Bringing Dignity to the Path of Addiction
Every spiritual teaching out there teaches us to be single-minded, to release material goods, to surrender and a certain experience of abandon. If you have found your way here, it is because you are open to the idea that addiction is a spiritual path. But because of the nature of addition, it’s been diminished and seen as incomplete. What we want to do is bring dignity to the path of addiction.
There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.
— Leonard Cohen
To date, we have only been offered the next stage of addiction, our recovery. However, it is just the next stage. It’s all one journey and it’s the journey of the soul.
There are programs of recovery, this is a program of discovery. It is 180-degrees different from the traditional addiction recovery models.
Here, addiction is a path of cultivating the power within that is most often rejected and then re-purposing it into developing consciousness. In other words, growth does not happen in spite of our addictions, but as an outgrowth of the afflictions, obsession, jealousy and fixation. When approached this way, the process of realization becomes one of evolution rather than amputation. The impulse of addiction, decoupled from substance, can be used for creation and restores a fundamental human desire to contribute to society.
This program is a journey through the 12 alchemy steps and is meant to be completed with a guide or sponsor. It’s accessible for all genders.
One of the ideas we work with is, “I’ve come for this.” That’s the practice. That is the path that we walk in the Art of Addiction. Whatever it is, wherever we are, we’ve come for this. This is what I’m here for, what you’re here for and the notion that we’ve come for anything else is the source of suffering. Seen through the lens of the soul, we understand and discover.
Our programs will be available in the Fall of 2021. They include:
- Courses: Delving into such topics as addiction as a spiritual path, stages of addiction and the 12 alchemy steps.
- Talks: Sign up for short talks from experts in the Art of Addiction, who will share their experience and the gifts they have discovered through their path
- Fellowship: A committed community of practitioners provides an approving hand and a clear eye in finding your footing as you move through your own personal path of discovery.
- The Recovery Monastery: You can immerse in this path in a nourishing setting, with farm-to-table meals, daily practices, meetings and the care and guidance of fellows.
- Practices: In addition to the 12 Alchemy Steps and a sponsor, the Art of Addiction Program recommends daily spiritual practices to offer a means to digest, integrate and clarify life’s daily experiences into new learnings.
We launch in Fall/Winter 2021. Check back soon for updates.
There are three stages to the process of rehumanizing. We are both always inside the process and tending to others around us.
Stage 1: Obsession Cycle
The obsession cycle or addiction is almost like an anesthesia that keeps the rational mind “asleep” while the soul travels down to the depths to get its calling and its power.
A person cannot be pried open here; like a bud pried open dies. We cannot force growth; It’s a sin in eros. We can only tend to people, and have compassion for others who are where we have been.
When someone is cultivating obsession, it’s a hard thing to watch. We see the potential. We want to rush them. We even want to force them through to the other side. We can always point the way, plant the seed. So that when they are ready, they know the way out. But inside of this process, they are like a cake. They aren’t done until they are fully baked. We have to know intuitively when they are fully cooked. Not be resentful that it took time, but continue to be here.
The biggest pitfall in this stage is to try and rush through the cycle to its completion.
If we complete this stage but don’t unplug and begin to take initiative, we grip to power and fall into victim and powerlessness.
Stage 2: Disintegration Cycle
Stage two is unplugging from what we are bonded to. During this time, we dry out. This is a challenging bardo-like stage between life and death. We either go forward into the new place or back to complete what was incomplete in the obsession cycle. In this bardo, it’s a tug of war. The pull toward the new needs to be just one percent greater than the pull back to the old. In that one percent, we see creativity employed. We see a power and a determination to move forward along this new line.
Tending to someone through this stage, we unplug and begin to look at the natural arising of initiative. We notice they can stand on their own two feet. We look to see if the person becomes more ordered, not less. Obsession orders our mind in a single direction. We only focus on what we are obsessed with or addicted to. It is a coarse version, and it is the training of hyper-focus. Obsession creates the pathways we need.
