March 14, 2014

Learning to Live beyond Addiction. ~ Edith Lazenby


I had a new friend point out that being connected to my iPhone all the time is not a good thing.

I had been telling him how I am now addicted to Netflix: I think of it on the way home, the same way I used to think of smoking a cigarette.

I have been addicted to tobacco, 39 years; alcohol about 15 years and marijuana about 15 years with a few years in there where it was not an everyday and several times a day habit. I have struggled with food ever since I began  trying to quit smoking, maybe 33 years ago. I don’t eat emotionally anymore but I did for most of my life. In fact as a freshman I would go to three fast food restaurants in a row and eat till I felt sick then get high till I embraced the void.

One of my other good friends mentioned how few of us truly change. We shift things maybe, rearrange ourselves inside and out—who are  becomes a sure thing at a young age.

What we do with who we are is where we find what we are made of in life.

Years ago I read a book titled ‘Addiction and Grace’ or something to that effect. I was relieved to learn that most of us have addiction. It may not be the self-destructive kind I have embraced most of my life. Some of us are addicted to thoughts, to control, to nasal spray and to exercising.

The funny thing to me, it’s like when I could no longer deny alcohol was killing me spiritually, drinking to oblivion night after night, year after year, I can now no longer deny the anxiety I feel if I don’t check my iPhone. I can no longer deny the emptiness I am escaping with television and Netflix.

So what drives addiction?

I cannot speak for everyone, but for me I think it’s an overwhelming need to connect. I find my sense of self is stronger than it used to be. I love who I am.

In AA we say we drink because of a spiritual need: hence the first step of turning our will and our power over to the care of God  or a Higher Power as we understand it.

AA helped me get sober and stay sober. I don’t live in perpetually recovery in AA but I live in a perpetual state of wanting to deepen who I am by furthering how I am.

I want to grow.

I want to be free of anxiety and angst.

The good news about AA is they don’t take roll and I know it is always available if I want or need it. I am one of the lucky ones because I find I don’t need it as a rule.

Hence I say I don’t live in perpetual recovery. I paid my dues. I know the program. I know it works. It’s part of me because I went all the time for years. I have been sober since 1990.

Smoking is gone. It was a fluke of a decision in that I did not think about doing it when I did it for long but knew when my living situation changed and I no longer lived with a smoker I could quit, and wanted to quit.

I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.

I gained weight that I am losing.

Yet I am still as addicted as I ever was just the form has changed, the effect is the same.

I numb.

I escape feeling.

I feel less alone.

I crave for the calm I feel when I teach and practice  yoga— all the time.

I want peace.

I meditate on occasion, in waves. My teaching has grown.

Now I want to learn to live beyond addiction.

I don’t know if it’s possible but I am nothing but tenacious and I don’t give up easily.

So thank you Mick. You opened me up to more by pointing to my present.

The gift that keeps giving—now—won’t escape me forever.

Love elephant and want to go steady?

Sign up for our (curated) daily and weekly newsletters!

Editor: Renee Picard

Photo: elephant journal archives

Read 3 Comments and Reply

Read 3 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Edie Lazenby  |  Contribution: 20,715