Mike Papas has been practicing Zen for 30 years. He’s studied mainly with Joko Beck and her successor, Larry Christensen (as have I) here in Portland. I asked Mike to lead some Zen talks, walks and meditations at our 2011 2nd Annual 12-Step Buddhist Winter Retreat. By the last session many people, Mike and I included, had been sobbing. Here …
This desire to disconnect might be something that non-addicts experience too to some degree. But for the addict it’s really a defining characteristic. So the solutions that I apply in my life, (mainly the teachings in 12-Step and Buddhism) point to the need to forget the self, or at least move beyond self-centered leanings towards service to others.
What 12-Steppers tell you in the beginning is that you can choose your own concept of what that Higher Power is, as long as you choose something. That said, one big criticism of 12-Step programs is that even though they say you can choose your own HP, they really mean God when they say God. The subtext: if you don’t believe in God, you’re not going to make it. And if you argue about it, you’re not willing.
I am the voice of self-love.
I’ve heard everything self-loathing has to say. It’s OK. Nothing new there. My job is to support the self – no matter how he’s feeling. I’m here, and have always been here. In fact, I was Present before the seed met the egg. When his mother was stressed, didn’t want to be pregnant, smoked cigarettes and got sick, I was here. I’m the real nurturer. In me, the self can always feel safe.
But in 1995 I relapsed for real with almost 10 years of sobriety. But I couldn’t wake up from that reality. It wasn’t just a dream. It’s quite shocking to dream that you’ve woken from a drunk dream but then discovered that it was not a dream at all.