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Switch to Forum Live View Self forgiveness and guilt over addiction.
7 years ago  ::  Mar 21, 2008 - 2:36AM #1
Inthisholyinstant
Posts: 35
Namaste,

"Forgiveness is the only sane response."

This is one of the first and most cherrished of the passages I have learned from A Course in Miracles.  Yet forgiveness has been one of the most challenging undertakings I have ever taken on as a student of life.

I'm a recovering drug addict that is prone to relapsing.  I have been having a very difficult time lately experiencing repeated lapses into active addiction and it has as an inevitable result led to much guilt and condemnation.

I have been also getting more willing to hear and accept the judgment of the Holy Spirit in relation to my using of drugs along with the pain of regret that has been coming with my error.  The one catch 22 for me has been however that now that I am being less judgmental of myself over my using I have gotten the ego inspired idea that my using should now stop by virture of the fact that it has been forgiven/accepted.  Because it didn't stop relative to the degree I felt more accepting of my recurring usage I have found myself feeling guilt that my self forgiveness has been fruitless.

I read the various Q & A's on FCAIM regarding addiction and it was noted that the behavior may not necessarily change as the result of seeing things from the perspective of the Holy Spirit.

What then would be a good approach to accepting my continued drug use without feeling guilty over being so accepting of it?  The acceptance of it came first.  I was at peace over it for awhile, but when it became apparent that there was going to be no cessation of the behavior anytime soon I began to feel guilty for having forgiven myself for using.

Now is this just the ego being real tricky by actually having me NOT forgive my addiction and it simply concealed its judgment beneath the venear of expectations on change that it had for the forgiveness "sacrifice" it gave?

Ugh.  Already I think I am seeing how I had not really forgiven myself at all for my using.  I forgave as the world forgives, making the error real and overlooking it though I did not really deserve such a "gift" of pardon.

Hmmm.  Well I guess it's back to truly seeking out His guidance and learning to become ever more willing to let go of any self run plan to atone for my past "sins".  Back to the forgiveness drawing board as it were, lol.

This is good though, for it only means that I have yet another reason to turn to they Holy Spirit for direct and meaningful guidance and interpretation over the grand and masterfully crafted ideas that I have been coming up with from the standpoint of ego.

If anyone has any input on this I would greatly appreciate it.

"The distractions of the ego may seem to interfere with your learning, but the ego has no power to distract you unless you give it the power to do so."    ~T.8.I.2.1


Peace Be With You

Ru'el
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7 years ago  ::  Mar 21, 2008 - 1:38PM #2
Bob_Bennett
Posts: 916
Hi,

The emphasis in the Course is on forgiving others, termed our brothers.  Benefits flow back to us as a result of doing this.    Forgiveness of self has the problem of generally being an ego exercise.

Eventually we learn to forgive all that is in front of us, i.e., our perceptions of the world, etc.  The more we engage in true forgiveness, the more we get rid of our unconscious guilt.

The Course is not about behavior, but rather about our thought system.   Drug abuse is not sinful, rather it is self destructive, and that recognition provides its own motive for giving it up.   Try quieting your mind and asking the holy spirit for guidance in what to do about this self destructive behavior.

Best wishes.
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7 years ago  ::  Mar 21, 2008 - 3:56PM #3
jjesseph
Posts: 178
Hi Ru'el,

As Bob suggests, and as you are recognizing, it's very easy for the ego to sneak into the forgiveness process and sabotage it. After all, the process of forgiveness is a process of undoing our identification with the ego. That requires the kind of honest introspection you've been doing, but of course our ego resists that and seeks to escape it -- seeks to escape being exposed by the light of honest inward looking with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. And the ego can manage to sound like the Holy Spirit.

Further, what keeps the ego going is guilt. (See that section in Text Chapter 19 entitled "The Attraction of Guilt" - T-19.IV.A.i) So the ego has us keep doing the kinds of things that reinforce guilt. That involves keeping us caught up in the self-defeating distractions of special relationships, which includes not only relationships with people, but relationships with substances like alcohol and marijuana.

In a recent post you cited passages from the Course suggesting that the miracle, or the Atonement, or forgiveness must be offered in a way that does not increase fear -- in other words in a gentle way that one can accept. One of the things that this means is that it's OK to use what the Course calls "magic," which is an approach to healing that accepts the fact we are identified with our bodies. Eating and breathing are forms of magic, just as is going to a doctor or taking medicine.

