Kung Foolery and the Art of Addiction Recovery
The mantis spreads its forearms. The snake coils itself up to strike. The tiger tightens its muscles, preparing to launch. The crane kicked ass in The Karate Kid. And the monkey broke into the Shaolin Temple’s winery, and is now doing fancy missteps like a true drunken master.
That last one was me.
But I had a black belt in it, and so was proud. I could drink you under the table, then kumite kick it to the curb. That’s because somewhere along the path I had fallen to the teachings of a dark kung fu master. The teacher was called Master Poo Luh Choices. Those teachings, however, led to pain.
I had good teachers too.
My parents, for one, are masters of justice. They fight every day to bring balance back to the downtrodden lives of this country. They take on, through the courts, those who would criminally neglect the poor, just as the Shaolin Monks of old fought raiders and bandits with spectacular high kicks and spinning bladed staffs.
And you won’t believe the difference they’ve made to so many people.
They’re my heroes. In their sixties, like Mr Miyagi, and they’re master splinter schooling me in kindness. Something I forgot this week in my previous blog post. (Now removed, through the suggestion of a forth-coming zen instructor.)
If we extend this metaphor to warrior monk tropes in a galaxy far, far away, then Recovery is the Force that connects us and binds us to the world around us. If I just keep myself open and serene, I can avoid the tumultuousness, terrible emotions.
They bring trouble.
As Master, whatshisname, Yogurt said: I sense fear in you. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. H8ers bring sh!tst0rms, possibly on social media.
The blog I wrote this week was about my experience with the dark side regarding an attempt to hustle me.
But, no, not the other person’s dark side. That is irrelevant.
My own dark side.
See, I have another teacher, one I visit on top of a mountain in the metaphorical local of Sherpas and sheep shindigs. It’s a steady climb, and it’s an inconvenient journey. But s/he meditates there. And it’s from this vantage point they get to see the whole picture.
Anger caused by fear, and poor impulse control, kept me from seeing it.
This wise old master spoke to me… (actually over FB, since screw mountains. S/he can Instagram that sh!@ – they have wi-fi everywhere.)
…and pointed out a few things.
The blog post this week was a little too free with the details – and, to be honesty, it was more judgey than Judge Dread and Judge Judy’s love child. I made interpretations that may or may not be true.
The wise old master (literally, long white hair and I swear I can see threads of long, wispy beard) showed a vision of a world where people are desperate, and not necessarily desperate because of drugs, but because the world can be a cruel and harsh place.
Desperate, and who need help, and who don’t need judgement. Even when they try and infringe on my boundaries in some way. It would have been better to be vaguer, kept it to my experience of it, but I didn’t. I wanted to prove how clever I was in spotting the flaws in the story, how I poked holes in it, how I would never be fooled again. So there were way too many details, and way too much emphasis on the other person.
But, I had already “won” before that post went up.
Because I managed to put up some boundaries like a – Star Wars reference / Sci-Fi play-on-words, look how clever I am, whoop whoop, sigh – Force Field. I beat a desperate person’s desperate attempts to shake me down.
Then I went back to an old martial art form called I Do Your Fourth Step For You Fu.
[Explanatory note: the Fourth Step in Recovery is about taking your own inventory for things you’ve done wrong. You’re meant to be focused on yourself and your actions, not with the actions of other people, even if they have brought you harm. That’s because it is your journey and it’s an accounting in order to become a more enlightened being, one who will grow as a kind and caring person who contributes to society instead of taking from it, as many addicts do in active addiction.]
Inventory taking is easy when it’s someone else. It surprised me how easily I slipped into it. Wise Old Master gently reminded me that what makes my own personal-style of writing work is: I normally talk about me. My experiences. My actions. Not someone else’s.
Not unless they’re fictional, blonde, and play the cello. And may or may not be going mad.
Which is how I feel sometimes.
The forces of emotion are overwhelming.
What this person did, and tried to do, though, doesn’t really matter. There was no harm done. I was just left shaken like a power-surged Mr Ever Ready.
The climax was an outpouring of processing on my blog.
It’s gone now. The stain of shame has been washed out white.
White like the belt I wear around my crisp new karate suit. See, I’m still young in recovery, in many ways. That’s part of what this blog is. A journey. I never considered myself a spiritual person, not in any other sense than previously convening with Johnny, Jameson, and J & B.
I guess what I’ve learnt from this is: spirituality is feeling for the other person, looking past the demon ninja masks they’re currently wearing to see their true face.
I messed up earlier this week, because I was unspiritual. And I broke a code of honour.
I hope this post helps bring balance to what I did. And how I got here is because the Wise Old Master taught me to sweep.
Like how many tourists, seeking enlightenment, sweep in the temples throughout east Asia, where a broom is a school for stilling the mind, becoming calm, centring yourself, and cleansing soul-stuff.
So I swept, and I swept, and finally, hopefully, I swept enough that now my side of the street is clean.
Maybe, just maybe, I’ll master recovery too, one day.
Because when it comes down to it, life’s like an old martial arts movie on video tape.
When you make a mistake and possibly hurt someone through mean-spiritedness…