Author Topic: Moving from addiction to connection  (Read 1129 times)

Offline Solodris

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Moving from addiction to connection
« on: November 27, 2016, 04:56:11 am »
So here I am, after ordering 4 different psycho-active substances from the net, I get myself drunk, and go out to talk to strangers downtown asking if anyone has anything to sell. After a couple of "It is forbidden." and "That's illegal." I finally met a stranger who happened to be drunk as well. He had a piece of Cannabis, but no paper to roll it into a joint, so we walk around and after a while we find another dude. I ask him if he can get me some powder, next thing I know I'm ridiculously high having a fun and active conversation with two complete strangers I met on the street in the middle of the night. The surprising thing is, I have Asperger Syndrome, and had never been this socially outgoing as I was this night, and I had fun too!

We exchanged phone numbers and parted ways. I was walking fast from the bus stop to my apartment as the anticipation of two lines of snow white powder going up my nostrils was an ever diminishing pain as the distance shrunk. Finally I was home, drunk, high and about to do two lines. After I did the lines, I walked over to my computer and literally sat and wrote on the internet for 15 hours straight. This was some good quality powder, no doubt.

So, I suppose some of you know me from the "I have attained enlightenment!" thread. That thread is the biggest embarrassment of my life. I have Asperger Syndrome, Bipolar Disorder, ADHD, social phobia, atypical depression, generalized anxiety syndrome, addiction syndrome, alcoholism and Borderline Personality Disorder. My life has been on the border between being hospitalized and home for about 10 years now. I take 12 different pills a day just to function. My life is like Murphy's law: If something can go wrong, I will make sure damn it gets done wrong, and not just in an accidental way, I mean like in a manic frenzy, obsessively exploring the suffering that is unraveled by my reckless and intoxicated behavior pushing the limits of people around me. And that's how you ended up with a "I have attained enlightenment!" thread.

The thing is, I'm so glad I found Buddhism though, because without it I would have been not only lost as a creature but as a soul. I recently figured out intense fasting meditation, where you purify your mind from the defilement's that is more apparent because of the hunger. Helped me be more relaxed, use less profanity, drop obsessive compulsive thoughts, made me less anxious and more stable in my mood, and most of all, less prone to lashing out emotionally. What I'm working on right now with my mind is mainly increasing my humility, I'm not quite sure how to do that though.

But even though I'm pretty experienced in meditation, as you can see, my greed is going to cause a complete train-wreck with all those drugs coming to my mailbox. Am I incurable?

I'm going to see my psychiatrist in 3 days. He's going to talk about putting me on amphetamines for my ADHD which I desperately need because otherwise everything is so boring that out of pure desperation I just do the stuff you just read about to feel like time is moving. But he can absolutely NOT see me intoxicated because that could potentially make him discontinue some of my medication. And I need them all. Right now I possess enough amphetamines to stay awake for an entire week and develop a full-blown mania. The desire is so strong, I can't resist the temptation of tasting the sweet nectar that is the chemically induced euphoria that comes with each line I do.

Oh, and there's another big problem: I live in an apartment that is classified as a component of a group home for disabled individuals. It's a perfectly normal apartment building, the only difference is I have staff available 24-hours a day that helps me with anything I want. They have their office in an apartment in the same building, but the social services made up these rules that I have to go over to their office and pick up my medicine, every day at 8 AM and 8 PM, just so they can see I'm actually taking it. This gives me indescribable anxiety when I'm tweaked on stimulants, haven't eaten or slept in 2 days and show up there with dilated pupils, alcohol-breath, shaking from anxiety, dropping pills as I take them, make small talk without them noticing I'm barely keeping it together. It takes like 30 seconds, and then when I'm home again it's a huge relief to have gotten it over with. But this is a great cause of suffering for me. Any ideas about this one would be much appreciated.

This is basically my life: Depression, talks to no one, then bored, turned to desperation and a drug binge peaks my mental and social activity which results in threads like this followed by a train-wreck. Sometimes followed by kung fu, yoga and meditation, but it always breaks into a drug binge eventually.

