This is really great stuff…but how does one get through the mental obsession? Is it best to just ‘watch’ the thoughts and recognize the addictive voice and let it pass? I would love to hear any solutions you have tried or know of…thanks.
Ideally you want to have it lifted from you and rid yourself of it completely. We do this by having some sort of spiritual experience. When I began to engage in the Steps, I was engaging in a spiritual experience, and this can indeed lift the mental obsession from you.
Personally, I threw myself wholeheartedly into the Step process. I tried to be as thorough and fearless as I could be. I knew there was something spiritually wrong with me and I truly wanted to change and be okay. After writing the most thorough and honest inventory I could, I read it aloud to another, meditated for an hour, and then got down on my knees and recited the 7th Step prayer. The moment I finished, something inexplicable happened. I remember laughing and crying simultaneously and saying to myself, “Holy shit, it worked.”
I was touched by something so powerful and loving – God. I felt a this rush, this force of energy or power flow through me and from that point on, the obsession just disappeared. I sort of instantly stopped caring about drugs and alcohol and in fact began to repel anything that kept me from growing spiritually, anything that pushed me away from Him. I believe that if we really want to change and heal and be free, if we really want to be okay and we are willing to work hard for it and do anything it takes, God will lift the obsession from you. So by giving myself to the Step process and by earnestly giving myself and my will over to God, by letting Him direct me, the obsession was removed in return. Do the Steps as they are laid out in the Big Book and do them as thoroughly and fearlessly as humanly possible.
That said, life and the world are tough. We will suffer and be challenged. And when we neglect the ongoing work, or perhaps when we begin to sink emotionally and choose to fight and resist those painful feelings, the obsession can perhaps creep back in. If that kind of thing happens, I used to pray…
“God, please remove the obsession to drink and use drugs.”
“God, please keep me close to you.”
“God, please help me turn my will over to you.”
“God, please teach me how to love you.”
“God, please help me to want to put You and my spiritual growth first.”
“God, please bring me the opportunity to help others.”
That sort of thing. But don’t let your feelings stop you. Painful feelings are simply part of life. Don’t fight them or resist them. Instead embrace them. Sit down next to them and put your arm around them, as they are part of you. Love them as you love God.
In addition to praying (pray hard), one fail safe is working with others. Go and take someone through the Big Book, or go speak somewhere, or find someone to help in some way. Service. When you engage with someone, it takes you out of your selfishness. Since you are actively giving and focusing on someone else and on God, you cannot stew and focus on yourself. Service takes us out of ourselves, and since self-focus is the process by which the obsession occurs, doing anything to take you out of yourself will usually do the trick. We get in trouble when we focus on ourselves too much, so go serve and give to others and you will be free. Don’t isolate.
Thanks for writing and God bless you.