QUESTION: Masters, I am a nurse from Finland and somewhat spiritual. I have a question about alcoholism / addictions. I started drinking at a very early age and my drinking became a true problem some years ago. I am only 27 but already spent half of my life suppressing my feelings through drinking / taking drugs. This year I finally got a grip and sought help and with support managed to stay sober for 4 months. Then I relapsed. Now I’ve once again spent 3 months drinking on and off trying to work as a nurse at the same time. It is quite demanding and exhausting and I feel like I’ve lost my self-dignity. What is it that this disease needs to teach me? Why do I hold on to it? A part of me (still after everything that I’ve lost) wants to keep drinking. Why? ~Anne, Finland
ANSWER: Most all life lessons have an underlying difficulty of having to learn to love yourself before you can work your way through the morass created by the individual problem. A loving attitude begins with an acceptance of the chosen life pattern. When you cannot accept your path, you find ways to avoid it or blunt the effect it has upon you through the use of depressants—your alcohol and drugs.
When you are unable to feel the things you do not like, they cease to trouble you. However, you miss whatever else might be occurring at the same time. Then you go through a period of guilt for not having an experience that you think you should have had, or for neglecting a responsibility to which you had committed. It is always easier to run away from unpleasantness than to stand, face it, and work through it.
You are going through a period of feeling sorry for yourself. Your desire to keep drinking is the easiest solution to dealing with your life. You are running away. It is only when you are sober that you rationalize what the running away is doing to you. Then you feel guilty, hate yourself, and have to drink to forget. It is a vicious cycle.
This will not change until you can find love for what you see as your imperfect self. You must see the essence inside, which is perfect and unconditionally loving. In your spiritual experiences you know that you are a piece of Source and therefore are magnificent, perfect, unconditionally loving, and able to create everything you need to get yourself through this lifetime. It is time you started to work with those qualities.
First it is necessary to rid yourself of self-doubt. Whenever a fear or doubt pops up, ask yourself what you are feeling. Then ask why you feel that way. Once you bring up from your past the cause of your distress, you will be able to get rid of it. You will then be able to bring only positive thoughts and feelings into your life. You will no longer have anything you have to hide or run away from. You will no longer need to self-medicate.