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I have recovered from the disease of Alcoholism. I believe there is only one person really,.. everybody. And that peace of mind is everything. -So treat your neighbor as you would treat yourself, because your neighbor IS yourself. I think most of recovery is what I would call common sense, but that learning to be ordinary is a true gift very few people acquire. My ambition is to accept everything unflinchingly, with compassion, and therefore be intrinsically comfortable in my own skin, no matter what. I am comfortable being uncomfortable and am willing to go to any lengths to improve my life. I believe the Big Book was divinely inspired, and is extraordinarily powerful. Unfortunately AA's best kept secret a lot of the time. (In my opinion). I just try to do what works, no matter what it is.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

'Top up' Remedies to 'smooth' the impact of Step 11

Step 11 when done in the company of senior monastics can be quite 'aggressive' meaning it can bring about quite powerfully felt upheavals. This is not always the case. It is an entirely unpredictable phenomenon. But generally, given the high level of denial in your average alcoholic, plus the lack of experience with fully-felt emotions, it is fairly predictable that (eventually) the average alcoholic will feel things in a way which (for them) may seem quite strong. Don't worry if you seem to have NO reaction. Like I say, it's totally unpredictable. It's not unusual for monastics (for instance) to spend a long time finder the 'right' community to join. What I mean is, its very personal.
Also, certain traditions are more accessible than others. For instance if you were drawn to the shamanic American Indian tradition, you would be hard pushed to find a good or inspiring teacher in England. But who knows as I haven't researched that in much detail. You don't really choose these things. They choose you. But it is safe to say that we have some VERY HIGH CALIBER teachers on our doorstep so we are very lucky. The Good Retreat Guide is FULL of GREAT places to try out.

This is why I emphasize seeking out competent and ideally senior meditation groups and monastics as they make this transition easier than if you were to try to do it on your own. The aim is to process some of the 'backlog', even though it doesn't feel very nice! And then just get better at feeling things without making the feelings into a problem (in respect to your thoughts about them.)

These supplementary Step 11 therapies are for when you are NOT in meditation groups. Ie all the rest of the time! These are soft, fluffy 'mild' therapies which will make for an easier time. Otherwise you can become a bit of a grouch! They're very good, don't get me wrong, its just I see them as a SECONDARY device, rather than the 'main event'.
This is sensible practice even if you feel FINE or blissed out after doing step 11, and if you start going on retreats you will find these therapies are pretty much 'standard issue' supports for any meditation practice, that 'normal' happy people use. Its' just sensible.

When you're 'processing' a lot of 'stuff' (usually due to doing a lot of step 11), I think you should 'up' the usage of 'energetic medicine' for want of a better word.
This stuff is what I call 'fluffy', meaning it takes the 'edge' off strong 'stuff'. Its therapeutic and feels nice. Its sort of like a portable monastery! It should change the energy of your self and (in terms of the oil burners), your home too.
This only really applies to people who are doing 'proper' retreats. Unless of course you find yourself experiencing strong re emergence of 'stuff' without the aid of retreats. In which case go ahead!
By and large this is for post step 9 only, as you don't really want to be mucking around with this stuff before then, just in case it sets the step 11 ball rolling prematurely. Which would NOT be a good idea!

That would include
Regular healing. Ie NFSH. Hey its FREE!
Physical therapies. Such as
Chi Kung, ('standing like a tree' as they call it. Can be done at home easily in front of the telly) All you need is the book 'The way of Energy'. Its really easy to do. It is a form of healing, but self generated. Also just ten minutes a day can be good.
Shiatsu Treatments (See Zen school at Old Street). They are very cheap, one Saturday morning a month. Also fri eve class is cheap.
Also, this book showing Polarity Therapy Exercises is excellent. It shows you, among other things, how to do the Taoist Arch. Very short and sweet exercises.
Look up physical therapies in the Topics listing for reference.

I would also use energetic remedies such as Australian Bush Flower Creams:/Sprays:. Or Bach flower creams if you prefer those. I prefer the Australian Bush flower range as I'm more familiar with them and I think their uses are very 'contemporary'. Meaning they address 'modern' issues.
But basically I just never really got to know the Bach flower range. I've seen the rescue remedy cream but never tried it.
You can either get them from GOOD health food shops, or the London Homeopathic Hospital Pharmacy on Great Ormond Street. Open 9 till 5pm.

