the replies everyone, I just got back in town from visiting family and will try to find time to respond to all your replies.
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Mr Pixel, modified 28 Days ago at 5/20/24 7:37 AM
Created 28 Days ago at 5/20/24 7:36 AM

RE: Need help with addictions

Posts: 60 Join Date: 1/6/21 Recent Posts
Bahiya Baby
The only way I have ever been able to make dramatic changes to chemical or dietary addictions is gradually, slowly and often over long periods of time. I rarely see this kind of approach recommended but it really works for me. With nicotine, alcohol, food etc. 

This is also the approach one takes to suffering when meditating. Piece by piece we give up our attachments with all the ups and downs, successes and failures that are to be expected over a long journey. 


This is such good advice. Exactly what I learned at my mom's place. I quit smoking 5 weeks ago and replaced smoking with 4mg nicotine tablets. Not easy, but not difficult either. This week I dropped down to 2mg and barely noticed a change in cravings. It was super easy. However, my anxiety level has decreased and I feel much more at peace.

I'm going to continue to take things slow.
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Mr Pixel, modified 28 Days ago at 5/20/24 7:38 AM
Created 28 Days ago at 5/20/24 7:38 AM

RE: Need help with addictions

Posts: 60 Join Date: 1/6/21 Recent Posts
There's a strong desire to end suffering, but the struggle to bring an end to it just leaves me spinning my wheels and getting nowhere.
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terry, modified 27 Days ago at 5/20/24 3:02 PM
Created 27 Days ago at 5/20/24 3:02 PM

RE: Need help with addictions

Posts: 2531 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
Mr Pixel
Hey all, I'm not sure what to do. I struggle with addiction. 10 months ago I beat a terrifying cocaine addiction by moving across country. Two months ago, with the help of AA, I stopped drinking. I am now chewing nicotine gum in place of cigarettes. I haven't had a smoke in a little over 30 days. I am, however, still addicted to nicotine.

I also have an addiction to caffeine. I have been trying to ween off of it but it seems that my addiction has grown stronger. I am now consuming 600 mg of caffeine on a daily basis. This may not seem super relevant to you guys, but caffeine really affects my daily practice. It gives me anxiety, hinders my sleep, etc. I realize it's insane to keep doing something that brings me suffering, yet I still can't quit. I have an aversion to feeling sleepy and enjoy the euphoric affect that caffeine has on my mind.

Since I quit doing drugs I have developed an addiction to crappy foods. I went to the doctor the other day, and he told me that my health is not good. I have high blood pressure and elevated liver enzymes. I need to lose weight in order for my liver to go back to normal. And, I need to give up caffeine and nicotine for my blood pessure to get back to healthy levels.

I have been deeply challenged this last year and need all help I can get.

From a buddhist perspective, what sort of practices should I be looking into. What should I be doing. Can practice even help with this stuff?

Thanks in advance for any advice or personal anecdotes.


What interests me is the framing of the problem.

"Addictions."


   What is actually going on is "knowing" what is good for you vs actually doing what is good for you.

   Reading books and participatng in forums tends to make one credit the insight of people rather than their actual behavior. Many even maintain that it is the insight which is important, even if the behavior doesn't always match up.

   The behavior is everything and the words are the chatter of birds.  (tweet tweet)


   Take yourself as you are, brother. Your health is all important when you are suffering physically. You can turn it around by focusig on the behaviors that make you feel better. Maybe that includes meditation, maybe caring for a pet. Open your heart and ease your mind.

   But the root problem is food. Fast food is bad for you. Long term solution is to learn to appreciate fruit and vegetables, which are the flavors the laboratories try to copy. You can eat all you can stuff in of foods that are good for you and easily maintain a healthy weight. Eating well takes alot of effort. Like caring for a dog, hours every day. Just eating healthy food takes an hour or two. We are conditioned to believe stuffing oneself in minutes is normal and maybe it is, but it is unhealthy. Anyone over fifty who eats that way suffers corrosive indigestion. Try a quarter teaspoon baking soda in 3 oz warm water.

   Alcohol intake very hard to control for an addictive personality, tend to binge drink, mix drugs.

   Drugs are just bad food and poisons. After fast food alcohol and tobacco are the most poisonous. I think drinking alcohol at all is a result of conditioning and low self esteem. 

