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The Zen Of Zombie: An Alcoholics Perception

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In recovery we begin to find inspiration everywhere. One of the greatest ways we can tap into that inspiration is by engaging in inspiring activities such as books, art, and music. I received a gift a while back from someone who knew I loved anything to do with horror. More important, they knew I had an obsession with zombies. This person also knows I am in recovery, which makes this book even more fantastic.

The Zen Of Zombie is basically about better living through the undead and if you think about it long enough, it actually makes sense. I have yet to see a zombie freak out over life stressors, what others say or think about them, or even be bothered with what happened in the past or what is about to happen in the future. Zombies have no resentments and are never rushing to get anywhere. They just are! They live in the present, one day at a time.

I opened my zombie book and begin to skim through the pages with utter excitement; I could feel my pulse racing. In each section they talked about “Habits” followed by an explanation on how it applies to the zombie life and the human life. Below, I will share my thoughts on a few of those habits and how it can be applied to recovery. I would love to hear your thoughts and experience, so please feel free to comment and share!

Habit 01: Be Adaptable

Life’s gonna throw you some curve-balls, and nobody knows this better than a Zombie, alcoholic, or addict.

If you have been in recovery long enough, you probably have heard the word acceptance used many times. The idea is simple. If we are accepting things as being exactly the way they are, we will have peace. When we place expectations on people, places, and things; we find that our expectation is usually not met and we become resentful towards that idea, situation, or person we couldn’t originally accept. We cannot let go and find ourselves obsessing and stressing over something we cannot change or control.

“And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation — some fact of my life — unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.

Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.” – Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 417.

Habit 02: Play to Your Strengths (& Ignore Your Weaknesses)

In order to be positive we must have positive thoughts. It helps when our actions are positive and our motives are pure. We are more likely to act out in our character defects if we focus on the negative.  We end up feeding our fear rather than our faith and will notice our lives are slowly becoming unmanageable.  As a result, we become miserable and discontent with life, others, and ourselves. We literally will forget how grateful we once were.

If we want to have inner peace we must work towards practicing the opposite of our character defects. When we feel we cannot, we ask our Higher Power to give us the guidance and strength to do the next right thing. It takes a lot of practice, patience, and meditation for an alcoholic or addict to do the opposite. When we play up to our strengths and focus less on our weaknesses, we slowly begin to change. When we practice these principles in our affairs, we find we are able to do things we wouldn’t have normally been able to do.

Habit 03: I will choose Free Will. 

I think of 2 things when I look at this habit. 1, I have a choice today; 2, the proper use of will. In the Big Book of AA, they talk about willpower and how it affects the alcoholics life, as well as those around them.

“It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe. We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God’s will into all of our activities. “How can I best serve Thee—Thy will (not mine) be done.” These are thoughts which must go with us constantly. We can exercise our will power along this line all we wish. It is the proper use of the will.” – Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, Chap 6, Into Action.

When we use our will properly, great things come to pass. It is only when we are selfish, dishonest, fearful, resentful, angry, and unloving towards our surroundings that we end up in trouble. We must speak to another alcoholic or addict daily, speak to our Higher Power, and speak to our experience to know if we are using our willpower to benefit or destroy. I may not know the difference if I am a real alcoholic or addict so I need to make sure I work my program daily.

Habit 07: Where of One Cannot Speak…

Seriously, no one likes a gossip or a motormouth. People who can’t stop prattling on and on about endless trivialities will never get far in life. Zombies, by contrast, get very far  precisely because they place extreme limits on verbal communication. – Pg 46 Zen of Zombie

“Gossip barbed with our anger, a polite form of murder by character assassination, has its satisfactions for us, too”. – Step 6, 12&12, page 67. We are of no use to ourselves or anyone else when we gossip about them. Sometimes we mask it with such sayings like “I’m just concerned for them” or “They are sick, that’s why…” Remember we spoke earlier about motives and proper use of will? When we speak of someone or something and cover it with concerned words, we are manipulating the situation in order to suit our own needs and desires. Tthis is usually based on a foundation of fear, and  we are not trying to be helpful or of service to our fellows. We are actually trying to protect our own reality, and in the meantime causing harm to others.

We are not different or better than anyone else. Some of us have to go through things while others may not.  We are not in charge of what our Higher Power’s will is for us or for others is, it’s non of our business. Therefore, if someone is doing something or saying something I don’t like, who am I to say that it’s not their Higher Power’s plan for them to experience what they are experiencing? There are plenty of things (terrible things) that I have gone through where others felt they knew better, but, I wouldn’t be who I am today or where I am today if anything in that timeline was different. I am grateful for that.

Habit 09: Strength In Numbers

We cannot do this alone, which is why it is a “we” program. It is also a self-less program, not a selfish one. No matter which steps you are looking at in whichever fellowship you belong to, they all say the same thing “we”. So when in doubt, when in fear, when lack of faith becomes our dilemma, there is always an alcoholic or addict that can help me recharge and tap back into my relationship with a Higher Power.

I just love this book and the more I read it, the more I actually see life different. It has helped me find a new perspective on principles, my steps, and my program of recovery. I love that even with some time under my belt, I am still learning, growing, and willing to do both. What an amazing way to live life.

Written By: Watershed Ashling

*God = Higher Power of your choosing.

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