Among other things, addiction is a disease of more. I felt it when I drank – always thinking about the next drink, monitoring the level on the liquor bottle, timing my refill needs to be replenished before the stores closed. There was never too late or too early an hour to contact the dealer- once I started getting high there was no reason to stop. Well, ready cash stopped me, but that was also when my skills of promises and conniving could begin.
Craving leads to the desire for more; the fear of running out lead to rapid consumption, and hypervigilance. I also contributed to my mood toward my companions who would undoubtedly want some of what I had. Generosity was not a feeling I was able to hold onto in my later years of active addiction.
Recovery didn’t stop that train. More More More was still part of my brain, my body, and my breath. While I have to say when applied to meetings, contact with people in recovery and recovery focussed events, that habit of MORE was welcome. It helped save my life.
Later MORE returned as a liability, a way to keep being out of gratitude, out of contentment, away from learning to feel satisfied. It prevented me from feeling that sense of abundance that fills my heart most of the time.
If I am always looking for more stuff, the things I craved yesterday no longer satisfy. I enjoyed the purchase more than the usefulness or the having. I focussed outside myself in the pursuit of more: more cookies, lifting more weight when I exercised, more miles when I ran. More gifts to buy for others, more rewards at work, more busy-ness is general. When I first practiced yoga I was planning for my next class before I completed the one I was in. The lesson can soon, early in my yoga practice. I learned that more (number of classes, reach or extension in a posture, more difficulty, more rather than experiencing) could harm me. I suffered from chronic low back pain as I strived for an excess in the “exercise”, rather than rejoicing in the healing.
I also have an inherent feeling of lack– not good enough, not bright enough, not thin or tall or beautiful enough. And now, not young enough. This sense of lack, coupled with a disease of more, makes the middle ground of sufficient a foreign concept.
Abundance is the space of grace, a visceral feeling that all is well. You no longer have to struggle, to fight, to scramble for more. Your supply of energy, of love, of food, of stuff, of contentment, of everything, is already alright.There is no need to crave, grasp or cling. This is entirely contra to that motor, my survival engine of needing “MORE”. I had to start with the concept of “enough“.
I have enough- I have more than enough. I AM enough, I DO enough, I Serve enough; in fact, there is abundance in my life. My practice of gratitude has taught me this. I have just what I need. My life is full, my heart is full, I lack for nothing.
Moving from the disease of MORE to feelings of ABUNDANCE requires the practice of gratitude. This can be learned. I was able to learn it. When I feel the monster of “not enough” creep up I ask myself “where did gratitude go” and that is usually enough to turn me on my heals back to the land of plenty.
Kyczy Hawk E-RYT500 is an author and yoga teacher. She is the founder of S.O.A.R.™; Success Over Addiction and Relapse; a training for yoga teachers who want to combine yoga and recovery on the mat in treatment centers and other spaces.