When the movie, The Secret, debuted, it generated instant buzz. Everyone wanted to know more and more about this Law of Attraction concept. The idea is that everything is made up of energy, and since energy vibrates, that means everything that exists actually vibrates whether you can view it or not. All thoughts, beliefs and feelings that you create and put out into the universe is exactly what will be handed back to you on a silver platter. If you are feeling positive, you will attract back positive feelings and the same goes, if we are vibrating negative feelings that, too, will be attracted back to you.
Sound easy? Absolutely. There is, however, one very important key element missing in all of this and that is action. The law of attraction doesn’t actually state that we have to take action; we just have to think about what we want and the universe will manifest that right back to us. For an addict or alcoholic, this is definitely the softer and easier way to gain sobriety. You don’t have to go to meetings, get a sponsor, read the big book or, for that matter, do any work to become clean and sober. You just think, believe and feel sobriety, and it will just happen. This is similar to the instant gratification mentality of an addict or alcoholic, that if you just have this drink or take this drug, you will suddenly feel better. This was intriguing, but I could not fathom how just thinking something would bring it into existence. However, physicists or law of attraction proponents might disagree.
I became interested in the Law of Attraction and how it might help addicts and alcoholics while working at a famous Malibu treatment center. I noticed after the clients viewed the movie, there was a complete silence in the room; the energy of the environment completely shifted. There was this transformation that permeated the rehab and suddenly clients who had been depressed, unmotivated and detached suddenly became hopeful, inspired and eager to soak up everything their treatment program was providing them. How could this be?
In recovery, the belief is that there must be a complete makeover of your life if sobriety is to be achieved. The law of attraction did not provide these tools. However, what it did offer was the idea that if you live on purpose and if you have meaning in your life, you are aligning yourself with what the universe wants for you. Whether you call it God, universe, source, higher power, Buddha or Jesus, everyone has a calling and a greater purpose. This idea of purpose and meaning in one’s life seemed to be the catalyst that was energizing these clients. It was at this point, I was determined to find a way to integrate the law of attraction into these recovering alcoholics and addicts’ lives, and that is where the Law of Sobriety was incubated.
Addicts and alcoholics in many ways are looking for a transcendent experience when they use and drink to transport them out of the intolerable reality in which they are living. They are already on a spiritual quest of sorts by using mind-altering substances to gain relief and to escape their very existence. Some call it emptiness, a soul sickness, a bottomless pit…but whatever it is, addicts and alcoholics are missing out on any sort of joy and will go to great lengths to find it.
Alcohol and drugs may provide them with a temporary reprieve, but it is certainly not the long-term answer to the pain and emptiness most addicts and alcoholics feel on a daily basis. Happiness is something we seek outside of us, but joy is already within us. If an individual is living a life of purpose and meaningfulness, then joy is possible. Once addicts align their energy with their calling and take certain action steps to get there, then the universe allows them access to a deeper form of satisfaction that is unavailable with the self-destructive behavior that comes from alcoholism and drug addiction. This is when addicts connect with a universal life force, and it is here that space opens up creating a life that is filled with harmony and peace.
This is the serenity for which addicts so desperately search, but always look for in the wrong places. All along, the answers could be found inside their being. They just did not know how to access it because the drugs and alcohol got in the way.
The action steps in creating a joyful life for the addict consists of living on purpose and with intention; living a life of value and authenticity; learning to live in appreciation and compassion for oneself and others; living a life of right action and the power to choose the right path; living with profound awareness and mindfulness; and learning to let go of resistance and attachments.
Living on purpose and with intention is learning to live with focus and clarity, with self-determination and an unstoppable appetite to be the best you can be. It is about getting out of a negative mindset, turning up the positive frequency and going after what it is you most desire – in this case, your sobriety. Just because you have never been able to stop drinking or using before, does not mean you can’t attract the willingness to stop right now.
The first step is stop calling yourself an addict or alcoholic. Although this goes against the 12-step mentality – and I am a huge proponent of the 12 steps – I do believe by continuing to label yourself that, you continue to manifest the baggage that goes along with that marker. I see nothing wrong with calling yourself a recovering alcoholic or recovering addict because that is exactly what you are becoming and is precisely what you want to manifest. This is a positive and optimistic way to address yourself, and at the same time is a deserving title of the work you have put into your sobriety.
I had a client who was continuing to relapse. We explored what it was she was doing in her recovery program to maintain sobriety and instead, we discovered more of what she wasn’t doing. She shared that when the 12-step meetings were over, she would usually bolt out the door, not getting to know any of the other members. Instead, she continued to get together with an old boyfriend who was still drinking and spending time with her siblings who also were not sober. By surrounding herself with active alcoholics and drug addicts, she was taking on their negative vibrations and instead of thinking about recovery, she was caught in the vortex of the using and drinking mentality. When she started to align herself with people who were sober, whether through meetings or other social settings, she began to generate the positive energy required to attract sobriety versus relapsing. When she let go of the environments that were triggers for her, she automatically shifted her negative energy, and the path away from addiction virtually opened up.
From the time you were born, you learned most of your values from your parents and your early environment. As you move into adolescence, you become free to choose your own values and decide if the values you accepted as a child resonate with who you are becoming. As you attempt to gain your own identity, you might rebel against those earlier belief systems. This is when early experimentation with drugs and alcohol may enter the picture, due to peer pressure or the need to self-medicate the pain of living in a dysfunctional family or the growing pains of the teen years. You begin to steer away from your core values because, not only are you not sure what they are, but the external world begins to influence you. You begin to lose sight of your inner being and emit negative energy, only attracting more unhappiness into your life because you are going against your true self. The Law of Sobriety reminds us that to get out any current negativity in your life, you must align yourself with your authentic nature. When you do this, you generate the positive energy required to attract individuals and a life that matches your true vibration.