So, it may well be an important step along your own Atonement path to consult with a professional and to consider participating in some kind of appropriate 12-step program regarding your drug addiction. In fact, there are many overlaps between the 12-step approach and the Course, even though they are not identical.

- Joe
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7 years ago  ::  Mar 21, 2008 - 6:40PM #4
Inthisholyinstant
Posts: 35
Namaste,

Thank you Bob and thank you Joe. 

I have been involved with a 12 step program for some months now.  The curious thing has been that the more I have involved myself with the program the more voracious my cravings and subsequent using has become. 

Now this has me confused because usually working these programs leads to what members call the relief from the obsession and up until recently this has not occured.

I have tried 12 step programs off and on for over 12 years all with the same minimal or in fact reverse affect in relation to my addiction.

Just recently however since I have been developing a better ability to hear and accept more and more of the guidance of the Holy Spirit over small things I have noticed that I have lost the majority of my obsession to use.  I do believe that this is do in some part to my dramatically increased willingness to see things differently.

As for forgiving others as you mentioned Bod I have also been working on allowing the Holy Spirit to show me Himself in others on purpose.  It wasn't easy at first but after persistent effort on my part to see my brothers and sisters through His Spirit rather than just with my eyes I have noticed a slight shift in not only how I see others but also in how I am more aware of being somewhere other than in the midst of a holy instant as I currently understand them.  These holy instants are now increasing in frequency and I don't have as much fear surrounding my using as I did in the weeks leading up to this one.

I get the sense that the attention I am affording my relationship with the Holy Spirit is helping me gradually dissociate from my addiction.  I hope that thats not a negative way to view what is happening but that is the best way that I can describe what I feel is occuring right now.

Thank you for your input in this matter.  Ultimately if through all of this trial with my addiciton to drugs I am learning to be more forgiving of others and am being able to spend more moments in holy oneness then I feel I am learning something of the lessons that God would have me learn.

Peace Be With Us All

Ru'el
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7 years ago  ::  Mar 24, 2008 - 12:27AM #5
rmatth
Posts: 1,951
Ru'el...for the time being we're living/dreaming in this skin. We want to be well. Please seek professional help that can give you meds to help stop the craving. There's Suboxone for heroin and other opium like drugs, Naltrexone and Vivtrol for alcohol addiction.

I've been sober for 18 months now. With ACIM and professional health I have been cured of cravings.

Take care and email me if you'd like. Roseann
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7 years ago  ::  Mar 25, 2008 - 6:07PM #6
whimsicalwhisper
Posts: 50
Addictions are tough and Roseann is right .... remember to take care of yourself; have compassion for yourself, and give to yourself what you need by doing what you can to help yourself physically as you work through the healing from your addiction process.   

There is no need to suffer more than is necessary, especially when there are things to help; and it really is okay ‘to ask’ for that help …

  … for example, there are passages suggesting that the Holy Spirit or Jesus do specific things for us in the world, responding to our specific needs and answering our special requests:  The Holy Spirit will answer every specific problem as long as you believe that problems are specific. His answer is both many and one, as long as you believe that the one is many (T-11.VIII.5:5-6). – excerpted from:  Jesus As a Fifth Column by Kenneth Wapnick, Ph.D.




Healing happens in it's own course and time specific to each of us, and as for what you’re describing you sound "normal"   ...

Just recently however since I have been developing a better ability to hear and accept more and more of the guidance of the Holy Spirit over small things I have noticed that I have lost the majority of my obsession to use. I do believe that this is do in some part to my dramatically increased willingness to see things differently.

<>

I get the sense that the attention I am affording my relationship with the Holy Spirit is helping me gradually dissociate from my addiction. I hope that thats not a negative way to view what is happening but that is the best way that I can describe what I feel is occuring right now.   ~ Ru'el



Healing from addictions doesn't happen over night.  It didn't happen that way for me with my cigarette addiction and it hasn't happened for my friend who has been sober now for 15 years (another ACIM'er I might add).  I ended up stopping and starting four times before I had finally faced and let go of all that I needed to for my personal release/healing to take place (that was over 5 years ago now).  It didn't happen overnight for my friend either.   None the less ... in the end you find "it's the process"  that actually counts more then the final results.