The only positive thing in my life is that I have found a girl more beautiful than words can describe, and she worships my intelligence, which is a bit of a weakness of mine since I am a little over-perceptive of my own abilities being somewhat different when it comes to how other people acquire and apply knowledge. I haven't seen her in a while though, but she's like me, she has the insanity condition too. She too over-binges on drugs just to completely switch to a super healthy life style like I do, but I'm teaching her meditative techniques, and mindfulness to lessen her greed. So that we may meet at some point, without circumstances holding us apart, just like the treatment homes did when we were at two different rehabilitation homes, but now we live in the same city!

Any compassionate advice would be deeply appreciated. May the compassion of bodhisattvas have mercy on my soul. :pray:
« Last Edit: December 29, 2016, 10:40:57 am by Solodris »

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: My insanity condition
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2016, 07:48:35 am »
I'm not a psychiatrist, but my experience is that uppers, like coke and amphetamines, just make the extreme ups and downs you describe worse. Plus they're addictive.

I've found that exercise, especially weight lifting, but yoga is good too, will cause the body to produce healing chemicals on its own. I got through a period of borderline schizophrenia by doing two one hour sessions of strenuous yoga, combined with samatha breath-counting, every day.

Spending a set amount of time doing strenuous exercise every day and breathing deeply while doing it, is amazingly therapeutic. I do a period of samatha meditation before exercising to calm and focus. Try that once or twice a day, especially first thing before breakfast. I'd be very surprised if such a regimen doesn't give you some stability. Exercise is particularly effective with depression.

I've noticed that once someone gets into the mental health system it's difficult, but not impossible, to get out. I know it sounds simplistic, but regular, consistent exercise, especially weight training, combined with some samatha, can do wonders. You can do it on your own if you really make an effort.

Sex and lots of loving touching can be very therapeutic as well.

Take good care of yourself.
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline Solodris

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Re: My insanity condition
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2016, 05:10:22 pm »
 :buddha:
« Last Edit: December 27, 2016, 01:09:49 pm by Solodris »

Offline Solodris

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Re: My insanity condition
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2016, 05:36:28 pm »
 :buddha:
« Last Edit: December 27, 2016, 01:10:00 pm by Solodris »

Offline Solodris

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Re: My insanity condition
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2016, 05:26:50 am »
 :buddha:
« Last Edit: December 27, 2016, 01:10:12 pm by Solodris »

Offline Vajraheart

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Re: My insanity condition
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2016, 10:59:30 pm »
Solodris, compassion to you and your struggles with mental health and drug addiction. I also had my initial years of experiences with buddhism wrapped up and in tangled with these very same issues. One thing I can say from my own experience is the worst part about a chemical high is its impermanent nature with is really just oscillating you further away from the middle way because a mind racing wildly in a frenzied chemical induced bliss is about the furthest from true realization you can get. Ego is your God of obsession. Aka Mara. Ego is tricky and will say oh this is it I am really doing phenomenal and I came so learned in buddhism I am like a special great yogi who has transcended the need for precepts or renunciation. However, as you have mentioned a little when the reality of the chemicals impermanence is brought to light and the high fades the depression anxiety and madness and self loathing returns. If you want to help yourself progress along the path it's really vital that you work as you have mentioned on becoming humble as really any practitioner with a little experience under their belt has let go of drugs and made other renunciation and purification practices to stabilize mind. If at any time you have a thought to your own greatness or achievements on the path that is ego, humility and equanimity is a major part of the path, as well as applying the teachings to one's own life. Really just collecting knowledge from books and repeating it to make some fame for yourself or to be seen as having some enlightenment is only going to produce obstacles to authentic practice. What is most wonderful though is through your studies and reading your begining to see this a little and are indeed becoming more humble as shown by posting this honest and open post. An through your studies your able to recognize the good qualities and profound wisdom offered through a Buddhist practice. Try doing purification practices to help with getting off drugs really this is a waste of your time and mind which has the potential to be truely enlightened without the use of chemicals. I also suggest reaching out to your staff in humility and honesty to get some help for the addiction and help managing the withdrawals if you do decide to quit. In no way am I judging we all start somewhere. I started with a glimpse of enlightened mind in the middle of a rave high on pcp, mescaline, and LSD. Over time I met my precious guru and began the slow journey of letting renunciation of the negative habbits to use drugs. I also was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, bi-polar, anxiety, depression, and ADHD. But by really applying the teaching to my life and really practicing I have been able to not just let go of street drugs but also I do not require any pharmaceutical medication and anyone just meeting me would not expect this was my past or that I have any illness mentally. So basically I brought my mind with dharma guidence from the hell realm to the human realm now I can work with ordinarily crazy monkey mind instead being an extreeme case. You can also do this it is very possible. Love and prayers.

