There is an old Zen expression that goes something like this; “before enlightenment chop wood and carry water, after enlightenment chop wood and carry water”. When we entered the rooms of AA, NA or OA we had made a decision to put down our drug of choice. Many of us assumed that by doing so our problems would be solved. We were partially correct. When we didn’t take that first drink or drug the problems associated with alcohol and drugs no longer arose. “Great,we thought to ourselves. From now on it will be smooth sailing”. This conclusion of ours was shortly thereafter disproven. All of life’s challenges came rushing back in. Life didn’t magically change because we had put down our drug of choice. As we looked around the rooms we saw and heard others who were facing the same problems as us. Yet, many of them seemed far more happy and serene than us. Then it hit us. The adversities of life would continue until our last dying breath.. Our power lay in the decisions we made which affected how events would be played out. We realized that in the past we had on some level “set ourselves up” for problems. This we did have control over. Our power also lay in how we responded to these problems once they had materialized. We had uncovered the beginnings of emotional sobriety.
Personal Reflection: Do I still believe that life is the problem?