Recovery Spirituality – Ordinary Recovery, William Alexander
An incredibly important part of realizing a spiritual awakening is the journey towards that point while dealing with what is often referred to as “stinking thinking”. This refers to those thoughts and impulses that pop into our heads without forewarning, or any trigger that compels us to return to our old bad behaviors. Scientists say that average folk have approximately 40,000 thoughts pop into their heads daily. When I was using and in early recovery, I think the same three or four thoughts popped into my head 40,000 times a day: “Drink”; “Do a Line”; “Act Out Sexually”; or in early recovery, “Eat at the Problem”. Being bombarded 40,000 times a day with these unhealthy and unhelpful thoughts was a huge problem.
These thoughts or impulses had control for a very long time. By the time I realized the thought or impulse popped into my head, I was already off to the races to make it happen. There are numerous ways I have successfully dealt with this in recovery. Gratitude, mindfulness and breath are among the tools I used; Buddhists have known for thousands of years, the importance of breath, as a tool to end suffering.
In his book, Ordinary Recovery, William Alexander, an addict in long-term recovery who was ordained a Buddhist Monk, relates how truly simple the solution is to the complicated problem of addiction. I highly recommend you read Ordinary Recovery and attend the once yearly “Buddhists in Recovery” retreat co-facilitated by Bill at KTD Monastery in Woodstock, New York. If you attend, I can almost guarantee that I will have the pleasure to meet you in person, as I am a regular and huge fan of Bill, his book and KTD.
Bill has a number of mindfulness tools in his book, all of which involve “taming the dragon”. No matter what tool you chose to use, Bill’s advice on how to handle stinking thinking is as follows:
It truly is that simple. By focusing on our stopping the stinking thinking and focusing on our breath, we retake control of our mind. We must learn how to “look deeply” and Bill’s book and other mindfulness teachings can help you with that. Gratitude then overcomes the thought or impulse and you share about it. Only your secrets can keep you sick.
The key to to force the mind back into the positive and to gratitude. An alcoholic or addict that stays in gratitude will not use.
I highly recommend you check out Ordinary Recovery by William Alexander for more helpful tools to avoid stinking thinking.
We look forward to your feedback on this and other blog posts or questions. If you have used exercise and/or nutrition as a tool in your recovery or know someone who has, shoot us an email or video at: firstname.lastname@example.org.