Offline Solodris

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Re: My insanity condition
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2016, 12:59:03 pm »
I have been hospitalized for weeks and am returning home to realize and practice deep humility, I am grateful for your compassion and understanding. I am sincerely grateful that there even is an online Sangha for me to receive perspective on my own behavior and guidance towards what I should practice. After posting in this forum my understanding of genuine Buddhist practice have changed forever. You should all feel proud to have accepted someone with this form of suffering and having the space to accommodate a healing process that I would understand as a test of your patience.

Metta forever.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2016, 03:32:55 am by Solodris »

Offline Solodris

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Re: My insanity condition
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2016, 10:24:18 am »
Aand I relapsed. I was so immersed in dharma knowledge that the knowledge became more important than the practice.

Now that the practice is established, my first determination is to renounce the stimulants I'm on, practice according to my nature, studying the dharma is a waste of time now that I can't take intoxicants by psychiatrists that would alleviate the supposed conditioned of ADHD.

Offline Solodris

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Re: My insanity condition
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2016, 10:38:19 am »
I'm becoming increasingly frustrated by the fact that I'm caught up in patterns that take away the free will to engage in practice among other beings, I am determined to get out of this Samsaric realm but desire to do such is not enough to produce a result. I now understand the underlying treasure and pray for the blessing of a bodhisattva to put me in the perspective of feeling the need to practice.  :dharma:

Offline Vajraheart

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Re: Moving from addiction to connection
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2016, 11:50:16 am »
Hi Solodris,
For all Buddhists there are ups and downs or times of falling back to negative habbits patterns. That is very normal do not dispare. When you make a mistake such as relapsing or maybe getting angry or whatever happens. You can practice with that. You can practice with whatever is going on. It is not the case that you must first do somethings to be ready for practice. We must first practice then everything else becomes much easier because through our practice we develope new habbits and reactions. So if you notice you have a period of falling back away from dharma and wholesome behavior then you should feel very happy. In fact because your noticing where as in the past before you had dharma you would have no basis to compare or see this falling back for what it is. Now with dharma your able to see into your habits and patterns. An with dharma you can apply the remedies develope new neuro connections in the brain even. This has been proven scientifically. So if you can notice your moments of falling back then you can practice with that just as you are. Practice being kind and compassionate to yourself understanding the long habbits probably been created in more than one lifetime so compassion for self is a must. Then you can practice shortening the time it takes when you do fall back to getting up and continuing on the path. Practice lessening the time spent being hard on yourself. Over time this will slowly help you be able to let go of the need to be what the perfect image of your buddhist self is and instead you will be practicing more authentically and honestly exactly how you are needing in each moment. Do not judge self harshly. Boddhisatvas and Buddha's are around and they must have love for you and will guide you through. If you can not meet face to face at this time it is simply because it is not best time. But it doesn't mean they are not around or don't have unconditional love and means to help. You can make prayers to them always. Buddha's are especially always around it is in our ignorance only that we can't see them. So pray with faith they hear and see you.
Love and prayers

As long as space remains as long as sentient beings remain may I to remain to dispelled the miseries of the world.


Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Moving from addiction to connection
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2016, 04:54:28 am »
Quote
Posted by: Solodris
« on: December 29, 2016, 10:24:18 am » Insert Quote
Aand I relapsed. I was so immersed in dharma knowledge that the knowledge became more important than the practice.

Now that the practice is established, my first determination is to renounce the stimulants I'm on, practice according to my nature, studying the dharma is a waste of time now that I can't take intoxicants by psychiatrists that would alleviate the supposed conditioned of ADHD.

There is a reason for each of the  precepts.  Two are significant to the conditions you are reporting:  "Cause no harm." ....and ..." Avoid the use of substances which affect how our minds work."

As for  your specific conditions with various mental infirmities, we all have mental infirmities, ours just different than yours in variety or degrees of affectation.  That is the reason that medicinal psycho-active drugs were developed, to compensate for what our own neurological systems underproduce, or overproduce so that we may achieve mental balance and live our lives to our benefit and to the benefit of our families and society.

Since understanding how our minds work, one of the main pursuits of Buddhist practice requires a mind in "mental equanimity", a well balanced, stable mind, all that we can otherwise hope to determine under the influence of drugs is that our minds are not balanced and that we need to do something to make adjustments.

In your case, it sounds like you already recognize that you need to do something to restore mental balance, but you find the rewards of "using" more rewarding than "not using".  Therefore, you have a choice to make.  "Stop!..or "Don't stop!" 

As Buddha said to Angulimala, the mass murderer (para):  "The only way to stop is to stop."  Wanting to stop is not stopping.  Planning to stop is not stopping.  Wishing you had stopped is not stopping.  "Only stopping is stopping."   'Simple as that, and in the case of addictions, as difficult as that.

Quote
The Angulimala Sutta says:

Cowherds, shepherds and plowmen passing by saw him taking the road to where Angulimala was, and said: "Do not take that road, monk. On that road is the bandit Angulimala who is murderous, bloody-handed, given to harming and violence; he is merciless to all living beings. Villages and towns and districts are being laid waste by him. He is constantly murdering people, and he wears their fingers as a garland. Men have come along this road in groups of ten, twenty, thirty and even forty from time to time, but still they have fallen into Angulimala's hands."

When this was said, the Blessed One went on in silence. For a second and a third time those people warned him. Still the Blessed One went on in silence.

— MN 86

Angulimala, from his look-out, saw first his mother approaching. Though recognizing her, still the thought arose in him to complete the thousand fingers by killing her. So steeped was his mind in the habit of killing without scruples. At that moment the Buddha appeared on the road between Angulimala and his mother. Seeing him, Angulimala thought: "Why should I kill my mother for the sake of one finger when there is someone else? Let her live." So he was still moved by merely seeing his mother, though he was not aware that she had gone that hard road out of love for him. To forsake getting his mother's finger was, of course, made easier for him when he saw another figure, that of a monk, approach. He did not know, however, that it was a similar offense against the most sacred in life to kill an ascetic, a monk. He was only concerned with completing his thousand fingers.

The Sutta says:

Now Angulimala took up his sword and shield and buckled on his bow and quiver and he followed behind the Blessed One.

Then the Blessed One performed such a feat of supernormal power that the bandit Angulimala, going as fast as he could, was unable to catch up with the Blessed One, who was walking at his normal pace. Then he thought: "It is marvelous! Formerly I caught up with even a galloping elephant and seized it; I caught up with even a galloping horse and seized it; I caught up with even a galloping chariot and seized it; I caught up with even a galloping deer and seized it. But yet, though I am going as fast as I can, I am unable to catch up with this monk who is walking at his normal pace." He stopped and called "Stop, monk! Stop, monk!"

"I have stopped, Angulimala. Do you stop, too."

