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8 Steps and Me

by a participant in the 8 Step Recovery Programme

I am not a member of the Ipswich Sangha but nevertheless I have been greatly impacted by it. I am in recovery from addiction to alcohol and came to 8 step meetings when they first began. Thank you for opening your centre and your hearts to me and others like me. I have been given many gifts from the 8 Step Recovery but here are some important ones.

In step one and two of the 8 steps, it is explained how human life brings suffering and how we can create extra suffering in our lives. I balked at this! My suffering came from external sources only – not me! I was able to see that sitting with self-pity in any given situation could be made worse by my holding onto to the pain. I realised everyone has pain, I was too blind to see this in my addiction as I was self-centred and lost in my own pain. It became apparent that it was not ‘just me’.

I discovered the notion of impermanence in step 3. This was a revelation that my suffering will end. I study the world around me and I see this is nature. My steadfast desire to keep things the same has been challenged. Life changes whether I like it a not, so acceptance of the state of flux is key.

The concepts of loving kindness, the four basic needs of the heart, compassion for others and self have aided my recovery. The latter has brought about a huge change in my life, I was full of self-loathing and now I can have compassion for myself and in I can have compassion for others. I am far from perfect, but I am evolving.

Finally – and breathe! – slowing down and breathing before I respond and create more suffering for myself and those around me.

“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.”