Devotion to Sobriety
Lately I have been thinking a lot about devotion. Before getting sober, I was devoted to getting what I wanted no matter who was hurt in the process. If I was angry, I did whatever I could to get revenge. If I felt bored or anxious I devoted myself to partying as hard as I could and getting the “right” friends so I could have a sense of self-esteem.
But much has changed since then. I’ve been in (and sometimes out) of AA for a while now, and I understand enough now to know that living that way, with no regard to anyone but myself, is a recipe for disaster and suffering.
For me now, devotion comes in a lot of different forms. Devotion is taking care of my body in the most excellent way I can. My Higher Power gave me this body, not to fill it with alcohol and drugs, but to enjoy my physical strength and to have a healthy physique so I can be of maximum service to the world. I personally eat as healthily as I can as well, because I’ve found that I’m happiest and calmest when I do so. In my experience, I’ve found that if I am eating food filled with chemicals, I can’t have true relaxation in meditation; I can’t find peace of mind because my body is trying to process through the toxins.
Proper nutrition helps recovering addicts (and everyone else) feel better because nutrients give the body energy, help build and repair organ tissue, and strengthen the immune system. Because recovering addicts have usually damaged vital organs during the course of their drug or alcohol abuse, good nutrition provides them with the nutritional building blocks they need to begin restoring these damaged tissues. —Jenny Smiechowski
So I eat lots of whole grains, fish and vegetables and beans. I don’t eat meat because, as Easwaran once said, “Why would I eat my friends?” Ayurveda and the practices of Yoga are what I have chosen to keep me in my best physical condition. There are many different paths to health, but I can only speak for the one that I am on. I will tell you, it is a powerful path.
For me, devotion is also about selfless service. This is a challenging subject for me, because I habituated being very selfish for most of my childhood and teen years. It is sometimes painful or annoying for me to be helpful or to go out of my way for others because I have this sense of entitlement, like “Why should I do that? They didn’t do anything for me.”
But truly life is about giving and giving and giving some more, because the more I give, the more joy I have because I am contributing something to individuals and to a society. I read a prayer the other day that made tears come to my eyes and raised goose bumps on my arm. I read it as often as I can remember, and I know in my heart this prayer is what my heart truly desires. I know this because of the joy and security I feel after I read it!
“God, even if I have to inconvenience myself, even if I have to lead an uncomfortable life, may I be given the strength, wisdom and humility never to contribute to the suffering of anyone on earth.”