   As long as you aren't smoking cigarettes, the nicotine and caffeine refuges, plus comfort foods, are typical for recovering addicts. Baby steps, eh? Cocaine is very addictive, crack and smoking fentanyl likewise. One gives them up when they become unavailable. But when they are unavaiable the physical dependence goes with the drugs and you have a chance to rehabilitate your self.

   Marijuaa is probably just another addiction you can't give up but it doesn't damage your health like most. Ditto caffeine, in moderation. And nicotine doesn't make you go out and commit crimes. Normally.

   You are encouraged to seek institutional help, but it is our institutions that addicted you in the first place. You have to commit yourself to your own health. Conditioning is all around and can pop up anywhere. Stand on your own feet.

   You didn't even mention sex but it is very drug like and addictive as well. And we are conditioned to crave it.

   Addiction is always to dopamine. Find healthy alternatives to your fixes. Get a dog.

   There is recent research that physically toughening up helps with addictions. Exercisers have less trouble with addiction and depression.

   And you are addicted to insight as the easy way to feel right. When actually eating well is probably the most important thing all around.

   
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Mr Pixel, modified 26 Days ago at 5/22/24 7:00 AM
Created 26 Days ago at 5/22/24 6:38 AM

RE: Need help with addictions

Posts: 60 Join Date: 1/6/21 Recent Posts
Ni Nurta
By the looks of it you went in to addiction hard. I am not sure there is anything to drop addictions easily.

Cocaine was a bitch. That drug is like an infection. My decision making skills went out the window which made it very difficult to recover. It was like a virus that infected the subconscious. On the surface I wanted to get clean but below the surface there was a hidden desire to keep the addiction going. I was able to when I isolated myself by moving across country where I didn't have access to drugs.

Then came alcohol. Over time I replaced cocaine with alcohol. Boredom and loneliness did not help. For whatever reason, I could not get sober on my own once I came to love the feeling that alcohol produced. Once I went into AA I was able to drop it immediately. I really needed community.

I took up the game of chess and started drawing while trying to get sober but that did not help. I would just drink while I was playing chess and drawing. They say that alcoholism is a disease of isolation (or something like that). That was certainly true in my case. But based on what I've learned in AA, different things get different people sober. For some it's self-esteem, for others it spirituality, for others it's community, etc. I think for most it's all of the above.

shargrol
don't "believe" the way you temporarily feel, slow down and take the time to observe and understand, choose the most wise and harmless path forward that you can think of at the time

Excellent.

Bahiya Baby
The only way I have ever been able to make dramatic changes to chemical or dietary addictions is gradually, slowly and often over long periods of time. I rarely see this kind of approach recommended but it really works for me. With nicotine, alcohol, food etc.

So far this has been my experience as well.

terry
What is actually going on is "knowing" what is good for you vs actually doing what is good for you.

This is helpful. I'm going to continue to reflect on this.

terry
Find healthy alternatives to your fixes. Get a dog.

If getting sober were that easy it wouldn't be an issue!
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terry, modified 17 Days ago at 5/30/24 4:16 PM
Created 17 Days ago at 5/30/24 4:16 PM

RE: Need help with addictions

Posts: 2531 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts


terry
What is actually going on is "knowing" what is good for you vs actually doing what is good for you.

This is helpful. I'm going to continue to reflect on this.

terry
Find healthy alternatives to your fixes. Get a dog.

If getting sober were that easy it wouldn't be an issue!


A drowning man will clutch a straw.

Don't underestimate dogs. Latest research indicates it was dogs who taught humans to love one another. They have tamed us.


Easy or hard doesn't signify when your life is on the line.

The idea is to kick addictions, without getting addicted to kicking addictions. Healthy substitutes in the sense of getting a dog involve oxytocin inducing associations. Loneliness and isolation are the result of not caring for others. Get a plant, a fish, whatever. A job.

Play chess with people who don't drink at the same time.

The problem with organizations being necessary to your "recovery" from "addiction" is all the bullshit blame and shame. You are a typical human animal who has been sadly victimized by global capitalism. They use technology to deliberately addict you to whatever profits them to do without regard to your health and well being. The cold, dead hand of the market. 