A distraught mother of a teenager was tearing her hair out because she felt she was losing control of her daughter. Her daughter, once a cheerleader and an A student was suddenly hanging around a questionable group of friends, isolating or acting out when she was home with her family and her grades dropped drastically. She went around telling her friends, the therapist, the school counselor and anyone who would listen how worried she was of her daughter’s changes.
Although seeking advice is important, this mother went to everyone and anyone who would listen, telling them every negative thing she could think of about her daughter. Not once during this time did she talk about the positive attributes her daughter still embodied, such as being sensitive, creative, loving children and being a supportive big sister. Of course, her daughter was in need of direction in pulling up her grades and possibly finding more healthy peers, but she also needed to be encouraged to participate in areas that represented her authentic self, such as her creativity and sensitivity to others. Once her mother enrolled her in an art class and signed her up to volunteer at the local YMCA, her daughter’s positive energy field went off the radar. Once she moved passed her anxiety and fears about her daughter and redirected her into a positive direction, the universe aligned itself to opportunities and events that allowed her daughter to thrive.
Often, when addicts and alcoholics are newly sober, they are dealing with a backlog of shame and guilt. The shame can be from childhood abuse or neglect, lying and stealing in their addiction, an abusive relationship or self-induced shame that is a direct result of their self-destructive behaviors during their addictions.
One woman found herself deeply entrenched in shame and guilt by her promiscuous behavior during her drinking days. By not letting go of the pain she had caused herself, her children and her husband, she continued to relapse. Once she started to concentrate on the positive changes she was making in her relationships with her husband and children, the relapses subsided. She was able to move on by not obsessing over her destructive behavior, but rather by focusing on the newly found intimacy she and her husband were experiencing and how present she had become for her children during sobriety. The Law of Sobriety allowed her to live that spark of divine energy between her children and her husband. By embracing the Law of Sobriety, she was allowing a deep and profound compassion and forgiveness for herself to flow into her being. Her energy of forgiveness and compassion attracted more appreciation and gratitude for the future. By walking through the pain of her past, she was able to transform and gain clarity as to what her new purpose was as a mother and wife. The past was no longer who she was now or who she was becoming, but rather a lesson to be learned.
Heading on the right path is definitely a choice similar to choosing to pick up a drink or smoking a hit of crack. Being conscious is always a choice to bring your awareness and actions to that which is truly who you are and how you are meant to be living. It is a work in progress to continually ask yourself, what is my consciousness creating for me? You decide whether to you align yourself with a negative or a positive choice. As a recovering addict or alcoholic, there is no room for victimhood. You have no one to blame when you know going to the Christmas party will be a trigger and you go anyway. If your time is spent in abusive relationships, causing you to drink or use because of the pain, that is the choice you have made – no one else has made that decision for you. The Law of Sobriety looks at that action, and if it doesn’t resonate personal dignity and self-respect, then you have stepped out of the force of right action. You will only bring more negative relationships back into your life, which is always a slippery slope in sobriety. Often, addicts and alcoholics are suffering from low self-esteem. It is important to realize that until you raise the set point of your sense of worth, it is often much better to make the decision to stay away from new relationships; your perception of a good or bad partner can be way off.
When the founders of the 12-step program discovered “One Day at a Time”, were they not talking about living a mindful and conscious life? Often addicts and alcoholics, who have had a history of trauma, find it quite difficult to stay in the present moment. They disassociate, numb their pain with other addictions or live in the “doing” rather than the “being.” If they are not in the “doing”, then they are most likely projecting into the future or the past and waiting for some momentary, fleeting event to arrive that will take them out of their despair. The moment goes by like a flash, and the sadness that brought them there returns once again.
When this happens, they become irritable, disappointment, frustrated and sometimes go into victim mode. Often clients will ask, “Well, I am sober now, why am I so miserable?” They are discontent because they have dismissed the now and are creating a consciousness of not having something, and they don’t even know what that something is. What I am talking about is this chronic emptiness that only the present moment or a higher power can fulfill. There is nothing to fret about in a moment of time, because in that moment there is no past or future.
Addicts and alcoholics often need more stimulation because of the anhedonia they feel when they are newly sober. The same goes with their using when they build up a tolerance and need more drugs or alcohol to get the same effect. The Law of Sobriety says that when you feel you are lacking, you will only vibrate at that lower frequency. It is through vibrating in a state of abundance for what is at any given moment that you will receive everything sobriety has to offer. When you are in acceptance, you are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve your deepest desire and it is then that you will take the necessary steps to maintain sobriety. Once sobriety is achieved, joy and happiness are no longer blocked, and longing for external gratification will elude you.
The final step of the Law of Sobriety is learning to stop resisting your truth and letting go of outcomes of the way you think your life should be. When you release your perceptions of the way you believe things are supposed to be, you are freeing yourself from negative emotions. When you refuse to let go, you are allowing more of the same back into your life. For example, if you continue believing the next time you use or drink will be different, you are not accepting that part of your true self. You are refusing to integrate that part of you which cannot control your alcohol or drug use, but instead embracing a false self that no longer espouses your authentic nature. The universe only recognizes your true self. As the saying goes, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Knowing the reality of your disease is not a jail sentence, but rather a universal truth. Shifting from wanting things to be a particular way to being honest with yourself allows you to take actions that are constructive and energizing, and it is only then you can attract all that you desire in life.