Today I was thinking about mind-altering substances, and why people love them so much. Some of us, me included, take it so far that it interferes with our ability to engage with "life". And I do wish now and then I could have a drink. An icy gin and tonic by the pool, some wine with dinner. But I have indisputably proven to myself that once I have one, I just want more. I just want the feeling to go on, and on, and on....I think people who don't enjoy the feeling as much don't understand why we like it so much. Everyone has their reasons. I've found that I don't really miss it. But it took a lot of meditation and energetic healing, and changing my circumstances as to who's around me, to get to that place where I can consistently access the feelings without the use of alcohol. People who have tried other drugs (pretty much everyone I know but me, though most of them aren't addicts) tell me the feelings are even more amplified with drugs, and the experience is different with each drug. So I get why it's so hard not to long for those experiences. BUT, here's the thing, and it's what helped me get through this last year of sobriety with relative ease (knock on wood). All of those substances are just triggering mental and emotional reactions in our body (with some sometimes unfortunate physical side effects.) They're not actually causing us to have experiences that aren't already potentially within ourselves. They just cut through our defenses and allow us to easily access them. I've found that centering myself through meditation and conscious awareness of what's mine to own and what isn't has allowed me access to things that I could only see before when I was drinking. (Lord, I do NOT want to see what my brain would do with LSD. I see plenty already.) Only now, I can get up from my place of meditation and have control of my physical body. I can leave those places I visit in my mind and tend to children and my job, while taking the memory and feeling with me. I don't need to wait for the chemicals to leave my body. Meditation, honest inventory of my own thoughts and emotions, and radical acceptance of what I experience are all key. The steps in the program are kind of like a "no duh" for me. I do all that stuff anyway, and have for the last many years. It's just a lot easier and I make faster progress when I get to say when it's time to move on to something else, not the drugs. This doesn't mean I think all drugs are unnecessary. SSRIs and other drugs affecting mood and behavior can be invaluable. But I do think we don't need drugs to reach what we see when we're using. We just need to figure out how to get there the old-fashioned way. And you know what? As alcoholics and addicts we're lucky. We've seen what's out there. We can find it again, if we look hard enough. Some people don't even know what they're missing, so they don't go looking for it. That's my hastily written thought for the day. There's so many nuances around this I didn't talk about here. But you get the idea.