Then the bandit Angulimala thought: "These monks, followers of the Sakya scion, speak truth, assert truth; but though this monk is walking, yet he says 'I have stopped, Angulimala; do you stop, too.' Suppose I question the monk?"

Then he addressed the Blessed One in stanzas thus:

"While you are walking monk, you tell me you have stopped;
But now, when I have stopped, you say I have not stopped.
I ask you now, O monk what is the meaning of it;
How is it you have stopped and I have not?"

(The Blessed One:)
"Angulimala, I have stopped for ever,
Foreswearing violence to every living being;
But you have no restraint towards things that breathe;
So that is why I have stopped and you have not."

When Angulimala heard these words, a second and greater change of heart came over him. He felt as if the current of his suppressed nobler and purer urges had broken through the dam of hardened cruelty that had been built up through habituation in all those last years of his life. Angulimala felt now deeply moved by the appearance and the words of the Buddha.

Angulimala's response and what followed is again tersely told in the Sutta:

(Angulimala:)
"Oh, at long last a sage revered by me,
This monk, has now appeared in the great forest;
Indeed, I will for sure renounce all evil,
Hearing your stanzas showing the Dhamma."

So saying, the bandit took his sword and weapons
And flung them in a gaping chasm's pit;
The bandit worshipped the Sublime One's feet,
And then and there asked for the Going-forth.
The Enlightened One, the Sage of Great Compassion,
The Teacher of the world with all its gods,
Addressed him with these words "Come bhikkhu,"
And that was how he became to be a bhikkhu.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2016, 05:02:58 am by Ron-the-Elder »
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline Solodris

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Re: Moving from addiction to connection
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2017, 03:17:05 am »
Crippling anxiety

After more time spent being hospitalized and following rehabilitation routine, I recognize myself suffering from severe anxiety, avoiding social constellations based on feelings of guilt and shame remembering past behaviors. I realize that using made me reckless and so I kept using to avoid the suffering of facing my past mistakes. The next step to perpetuate sobriety is approaching social conventions, simply being sober while seeking them out. Relearning what it means to cultivate a healthy communicative practice. This is turning out to be a story of success, I suppose.

Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: Moving from addiction to connection
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2017, 04:27:26 am »
I've been studying a lot of therapies which involve some form of mindfulness practice. Jon Kabat-Zinn started it off with his Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction programme, but there are lots of others available. One interesting study in Ireland by R. Meacham at Sláinte Drug
and Alcohol Services, Limerick, claimed to reduce relapse rates using mindfulness by bringing choice back to the individual. In his words 'they accepted the irrevocable responsibility that is theirs, to choose', with mindfulness practice creating a space for the choice. Hope this helps
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline Solodris

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Re: Moving from addiction to connection
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2017, 02:33:06 am »
Thanks, it helped me with quitting smoking. Sincerely!

So, I got home from the hospital yesterday. I've already been awake since then, smoking research chemicals while practicing the manifestation of the Wrath of Gundari. Pray that I will never encounter the circumstances that invoke it.

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: Moving from addiction to connection
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2017, 08:45:59 am »

Ron wrote --
Quote
As Buddha said to Angulimala, the mass murderer (para):  "The only way to stop is to stop."  Wanting to stop is not stopping.  Planning to stop is not stopping.  Wishing you had stopped is not stopping.  "Only stopping is stopping."   'Simple as that, and in the case of addictions, as difficult as that.

Right on! My addictions are relatively benign, things like chocolate, wine and marijuana. But there always comes a time when I know I’m starting to overdo it. If I’m mindful I can see that time of choice when it arrives -- a brief moment when I can either stop or not stop. Sometimes I fail, but I keep at it, two steps forward, until I’m where I want to be.

It’s not easy for me with my minor habits so I can only imagine what it must be like to be addicted to something like meth or heroin. But I was addicted to cigarettes (supposedly the worst) for a decade when I was young. It took me a full year of intense effort to finally stop. The decision to stop had to really go deep before it could take hold. There was one inner battle after another before stopping finally won the war.
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

 


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