Aromatherapy at home. In the form of oil burners. Buy essential oils from fragrant earth ONLY and DEEP oil burner basins from culpepper in Covent garden. Read Subtle Aromatherapy book so you know how to use them. BE CAREFUL WITH THEIR USE AS THEY CAN BE TOXIC WHEN EXPOSED TO THE SKIN DIRECTLY.
And be careful with candles!!!
Equal quantities of Lavender and Vetiver is a good home combo. It does a bit of everything.

Protective use of the Green Tara Mantra whilst 'out and about', if you are becoming sensitive to other people and it doesn't feel very pleasant!
Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha
You can buy a mala from Watkins if you like using the mantra in conjunction with that. But its not necessary. It helps if you get a nice picture of a green Tara from Watkins though.

Also if you go to the mind body spirit show they sell a greater range of sprays than you would find in the average health food shop, some which work very well. Same theory as other flower essences.

I've tried these: ones and I thought they were lovely. I think most brands work in the main. Al the ones i've bought seem to work pretty well anyway. Just try out some and see if they have any effect.

And last but not least, I strongly recommend increased use of active imagination 'conversations' with 'wise beings' as a useful tool to supplement what you are doing with your meditation practice. You are going to need additional support, and this kind of work is very personal so its not always easy to do with your normal channels. Active imagination is very portable, accessible. and free! Its basically a modified version of having a chat with your higher power. So WELL within your capability!

And it goes without saying that basic books on meditation like 'a path with heart' are 'standard issue'. Otherwise you wont have a clue what's happening!

There are a MILLION different ways, (some VERY expensive) of doing this stuff as you will find out when you attend something like the mind body spirit festival. Also some expensive charlatans! These are just some easy and effective ones you can try yourself.

Obviously it's up to you how much extra support using these things you plan on using, but the more you do things which make you feel good, the more step 11 'work' you can 'take on board'. Use a bit of common sense though! If all the step 11 is getting a bit much you can offset the effects by absorbing your attention in distracting things such as cinema, food, tv, ANY distraction will have this effect somewhat. I'm just saying you don't have to go at step 11 'full tilt' all the time. You can ease up on it, from time to time, if you find it makes you feel better. Its entirely up to you, and is already covered pretty well in the book 'spiritual emergency', so I don't need to repeat it here.
Spiritual Emergency: When Personal Transformation Becomes a Crisis Stanislav Grof

Also homeopathy is EXPENSIVE and requires word of mouth recommendation to avoid getting a 'duff' one, but they can prescribe remedies specifically designed to address energetic weaknesses in the body. But im inclined to see how you get on on your own steam as I know some very respectable practitioners who use these things. So don't think of them as the 'cheap seats'. They are as good as anything else you would pay for if you apply yourself to them.

Don't be slavish about this stuff. Just try it and see what works for you.

Oh yeah. And BOG STANDARD EXERCISE is HIGHLY recommended as a VERY EFFECTIVE REGULATORY TOOL too. The more 'heavy' the work you are doing, the more you need to be in the gym on the step machine!!
Exercise is fabulous for everything really. Its a great ally. In every sense.


Recovery Road London said...

"So treat your neighbor as you would treat yourself, because your neighbor IS yourself" -

this is a good reminer for me: thanks. I promise myself and my HP every morning to try to do this each day. I oftenhave Step 10 work to do each day. Lol.

An Irish Friend of Bill said...

Thanks Kenny. The very FINEST people I have been lucky enough to meet have ALL expressed this view. I do not doubt their integrity or wisdom. Its quite a scary view isn't it? Very challenging! I'll have to elaborate properly in another post..

Mike said...

Thanks for being...

Meg Moran said...

so much to learn....I will take baby steps. thank you

An Irish Friend of Bill said...

Thanks Meg. heheh. hey i'm only posting this because i know some sponsees are having a bit of a bumpy ride after getting stuck into step 11 in earnest. i don't expect anyone to feel they ought to take this stuff on board as a general rule! but feel free to make use of some of it, if it suits!