In fact, I’ve recently read this: and I think you might find it encouraging as well …


In summary, then, the decision for God is a decision to look on our special relationships, to forgive rather than condemn, and to see that nothing has been done to us because we, in fact, have done this to ourselves. "The secret of salvation is but this: That you are doing this unto yourself" (T-27.VlII.1O:1). We realize that we are not the victims of the world we see (W-p1.31), but rather of ourselves, and that we now can look at this differently.  The first step forgives others; the second forgives ourselves. Thus, our investment in anger and guilt is undone and replaced by the Love of God, the final step in our healing. As it is summarized in the Course:

You are not trapped in the world you see, because its cause can be changed. This change requires, first, that the cause be identified and then [second) let go, so that [third] it can be replaced. The first two steps in this process require your cooperation. The final one does not (W-p1.23.5:1-4).

Excerpted from: The Process of Forgiveness: Three Steps By Kenneth Wapnick, Ph.D; as excerpted from Forgiveness and Jesus: The Meeting Place of A Course in Miracles and Christianity, pp. 59-66



You sound right on track to me …fully "in the process.”    Keep up the good work, and may all the best continue to flow to you as you continue on your way.

Kind regards,
ww

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7 years ago  ::  Apr 13, 2008 - 8:04PM #7
Musicbob
Posts: 1
Hey Kiddo, the only true forgiveness of "sins" is not repeating the sin.  The only solution I have found is gaining a power greater than yourself to guide you through dropping the drug-taking behavior.  Unless you are one of the very, very few exceptions  you are not going to stop the drugs on your own will power.  I had a drinking and drug problem when I joined a Buddhist sect.  After I studied enough about my Buddhist practice, I merely abused the practice to rationalize my continued addictive behavior.  "I drink therefore I am an alchoholic".  I believed that one day, the craving (actually OBSESSION )was going to be chanted away.  Well, I got to the point where I was always so debilitated from alchohol and drugs, I couldn't keep up my Buddhist practice, let alone maintenance of my live altar, the fellowship with my Buddhist friends and eventually decided I needed to move on to my next incarnation.
The only way to achieve that was through suicide, which though it was a very serious attempt, I awoke 18 hours later quite alive.  Within two more months, I signed myself into a detox and wound up voluntarily in AA.  That was over nine years ago and found a whole new and wonderful life without substance abuse.  Frankly, your ego has a death grip on you.  How's it working for you?  Do you think you live a genuine spiritual life without harm to other people or family at some level?   It is a common characteristic of addicts to complicate, rationalize, minimize, constantly dining at the altar of dishonesty with yourself and others.  I don't know what your spiritual leanings are, but a true spiriitual  connection is blocked by your substance abuse.    Do you blame others outside of yourself or the everyday life challenges for your addiction?  That is your sin.  You need help.  Sorry if you don't like my straightforward viewpoint.  Quit lying to yourself and others and call a 12-Step hotline.  If you keep doing what your doing, you'll keep getting what your're getting.  MusicBob
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7 years ago  ::  Apr 13, 2008 - 8:04PM #8
Musicbob
Posts: 1
Hey Kiddo, the only true forgiveness of "sins" is not repeating the sin.  The only solution I have found is gaining a power greater than yourself to guide you through dropping the drug-taking behavior.  Unless you are one of the very, very few exceptions  you are not going to stop the drugs on your own will power.  I had a drinking and drug problem when I joined a Buddhist sect.  After I studied enough about my Buddhist practice, I merely abused the practice to rationalize my continued addictive behavior.  "I drink therefore I am an alchoholic".  I believed that one day, the craving (actually OBSESSION )was going to be chanted away.  Well, I got to the point where I was always so debilitated from alchohol and drugs, I couldn't keep up my Buddhist practice, let alone maintenance of my live altar, the fellowship with my Buddhist friends and eventually decided I needed to move on to my next incarnation.
The only way to achieve that was through suicide, which though it was a very serious attempt, I awoke 18 hours later quite alive.  Within two more months, I signed myself into a detox and wound up voluntarily in AA.  That was over nine years ago and found a whole new and wonderful life without substance abuse.  Frankly, your ego has a death grip on you.  How's it working for you?  Do you think you live a genuine spiritual life without harm to other people or family at some level?   It is a common characteristic of addicts to complicate, rationalize, minimize, constantly dining at the altar of dishonesty with yourself and others.  I don't know what your spiritual leanings are, but a true spiriitual  connection is blocked by your substance abuse.    Do you blame others outside of yourself or the everyday life challenges for your addiction?  That is your sin.  You need help.  Sorry if you don't like my straightforward viewpoint.  Quit lying to yourself and others and call a 12-Step hotline.  If you keep doing what your doing, you'll keep getting what your're getting.  MusicBob
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7 years ago  ::  Apr 13, 2008 - 8:58PM #9
whimsicalwhisper
Posts: 50
I appreciate your straightforward viewpoint Musicbob.   I hope others will as well. 

