According to an article in the September 1, 2017 issue of the Daily Herald, statistics show that one in three people are impacted by the opioid crisis and 52,000 people die each year from drug overdoses.
I was and am one of those statistics. For more than five years, I went through an off-and-on struggle with drug addiction, and in particular, opioids. Many times, I tried to get clean on my own, but just couldn’t do it.
I knew that I wanted to get sober, but just didn’t know how to go about doing it. I knew that the typical rehabilitation facilities weren’t the answer for me. I had friends who’d go into those facilities, come out, and relapse over and over again.
I wasn’t aware at the time, but what I was really searching for was a permanent cure. I wanted to get to the root cause of my addiction, instead of just treating the effects.
It wasn’t until April 2013 that I started to get to the cause. It was at this time that a friend invited me to a class at The School of Metaphysics. I can remember walking into class that first night, not knowing exactly how this school was going to help me heal, but with the feeling that it would.
The keys to recovery
Over the next four and a half years, I slowly began to learn the keys to recovery: discipline, service and teaching.
First, I began to learn how to discipline my conscious mind through a regular practice of meditation and other mindful exercises taught at the school.
This stood in stark contrast to my life before. Previously, I was very undisciplined with my thoughts and actions. My uncontrolled thoughts would lead me to uncontrollable actions, keeping me in the cycle of addiction.
What I learned is that discipline helps you establish trust within yourself. When you use your will to make productive choices, you begin to trust yourself, and once you have that trust, you really can do anything—even overcome drug addiction.
The mind is a powerful goal-achieving mechanism, and it needs worthwhile goals to achieve, one after another. I never knew this before I started going to the school, so shortly after my studies began, I set a goal to run the Chicago Marathon. I’d just started running again, and could barely make it around my block, but I knew that I had to move towards something. So with the daily discipline of running just a little further every day, I met my goal of running the entire marathon.
That’s the power of discipline, and it’s absolutely necessary if you truly want to change your life.
The next key to recovery is service. It’s through service that you can truly begin to heal yourself. In fact, there’s one psychiatrist in Chicago who won’t even see you until you complete three acts of service. What she’s found is that through the act of service, people can learn to heal themselves. It’s in the act of service that you truly begin to “get over yourself.”
Firsthand, I know this to be true. I was lucky to find the School of Metaphysics at a time when there were a lot of remodelling projects being done. I was invited to participate in them during my early stages of recovery. On my days off work, when thoughts of using drugs would creep in, I’d instead go over to the school and help paint a wall or put shingling on a new roof.
While I was participating in acts of service, I didn’t have time to think about my selfish desires, such as getting high. I learned to become other-centred (as opposed to self-centred), which is another absolute if you want to heal.
The final key to recovery is teaching, the highest act of service. The School of Metaphysics has given me the opportunity to be a teacher, and I’ve been teaching Applied Metaphysics classes consistently for more than two years.
“Each one, teach one.” If the whole world held this mentality and took it to heart, we could make some serious changes.
I look at teaching others as the final step in recovery. When you make it to the point of being able to share with others, you don’t have any room in your thinking patterns for selfish desires like getting high. You have to be there for others consistently.
The term comes to mind, “Each one, teach one.” If the whole world held this mentality and took it to heart, we could make some serious changes.
The thing is, if you’re like me, you have a lot to give. Using drugs gave me a lot of insight into the inner levels of the mind—so much that I became addicted to the experience. But what good are experiences if you can’t share them with others? Drugs throw you into those experiences, but they have no lasting positive effects, since you can’t maintain the high. You need more and more of the drug, and then you end up putting your happiness outside of yourself.
Following a spiritual path
There are natural ways of experiencing the same sort of high, which you can get from following a spiritual path.
If and when you find your spiritual path, it’s important that you remember these three keys: discipline, service and teaching. Once you begin to work them into your life, you will experience freedom from addiction.