When stage one is truly complete, we feel discomfort, but the relief we feel outdoes the discomfort. If it doesn’t, it is self-will that disrupts the obsession cycle and we will return to stage one. Our aim is to dissolve the self and also not use the self to restrict the self. This only increases self-ing and mutates the form of it. We can also call this the disintegration cycle. The question we ask in this stage: Is there more relief or more agitation, more letting go or more restricted control? If there is a “thank god,” we have entered stage two?
At some point, benevolent aid enters. We get our internal marching orders and we start to move according to a deeper vision. Confusion is replaced with conviction. There is access to the soul’s injunction. The feeling of being lost is gone, because the question of “What am I here to do?” has been answered.
We are called deeper. Our identity, without much form, is beginning to form around this deeper vision and understanding. There is a coherence as if there is a magnet drawing in and repelling things. We are not so much externally referenced or dutiful. The duty has been transformed to devotion to the soul. We answer to this first and accept guidance that will aid in this.
This is a tricky process. If it’s not the right time or it is not done well, we will be a live wire. We will waste all the energy and return to obsession more passionately in order to find the calm of an ordered mind. The obsession or addiction becomes more virulent.
If we think obsession is bad and we quit, we have not actually completed stage one. We can’t will ourselves through. It must be a true completion of this cycle, when there is no more juice left.
If we’re tending to someone in this stage, it can be frustrating if we feel — either for us or for them — that there is somewhere else we need to be or we have more important things to do. The most important thing is the evolution of this person. Your timing is perfect. It requires great patience and attention, like cooking.
The main temptation in this stage is to dissipate the energy.
Stage 3: Re-Plugging In
The final stage is re-plugging in. This is where we bond with the same level of intensity and obsession we had in stage one. Now the obsession has shifted from reaching outside of oneself to down and inside oneself. This is a type of possession, being inhabited by the animating dynamic force that animates all of life. We are possessed by our calling.
If stage two is getting our top spinning, stage three is continuing to tap it. Our center of gravity has been established by this point. We become a person unto ourselves, a “light house.” We have our own station in the order of things. We are uniquely called. We are specialists in something and everything galvanizes around that. We are connectable in the larger scheme of things, permeable so that what we are doing can flow out and what is needed can flow in. We are now synapses in the nervous system of the planet.
The rest of our lives is two-fold. The first is doing this procedure over and over at more subtle levels to re-concentrate the magnet. This keeps us humble too, because we are always in it. We repeat this process ultimately opening each of the 10 spots. The second is sending this out into the world and securing the connection.
In this stage, we have our marching orders and now we must perfect them. We interact with joy and listening and tending to that which is around us. It is paradoxical in that if we keep moving forward with joy, we will not fall back. But we also can’t engage from a fear of falling back because then we are in the “grip” instead of being possessed, and we have already fallen back. Possession is almost pure sentience. Gripping is the opposite of that. One is a deep breath, the other is holding the breath.
Tending to someone in this stage, our work is to help them ungrip and release. We can notice a grip because it’s usually accompanied by complaint. In some, it can be more subtle, a greater formality, perfectionism and restriction. Or like a subtle agitation where we’re happy but something is bothering us.
The Art of Addiction presents the traditional 12-step program in a bold new light, one that focuses on the lessons, messages and gifts of addiction when we learn not to judge the experience, but embrace it for what it offers us. Using personal stories, experiences and insights, mixed with powerful sutras and exercises that take the reader into the soul’s depths to excavate the genius within, this book allows light to enter the dark places where other addiction programs fear to tread, understanding that both addiction and recovery are necessary phases of equal importance and impact for the fullest expression of wholeness.
For so long, addiction has been labeled as bad, wrong, and something to feel guilt and shame over. This book delves into the positive aspects of why we became addicted and how this realization leads to a deeper level of self-discovery and a thorough and organic transition from using to sobriety. The Art of Addiction guides the reader on the journey to reharness and redirect the forces behind addiction into more creative and artistic forms of expression in the stage of recovery. The book also includes a 12-step meeting and sponsor guide in the appendix.