If you're like me,  you learned a lot going through all those years of self-deception.  Things that most likely you couldn't (wouldn't) have learned any other way.  Not the least of which are having a  great exposure to the multitude of ways we can have/could deceive ourselves.   All important things to know, necessary things to know ... for staying clean & sober, centered, balanced, now. 

I bet the people around you, family/friends/spiritual community learned a lot as well. 

Nothing is ever lost, nothing is ever wasted ... people or events.   

"All things work together for good." (T-4.V.1.1)

I know you meant your words, this posting,  to help Ru'el, and I'm sure they will.  Your caring comes through. I want to let you know that your posting has helped me today as well.   Thank you.   

In gratitude,
Deb

...

PS: I think I'll sharing a few of my fav. ACIM quotes ... 

"Love transfers to love without any interference for the two are one.   As you perceive more and more common elements in all situations, the transfer of training under the Holy Spirit's guidance increases and becomes generalized. Gradually you learn to apply it to everyone and everything, for its applicability is Universal" (ACIM, T-12.VI.6 4-7)

“Do the Holy Spirit’s work, for you share in His function.  As your function in Heaven is creation, so your function on earth is healing.    God shares His function with you in Heaven, and the Holy Spirit shares His with you on earth.  As long as you believe you have other functions, so long will you need correction.  For this belief is the destruction of peace, a goal in direct opposition to the Holy Spirit’s purpose.”  (ACIM, T-12. VII, 4 6-10)

"This is the only thing that you need do for vision, happiness, release from pain and the complete escape from sin, all to be given you.  Say only this, but mean it with no reservations, for here the power of salvation lies:

     I am responsible for what I see.
     I choose the feelings I experience, and I decide upon the goal I would achieve.
    And everything that seems to happen to me I ask for, and receive as I have asked." (T-21.II.2.1-5)

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7 years ago  ::  Apr 15, 2008 - 3:50PM #10
Inthisholyinstant
Posts: 35
Namaste,

I greatly appreciate all of the words that have been shared.

I invested much time and effort into 12 step programs and ultimately it only seemed to make the problem worse by making the error real.  The more meetings I went to and the more I did as was suggested the worst my addiction became.  Finally I stopped relying on the program itself and turned more honestly and deeply to the direct guidance of the Holy Spirit.

I have indeed been relieved of the obsession to use and now view my addiction issues quite differently.  I have learned alot, not only about how I was hurting myself but how I was hurting those near me as well.

A Course in Miracles has been the best "program" of recovery I could ever have come across as it deals with the source of all my problems, that one problem of my belief in the separation, and the Holy Spirit has shown me in ways I as yet can not fully describe that my use of drugs and alcohol have simply been ways that I have used to keep myself from accepting the atonement for myself.

Under His guidance and care I now approach my addictive behaviors differently and now look back on them as simply opportunities that I was presenting myself with to practice forgiveness and learn to have faith in the true guidance of my Father's holy Answer to the one problem that lies at the root of all my human dysfunction.


Peace Is With Us

Ru'el


P.S.  I thought I would clarify that it was only in turning over my addiction to meth fully into the hands of His Spirit did I then experience freedom from the desire to use it.  My mind viewed NA as something outside myself trying to fix a problem that exists only within my own mind.   When I sought help from the Answer within only then was the problem properly addressed where the problem exists.

Drug abuse was simply my way of keeping God at arms length by exagerating body identification and thus my reliance on the ego for its false plan for my salvation.  I no longer attend 12 step meetings and I have been coming along quite well with my recovery from drugs and growing in my relationship with the Holy Spirit more deeply than ever before.  I now turn more often to Him for understanding and clarification regarding more problems, not just for the issue of my "identity" as an addict.  My true identity is the one which is provided by God and is not up to me to define or constrain to any definition not provided by the Holy Spirit Himself.

Drug addiction has become a wonderful lesson in how I have been keeping myself from the salvation of God and ultimately under His guidance provided me with wonderful opportunities to practice receiving His perspective and guidance on how to face the challenges of my daily life.

Again I am grateful to all who have taken time to provide guidance and support for me in this most challenging situation that I have been facing.  Your love and support is most gratefully appreciated.  Thank you all.
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