This is a rented house.
You do not own the deed.
You have a lease, and you have set up
a little shop, where you barely make a living
sewing patches on torn clothing.
Yet only a few feet underneath
are two veins, pure red and bright gold carnelian.
Quick. Take the pickaxe and pry the foundation.
You have got to quit this seamstress work.
What does the patch-sewing mean, you ask.
Eating and drinking. The heavy cloak
of the body is always getting torn.
You patch it with food
and other restless ego-satisfactions.
Rip up one board from the floor
and look into the basement.
You may see two glints in the dirt.
Rumi and all the wise ones want us to discover our capacity for joy. On the road back from recovery, it’s the biggest surprise.
In recovery, we realize that “stinking thinking,” was required to keep our addiction going. That’s true whether our drug of choice has been nicotine, alcohol, Vicodin, heroin or salt, sugar and fat. When we’re thinking like an addict, we believe false thoughts like these:
• No dinner can be lovely without wine.
• No moment of relaxation can be pleasurable without a cigarette.
• No party can be fun without getting stoned.
• No buffet or holiday can be a pleasure unless I can eat everything I want.
To the last group, Rumi says We are lutes, no more, no less. When the sound box is full of anything, no music. When the belly burns clean…., every moment a new song.
Recovery from any addiction means reclaming our inborn capacity to sing a thousand new songs. At first, it’s hard to see the glints of joy in the dirt of addiction. Most of us need others to light the way.
In my book, The Rumi Secret, I share an account of recovery from alcohol addiction. Here’s an exerpt:
….Once my denial was gone, I set about finding a way to actually stop drinking. Thoughts, however enlightened, are never enough to master the cunning and baffling hold of alcohol. You have to have a plan; you have to have support. Which will it be, I asked myself in fantasy: a cushy detox program on Maui or the Betty Ford Center with movie stars?
What it had to be and was for me at that time and place was good old AA; 90 meetings in 90 days. Put your soles in those rooms and don’t drink; it’s free and it works for surgeons, gardeners, clerks, psychologists and mechanics, for atheists and believers, for you and for me. One meeting a day for 90 days is the minimum; on a hard day, you go to three. On New Year’s Eve, you go to the AA party….
You go to meetings, you follow the format, and you don’t drink. You find a sponsor–someone who actually encourages you to call at any time of the day or night…and you don’t drink.
If you slip–through grace, I didn’t–you start over: 90 meetings in 90 consecutive days. It doesn’t matter how many times you fail. It only matters that you start again.
….I came to love the stories I used to hate (in the days when I “couldn’t stand” AA). Every AA, NA, OA, SLA, Al-Anon, or any other 12-step meeting is full of stories of transformation.
I thank my dead mother for easing my journey in becoming a person who now lives happily without alcohol. By adamantly refusing to have liquor in her house, she gave me 18 years of experiencing life as normal and full without it. For five years now, that has been my life. It is good, and I am very grateful!
Dear visitor: when I began this post today, I asked myself how could I serve? Who might read this and be touched? If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, know that you are never alone. Millions of your fellows struggle now, and the millions in recovery prove that it can be done.
The path of becoming who you really are is similar for all addictions. Whether it’s wine or chocolate or meth, the secret is that the addiction stands between you and your birthright of joy. Giving up the addiction is not a loss; it means becoming able to find more delight in precious moment after precious moment. This means you–Oprah, John, Mary, Robert, Victoria, Holly, and everyone else.
Blessings to the thousands of people who’ve visited this blog. Soon this blog will be re-designed to display your comments better. Please pass on this post to someone who needs it.
You may post a response here or email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can buy or find out more about my book by going to my website: http://www.drvictorialee.com.
May your day be full of awareness of the blessings dropping like blossoms all around us.