There is no simple solution that will overnight make your transition to being a healthy human painless and easy. You have to work hard and accept sacrifice, knowing that your practice, despite whatever backsliding, is making life better for you and others. Call it self esteem of you like, I call it responsibility. Nourish whatever neurotransmitter profile you can develop that encourages personal responsibility. Even if  you still suffer it will help the rest of us. And likely in the end you will be healthier.

God has 99 beautiful names, and the one I use most often is "the patient one." Out of deficiency, of course.
Cameron DeVries, modified 15 Hours ago at 6/16/24 10:53 PM
Created 15 Hours ago at 6/16/24 10:53 PM

RE: Need help with addictions

Posts: 2 Join Date: 6/16/24 Recent Posts
I have dealt with a few serious addictions in my life, but never substances like drugs or alcohol.  I think it's one of those things where you kind of have to find what works for you.  I will give a couple personal examples:

1) when I was 22, I realized that sex was interfering with my life, so I resolved to give it up all together, including any form of sexual release (e.g. masturbation).  But I knew that when you try to break addictions cold turkey, it can lead to a reaction in the body/mind, and actually not be that healthy long term.  So I developed a plan.  I cut down sexual release to once a week for about two weeks, then once every two weeks for awhile, then once a month for a few months, then I gave up sexual release altogether, in all forms, for about 2 years. The plan worked!  I overcame the sexual urges, and that first year I didn't have sexual release one time.  After the first year, sexual desire stopped and I stopped getting unwanted sexual thought intterupting my meditation, so I could sit in meditation for 3-6 hours comfortably without being disturbed by cravings.  (I was also practicing qigong every day, which helped me be able to strengthen my chi so the cravings didn't return).  This success has led me to be a dire hard proponent of gradual training in all things.  We just do better when we'e gradually eased into a difficult experience, like a kid who must have floaties and take swimming lessons before being ready for the deep end.

2) I have a serious chronic illness.  Recently, I realized that my death will likely be very painful physically.  I don't know how long I have to live, but it might not be that long, but body has been going downhill; and some days I can't speak much at all.  So I resolved that I would learn to do rigorous fasting as a way of purifying my mind to make my death more peaceful.  It was really difficult to wean myself off food - very hard indeed! I started by just saying okay, you can't eat for 6-8 hours, and when you eat you cant eat anyting more than what you need.  I stopped snacking completely for quite awhile, and did not allow myself to follow any desires for food (this was tough).  I stopped eating for pleasure, using food as a means to lessen boredom or to relax.  I realized that death was coming relatively soon for me (I've been seriously ill for 16 years), and I had to do everything in my power to lessen the grip of sense pleasures on my mind. ...So I would do 1 day fasts, then 2 day fasts, then tried 3 day fasts.  The next plan is a 7 day fast, followed by a two week fast.  The goal is to be able to fast for 2-3 weeks (this is the amount of time it takes to fast to death).  Some spiritual practitioners, especially in Hinduism, have great respect for those with a serious illness who choose to fast to death (in the West its now called VSED); it is considered a noble and acceptable practice in most religions.   The thing is, with severe illness (especially mine) the hallucinations and terrible discomfort can cause the mind to create negative karmas.  So if the suffering is unbearable, and the mind is lashing out, if one has prepared by training to fast for 2-3 weeks, they can end their life through fasting, or at least attempt it.  This way they can let the body die naturally without prolonging their suffering.  I had one close friend and one close acquaitance who tried to fast to death when they were terminal.  One of them made it about a week, but neither of them could do it (after a few days it gets tough).  It takes a lot of preparation before one can prepare to carry out a VSED (its considered acceptable and ethical by mainstream medicine, is a valid and legal option in hospice for ending ones life; its not considered suicide).  I do  not plan to do this unless its necessary (i.e. suffering is horrible), but I would like to have this option if that feared outcome arises.  If I can fast for two weeks or more now, then hopefully I will be able to fast at the time of death,  if the physical suffering is great.
Matt Jon Rousseau, modified 5 Hours ago at 6/17/24 8:52 AM
Created 5 Hours ago at 6/17/24 8:52 AM

RE: Need help with addictions

Posts: 172 Join Date: 5/1/22 Recent Posts
Sorry to hear this. Do you have access to jhanas?
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