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This Too Shall Pass... Really? When? Can it Fucking Pass Now!

One of the most unbearable undertakings in sobriety is sitting with uncomfortable feelings, being a sober witness to pain, sorrow, and grievance. I realized how little I understood the well-known nature of “this too shall pass.” Before sobriety, “this too shall pass” meant smoking copious amount of weed and drinking gallons of wine until I erupted other chaos that would make me forget about the original “this.” I would chase off the pain by inflicting different forms of suffering that were more painful than the one before it. Trading in one challenging feeling, for another, preferably a greater one, was my personal cycle of addiction.


When I initially stopped relentlessly chasing away my discomfort with a trip to the wine shop, I felt grounded in the simplicity of staying sober one moment at a time. Eventually, moments became hours and hours become half-days and half-days turned into days of sobriety. No matter how awful I felt, my only mission was not to drink or smoke weed. Refocusing my energy towards this one straightforward goal, which took an enormous about of effort, made dealing with emotional discomfort tolerable. However, as my physical and mental craving began to ease, I have found more space to dedicate myself to working through the uneasiness and emotional discomfort.


After I quit smoking cigs, seven months into continuous sobriety, my emotional irritation was so vast that all I could do was sink into my couch and pray for serenity to arrive soon. My prayers are often based on wishing away my self-sabotage drama. I find it interesting how the A.A. 12 Steps Recovery Program will teach us how to succeed back into our bodies. Still, in moments of utter discomfort, the solution seems to lie in reaching outside yourself and finding ways to contribute to our community and loved ones. Only then can we find relief from our miserable obsession with the self.


I am no Buddha, and I am still very much wrapped up in the highs of self-obsession. We live in the era of Me, and I am a perfectly packaged protect of such culture. However, I am now starting to understand Bill W. description of the “spiritual experience.” It’s not one that can be found under years of expenses retreats, soul searching walks through nature, months of meditation with South Asian monks, nor by ingesting hallucinogenics. It’s a simple willingness to turn our attention away from our dramas; to be open and patient to the possibility of experiencing blissful and sober joy and adopt faith when darkness strikes.


Even writing the above makes me clinch a bit. I can hear myself say, “what utter cliche! You want to force yourself into believing this privilege garbage to avoid the honest truth, which is you suck; you are lonely and miserable, aging away with no significant purpose. You will die knowing that the world is not a better place because of you.”


To which I replied:


“Here’s to This Too Shall Pass and to a spiritual experience being one of the "educational variety.” Sometimes quickly and most often times very slowly.”


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