ASK ABDI: HOW DO I DEAL WITH MY ADDICTION?
QUESTION: How can I stop drinking? I drink wine every day. I know it is not “good” for me. I know I judge and loathe my weakness: that I want to and do drink every day. It takes the edge off the sharp, exhausting world that requires so much to deal with. Meditation and yoga daily are only one piece of the puzzle. I write poetry and fiction every day. When I’m writing, I’m in the state I want to be in all the time. To come out of it and have to deal with all the trials of daily living in this fast, demanding world - I drink, so I can be light, so I can do the things I must do. I am in my late 50s. I have been doing this for years, drinking red wine daily. In fact, that is the name of my organic, sulfite-free wine: Our Daily Red. I am probably ruining my health, and I am terrified that I can not turn this around, that I can’t stop. I don’t really want to stop; I know that I have to. Help, please!
ANSWER: Addiction can be defined as the inability to tolerate or be present in the moment. By this definition, most of us are addicts. In fact, we are a culture steeped in addiction. Due to emotional pain at an early age, we have all learned to check out as a way of not feeling. Be it incessant thinking or playing with our handheld devices, inappropriate consumption of substances or bodily abuse by over or under-eating, we have a difficult time tolerating our emotions. How can you stop drinking, you ask? By doing the hard work required to deal with the emotions you are stuffing down by drinking. No one can help you but yourself. Be it working with a therapist or a 12-step program, there are a myriad of ways to start digging yourself out. You say you don’t want to stop, so why are you reaching out? Obviously a part of you is starting to realize that you need to face your pain.
You make an important point regarding how you want to be in the creative state all of the time. That is a common addictive behavior in itself, where we prefer the exalted states, be it through partaking in a creative or spiritual exercise. The current repetitive use, and hence abuse of, ayahuasca in some circles is exactly that: an addiction to living close to the unity state instead of using it as a healing tool. As noble as these activities can be in and of themselves, one can not live in them all of the time. They are places to visit, recharge, and get clarity, so that we can carry on in our daily life. The actual grinding of the daily life with its pains and struggles is the thing that buffs out our imperfections and softens our hearts. Pain is a part of the journey for all of us, suffering is caused by not dealing with our underlying issues. There are no free lunches. Roll up your sleeves and pull yourself out. Or keep suffering until the heat under your feet is unbearable. Regardless of your choice, take responsibility for your present state.