Sunday, May 04, 2008

On Spiritual Sobriety in Recovery:
By Peter S. Lopez aka Peta

Sunday, May 04, 2008

~ Introduction ~

Main Entry: com•mu•nion
Pronunciation: \kə-ˈmyü-nyən\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin communion-, communio mutual participation, from communis
Date: 14th century
1: an act or instance of sharing
2 a capitalized : a Christian sacrament in which consecrated bread and wine are consumed as memorials of Christ's death or as symbols for the realization of a spiritual union between Christ and communicant or as the body and blood of Christ b: the act of receiving Communion c capitalized : the part of a Communion service in which the sacrament is received
3: intimate fellowship or rapport : communication
4: a body of Christians having a common faith and discipline [the Anglican communion]

Spiritual sobriety in recovery is the highest form of sobriety wherein one is in conscious communion with the Creator of the cosmos in a balanced state of serenity that is sane and sober. We must develop a well-rounded wholistic treatment program that treats the entire human being as a three-dimensional being of mind, body and soul striving to be in harmony with the Creator. Sometimes life may disturb our serenity, but when we focus on our spiritual sobriety we can recover.

~ Sanity is Security ~

Main Entry: san•i•ty
Pronunciation: \ˈsa-nə-tē\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English sanite, from Anglo-French sanité, from Latin sanitat-, sanitas health, sanity, from sanus healthy, sane
Date: 15th century
: the quality or state of being sane; especially : soundness or health of mind

Sanity is security, mental stability, emotional balance, common sense and governs the mind, as opposed to the insecure insanity of indulgence in drug addiction. To be sane is to be natural, rational and in possession of a sound mind ~ the throne of thought ~ that is capable of helping us think, function and cope in our social environment so we can meet our basic survival needs and manifest our infinite potential to stay alive, prosper and succeed in life. Sanity gives us a balanced equilibrium essential for us to be relatively normal intelligent mature adults.

Think in terms of being ‘sane and sober’. Evolve beyond only being ‘clean and sober’, which came from the positive influences of N.A. and A.A. Our mental processes, behavior patterns and spiritual practices should be sane, stable and sensible so that we are rehabilitated or equipped to cope with life on life’s terms and have the wise courage to even change the terms of life that block or hinder our spiritual growth as humane beings. Working on our wholistic health and addressing the many mental, physical and spiritual health issues that originally got us caught up in the whole life-style of drug addiction will help us heal. We should accept nothing less than the best for our health, happiness and humane dignity.

True functional sanity involves meeting our personal responsibilities because we have the ability to respond to the challenges of life, the response ability to cope with life as it comes. We need to be wise in all our ways, be open minded to learning new ways of living sane and sober, developing and evolving in our spiritual growth all along the way and integrating ourselves into the larger society as world citizens with humane values, morals and principles.

When we meet our responsibilities we receive tangible real rewards that reflect our continued progress: establishing homes as safe sanctuaries for our families; providing ourselves with proper diet, nutrition and daily exercise; maintaining healthy personal relationships; and becoming community activists in our local communities in order to help others, help ourselves and raise our own humane consciousness all at the same time.

Advanced sanity involves a high level of self-esteem that involves self-love, self-respect and self-confidence so we can function in harmony with today’s society with all its social stressors, complexities and contradictions. We should develop and progress from being addicted and abnormal to being healthy and normal. We need to restore our sanity, maintain the brain and live creative, healthy and productive lives liberated from the dangers and demons of drug addiction.

Active drug addiction is a brain disease that exhibits insane behavior whose hallmark is the mental illness of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). There is a constant obsession on ‘the dope’ and at the first opportunity the out-of-control compulsion to do ‘the dope’. The demented hard-core ‘dope fiend’ is terribly sick! He is self-destructive to the extreme as he wavers and wanders between suicidal (self-killing) and homicidal tendencies in a never ending search for the elusive perfect high. The distorted warped state of addiction never lasts long enough to satisfy the crazed craving brain. It gets the addict caught up in the vicious circle of drug addiction, the up-and-down see-saw between the brain’s neurotransmitters of dopamine, the drive of ‘gotta get it’ and the ‘got it’ of a temporary serotonin high over and over again. It is a fruitless vain escape from Earthly existence that always leaves the craving brain wanting more of the same original poison. Always living on the edge between life and death, the drug addict is never satisfied with his catch for long. The stash always melts away and runs out. The ‘dope’ always wears off and off he goes again back out into the wilderness outback on another wild run that can sometimes end up in a tragic dead end.

Even after the drug addict’s behavior is arrested and brought under control one must still eradicate the old ‘dope fiend’ ways that came with drug addiction. Fear, greed, mistrust, suspicion, constant worry, a sense of dread and paranoia are all poisons that we have picked up from the subculture of the drug criminal toxic environment. One can have years of physical sobriety yet still have a demented ‘dope fiend’ mentality, always posing, manipulating, tricking and trying to get over on the next guy. The endless life-and-death game between the predators and the prey still goes on. There can be no lasting recovery without a dramatic change in our behavior, a transformation of our mentality and a rejuvenation of our divine spirit. Our mentality is weaved and intertwined together with our spirituality, especially our natural spiritual quest for lifelong spiritual growth. It is our inner soul seeking outer expression in connected reality. Our poor neglected inner child striving to be an adult and parent: a mature humane being.

