Humbled by the honesty and clarity of gifted and highly respected teacher Rev. Dr. Maureen Hoyt, I invite you to read her article that explores her lifelong journey of self discovery along with her respect for the underlying problem that precedes addictions. Thank you for your beautiful share, Dr. Maureen, and for reminding us of that which cannot be found in any teaching or any program, but only from deep within, and that is the power and gift of choice.
In gratitude, harmony, and support,
The Missing Component
Rev. Dr. Maureen Hoyt
Sobriety came on the “wings” of disaster for me. January 17, 1994 – the day of the Northridge earthquake – was the last day I ever took a drink of alcohol. Alcoholics never forget their first day without alcohol, but this one seemed etched in my memory forever.
I was a new minister of Religious Science; however, I was first and foremost a practitioner. Because so many people were contacting me around that time for prayer or what we call Spiritual Mind Treatment in our movement, I could no longer be in a mind-altered state through intoxication. It’s interesting to note here that I got clean from speed (mostly diet pills prescribed by a physician) in the early 70s, and it never occurred to me that alcohol was a drug as well until early 1994. I simply stopped drinking that day by choice. There were times over the years that I was tempted to drink, and yet, there was something in me deeply committed to sobriety.
One particular week a friend was visiting from Huntsville, Alabama, and after a grueling string of meetings, he asked if I would mind if he brought a bottle of wine back to my place. “No problem,” I said, “But don’t expect me to share it with you.” He drank over half the bottle and left the rest on the counter in the kitchen. He departed for Alabama the next day, and when I came home from work that night, there was that lovely almost half bottle of wine tempting me. I thought to myselfno one would know if I had a drink, and then it hit me like a ton of bricks, but I would know. I took the bottle and dumped it down the sink. That was the last time I’ve been tempted!
Years ago, a noted author of Sufi mysticism was our guest speaker at a conference up in Arrowhead. I was privileged to have an in-depth conversation with him. He said that there was a missing component in our teaching of the Science of Mind in a similar way to the 12-step programs in that we go from the addiction to spirituality without respect for the problem. In the Science of Mind, we go from the problem to the prayer without respect for the problem. His assessment left me reeling, because it had been my own observation that there was significant spiritual bypass in both the Science of Mind and in the 12-step programs.
John Bradshaw, one of the pioneers in the more public approach to sobriety, spoke to this in his early writings as well. He said, “Psychology explains; spirituality heals.” And yet, many of us in recovery have never taken the time to figure out why we drank or used in the first place. For me, it’s been a lifetime of self-discovery in this arena. The reasons are many and varied for most of us as to why we are addicted to alcohol or drugs, and while these particular addictions cause serious problems in life, addiction to work, to relationships, to money, or to exercise can be just as dangerous. It is my observation that all addiction is a bypass and that we’ve believed something to be the truth about ourselves filtered through someone else’s opinion.
When we are willing to see ourselves in our own greatness and our own value, addiction is no longer necessary. When we realize, we are at choice in everything in life, we become empowered and self-confident, functioning human beings. When we recognize the power and presence of Spirit, by means of us, it’s a total no-brainer.
Some people can drink socially; some can’t. Some people want to drink; some people don’t. Today, I don’t want to drink, not because I can’t but because it’s not necessary in my life. There is nothing that needs anesthetizing because my life is an open book, and an incredibly interesting recovery read at that.
Today, I am drunk with the wine of life!