Strive to be humble, tolerant, loving and understanding towards others who are still severely sick. Do not forget where you came from and how you were in your dark days and appreciate God’s amazing grace upon you!

Matthew 10:8 ~ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

Day by day we must keep working on our continued progressive recovery, build up our general wholistic health, keep our recovery tools handy and ultimately aim for complete liberty from all forms of oppression, including the cruel oppression of drug addiction.

~ Staying Sober ~

Main Entry: 1 so•ber
Pronunciation: \ˈsō-bər\
Function: adjective
Inflected Form(s): so•ber•er \-bər-ər\; so•ber•est \-b(ə-)rəst\
Etymology: Middle English sobre, from Anglo-French, from Latin sobrius; akin to Latin ebrius drunk
Date: 14th century
1 a: sparing in the use of food and drink : abstemious b: not addicted to intoxicating drink c: not drunk
2: marked by sedate or gravely or earnestly thoughtful character or demeanor
3: unhurried, calm
4: marked by temperance, moderation, or seriousness {a sober candlelight vigil}
5: subdued in tone or color
6: showing no excessive or extreme qualities of fancy, emotion, or prejudice

For a measure of time we can stay straight, stop active addiction and not indulge in our poison, especially if we are broke, needy and running on empty. By getting involved and participating in a detoxification program we can rid our bodies of its accumulated toxic poisons by removing impurities from the blood in the liver and other internal organs in order to achieve a state of physical sobriety.

“A detox program can help the body's natural cleaning process by:
1) Resting the organs through fasting;
2) Stimulating the liver to drive toxins from the body;
3) Promoting elimination through the intestines, kidneys and skin;
4) Improving circulation of the blood; and
5) Refueling the body with healthy nutrients. “
Source: Peter Bennett, N.D., Medical Director of Helios Clinic in Victoria, B.C.,

Some people only want to sober up and get better for a spell until basic functions return. Then, they deliberately plan to continue playing with firewater or one’s poison of choice. They are only hiding from themselves and dying in isolation. We may be able to get clean and sober up for a brief period of time, but without a strong progressive recovery program online many of us have a hard time staying sober for long in terms of months and years of sobriety if not lifetime sobriety.

Proverbs 26:11 (KJV) ~ As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.

The addict/alcoholic who is only staying sober and practicing abstinence should know that sobriety is only the initial starting point for real recovery. Stricken by the demon of denial, he might attempt to monitor, limit and control his drug intake while still denying he is really an addict. He might switch addictions and get strung out on legal pharmaceutical drugs. Trying to fake a half-baked weak recovery program usually results in an all out full-blown relapse back down into active addiction, slipping into darkness. The asinine addict mind never tires of lying, cheating, excusing, rationalizing and justifying his drug addiction. He becomes his own worst enemy in the broken mirror.

Sobriety and recovery go hand-in-hand. One feeds and nourishes the other in a kind of chemical-spiritual warfare, not one of personal willpower alone. We are damaged goods. Physical sobriety alone is never enough. After sobering, up hidden traps, sudden triggers and buried land mines flood the toxic environment and without honest recovery usually results in the return to active hard-core addiction or at best a dry dull bitter sobriety.

What do we do in our sobriety? Do we only shuttle back and forth to and fro to 12-Step Meetings counting our calendar days and collecting brittle chips that easily crumble? What do we do in between meetings? Where do we go in our free time?

Job 1:7 (KJV) ~ And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.

For the hard-core addict he or she cannot stop with temporary sobriety, must get into a strong progressive recovery program or be doomed to eventual extinction, the same as the big and bad dinosaurs that once ruled the Earth. He must make a serious decision to get into recovery as if his life depends on it, because it does, then he should get involved in connected reality and changing reality for the better for him, for his loved ones and for the future of humankind. We are all upon Mother Earth together as one family.

~ Spiritual Sobriety ~

The recovering addict has a far better understanding of human nature, character defects and the shortcomings of being an imperfect human being in an imperfect world than others who are not hip to or know about recovery. The honest addict in recovery is awake, aware and yearning for a new life.

We should daily practice a balanced spiritual sobriety that meets our mental, physical and spiritual needs in a wholistic way. The novel word ‘wholistic’ is a combination of the words ‘whole’ and ‘holy’. As humane beings, we should seek wholistic healing so that we can have inner harmony in our beingness in all our ways.

We are wounded human beings who need to be actively and consciously engaged in healing our souls, not human doings always being busy in the outside external world without any consciousness about the inside spiritual work that needs to be done healing our souls.

We need to work on our wholistic healing and do the spiritual work that needs to be done, such as, daily meditation and yoga, reading spiritual and recovery literature, eating well with a mind for nutrition, working out for our physical fitness, studying the martial arts, sharpening our acquired skills, developing our natural talents and in general developing our humane character as humane beings.

Remember the past to better see the present in a clear light and plan for the future. We must remember and understand our family-of-origin, our early childhood development, our adolescent years and how we got to be as we are today. Many of us suffer a form of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) in varying degrees from past traumas and past experiences that have left us with pains and fears that we discuss with no one, not even ourselves in our private moments alone with our soul when we could be carrying on an internal spiritual dialogue. We should let go and dump the useless baggage and weight of past pains and fears that we carry with us from one kind of relationship to another in our lives, whether we are at work, in school, on the street or at home.

“I think that many oldsters who have put our AA "booze cure" to severe but successful tests still find they often lack emotional sobriety. Perhaps they will be the spearhead for the next major development in AA -- the development of much more real maturity and balance (which is to say, humility) in our relations with ourselves, with our fellows, and with God.”
Source: The Next Frontier: Emotional Sobriety" by Bill Wilson

We need to command our thoughts, control our emotions and monitor our actions in ways that are wholistic, healthy and healing for us. We should be consciously aware of all our ways, deeply examine and intimately know ourselves, then channel our energies into positive healthy ways of living sober that help us become more alive, natural and energized in our social environment so we can truly change the things we can as mature functional adults

“Emotional Sobriety is about finding and maintaining our emotional equilibrium, our feeling rheostat, the one that helps us to adjust the intensity of our emotional responses to life. Emotional sobriety is tied up in our ability to self regulate on both a mind and body level, to bring ourselves into balance when we fall out of it. Issues with excessive self medication say with food, alcohol or drugs or compulsive approaches to activities like sex, work or spending tend to reflect a lack of ability to comfortable self regulate.”
Source: Emotional Balance: From Relationship Trauma to Resilience and Balance:
By Dr. Tian Dayton, Ph.D

For balance, we require spiritual sobriety and need to integrate it with other forms of sobriety: mental, physical and emotional society. We cannot mindlessly divorce and disassociate, separate and split up our emotions from our thoughts and feelings as if they were unrelated separate regions and detached aspects of our whole selves. Remember that we are triune beings in a mind-body-soul trinity and should work on other dimensions of ourselves, especially spiritual sobriety

1 Peter 1:13 ~ Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

~ Pathways to the Truth ~

For the recovering addict, sobering up, getting into recovery, living a healthy life-style and seeking a cure for drug addiction are ultimately personal individual decisions one must make of his own free will between himself and his Maker in harmony with the universe.

In all our many different pathways to the truth, we cannot force the inner serenity of true happiness, progressive recovery or wholistic health on anyone. At best we can show correct examples for others through our own lives. We should be willing to lovingly help those who sincerely want help without attracting the crippling effects of co-dependency. Let others come to their own inner revelations and figure out their own sacred truth for themselves. Know your own truth, do your own personal inventory and pray that others do their own. Ours is not the one and only way, ours is but another way.

For the recovering addict, the three stage process of healing ourselves involves:
1. Staying sober one day at a time,
2. Getting involved in a 12-Steps based recovery group, and
3. Working towards complete liberty from all forms of oppressive addiction.

“During most of the twentieth century the prevailing psychiatric thinking about alcohol abuse was that underlying emotional conflicts were the problem. The favored treatment approach until recent decades was to try to uncover and resolve those conflicts through psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. Meanwhile, much of the public saw alcoholism as a sign of a character flaw or moral corruption. Today, 12-step fellowship in AA is widely regarded as the gold standard for treating alcohol addiction, and at least some people are aware that it is a disease.”
Source: A Biography of Mrs. Marty Mann: The First Lady of Alcoholics Anonymous
By Sally Brown and David R. Brown. Center City, Minn.,

Full recovery from any negative addiction, such as chemical dependency, is a long-term protracted process of wholistically healing ourselves: our minds, our bodies and our souls. It takes time, energy and hard work for us to stay awake, recover and get well. We cannot get all well and wonderful overnight, but we can work on it one day at a time with self-love, love for humankind and love for the Divine Creator. The central concept of spiritual sobriety will help us fully recover so that we are not only sober in the fullest sense of the word but so that we are in a balanced state of being in conscious communion with the Creator.

“Our 12 Steps, when simmered down to the last, resolve themselves into the words love and service. We understand what love is and we understand what service is. So let's bear those two things in mind… Let us also remember to guard that erring member - the tongue, and if we must use it, let's use it with kindness and consideration and tolerance.”
Source: Dr. Bob's Last Message: Delivered at the first international conference of Alcoholics Anonymous at Cleveland, Ohio in 1950

These are great exciting times to be alive, to be into progressive recovery and enjoying spiritual liberty. New scientific discoveries and spiritual rediscoveries are being made in relation to drug addiction treatment, wholistic spiritual health and helping to heal the world all the time. We should all count our blessings with gratitude, not our curses. We can fully recovery, we can get well and we will win!



● Progressive Recovery Today!

● CASA 12-Steps Program Blog

● CASA 12-Steps Program Yahoo Group

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