Author Topic: Questions about vipassana practice (for quitting drug use)  (Read 1711 times)

2cdod

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Questions about vipassana practice (for quitting drug use)
« on: August 23, 2015, 06:26:59 PM »
Hello every one!

I'm a recovery addict of codein (not daily), and I used a lot of dissociatives psychedelics, and others stufs like GHB and empathogenic uppers etc... I've done 3 vipassana retreats of 10 days Goenka style + one I left before the end.

First tentative, left on fay four, was consuming vast amount of GHB just before the retreat, stupid I know^^ (3 years ago)

First one, 2 years ago was great! No problems, extremely difficult but I left really happy!

Second one last summer, not so great! On the fourth day when starting vipassana meditation, all was good : Strong concentration, my bodily sensations dissolved until I have no body anymore for a few moment (as when I take a dissociative) just at the last meditation of the day. Then the morning after, suddenly a freaking sensation arose in the area of my heart. Like a hit of a knife on my chest! The sensation was an unbearable emptiness in the area. I cannot focus my awareness directly on the area (I tried but felt a starting panic attack so I stopped^^). I tried to have support and explications from the professor, but he was a little bit evasive (like "stay equanimous babe, all is anicca who know?" haha^^) When I stopped the meditations sitting, the sensations was still burning with force like it was dissolving. At a moment, my equanimity vanished for a moment when I thought "it this shit will stop?" So the sensation stopped burning, but instead I had severe anxiety. So I forced to calm myself and my equanimity return, with the burning sensation (not so unpleasant but with a continuity and an intensity a little bit freaking^^) Am my still clear? I hope so  :) It was day five out of 10, and didn't sleep all night, because I had to stay equanimous about my sensation. I tried to stay equanimous, and dissolve the heavy sensations that was constantly liberated by my "heart-emptiness sensation". Stopped vipassana meditation at day 8 to 10, and limited myself to anapana meditation (concentration on breath instead of body scan) from. Okay, retreat over, still living but I left the course a little bit shaking!

A year pass, with increasing drug use. I started to visit a sophrologue, and an EMDR practicien a 2 months ago. I think that EMDR therapy vastly decrease my craving for drug use. So I went again in an other retreat that just stopped this morning. I had no hard drug use for a month before this retreat (epic for me). The retreat went great, difficult as always but great. But, hehe, I still have the emptiness-heart sensation (Annica my ASS  :D) I worked again on it and it was far less intense! At the end of the retreat (so yesterday and the day before yesterday), painfull emptiness was remplaced by a feeling of healing. Like when I passed my attention on my body, piece by piece, little ropes on all my area of the chest was adjusted. Like some knots was undown one by one. This time, I left the retreat so rejuvenated! 

But but but^^ I've just sitting one hour a few minutes ago, and the intensity of the heart-emptyness came back, not in force, but still a little bit disruptive. I fix my attention on my palm right now and the little anxiety decrease and I feel the "healing sensation" a little bit in permanence even if I'm not in sitting position.

I really hope I wasn't too boring writting this! If your still here, and if you have any thought about what I'm experiencing now, please leave a comment! :) Any input will be appreciated! I feel in control and happy of the healing sensation, but I try to interrogate some others vipassana meditators and they didn't seem to be confronted to the same thing that me. Is it because I had drug consumption? I had 2 major badtrips a few years ago on a mix of drugs. I was afraid that vipassana could have create more arm than good to me. But this time I want to sit 2 hours a day, and leave my addiction and start meditating seriously. I'm exhausted from the feeling of craving drug. I want the peace and delightful relaxation that is created sometime after my meditation.

May all of you be happy :)


Pacific Flow

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Re: Questions about vipassana practice (for quitting drug use)
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2015, 05:11:42 AM »
Puh. What a post! Quite heartbreaking to read what extreme's you are going through.
It is not easy to extract a concrete question to answer in your post.
Except maybe for this one: what you experience, does it have to do with what you have done in the past?
The answer to this is: of course! You are living a pretty extreme lifestyle. You manipulate your body, hormonal system and your mind with strong drugs, even with cocktails of several different drugs at a time. Do you really expect all this not to have an impact on the way your mind works?
Life does not work that way. Every little thing that you do will have an impact, and will be part of the forces shaping the future.
It is good that you want to make a change. The first steps are the toughest, but you are facing reality. That's good! But it's not going to be easy. Vipassana is not a quick fix. It's a longterm life project.
I read from your post that you have all kinds of expectations and that you interpret single sensations a lot. Some of them you want to get rid of.
I can relate to that. During my first 2 or 3 retreats i was also fighting a particular sensation, which was overwhelmingly unpleasant.
The secret is, you need to let all that go. Stop judging sensations. Stop wishing them away. Stop interpreting them. Just be aware of and accept whatever is there. Totally let go. Your mind doesn't want to stop doing that? Observe it. Be aware of it. Accept that fact too. Just accept everything. The sensations, the mind trying to get rid of the unpleasant sensation in the heart area.
Try not to see Vipassana as your drug therapy. It is more than that.

Finally, i once sat a 10 day course with a wonderful teacher in Germany. His name is Dr. Gerhard Scholz. He wrote his ph.d. thesis about the value of Vipassana in drug therapy. I had a horribly hard time on that retreat, and Mr. Scholz competently and compassionatly navigated me through the storm. Truely great dude. You might wanna read his thesis to get a broader understanding. Or maybe even try to sit a retreat with him.

I wish you all the best! Keep working on your peace. We need a slight tension to keep us going on the path, but besides that tension we need to relax and let go. Don't underestimate the relaxing part. It is truely important. Try not to force things when meditating. You would bang your head into a concrete wall.

You will succeed and find your peace, i am sure! Keep us posted here.

With Metta
« Last Edit: August 24, 2015, 06:21:01 AM by Pacific Flow »

Matthew

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Re: Questions about vipassana practice (for quitting drug use)
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2015, 03:32:48 PM »
Hi 2cdod,

I know two good friends who went cold-turkey from years of Heroin addiction, sitting in the Shambhala centre in Amsterdam. After a month of sitting, sitting, sitting they had both conquered their addiction forever. Neither has gone back and both still practice and now lead very meaningful lives.

You can beat addiction with Vipassana yet I wonder if a slightly softer, more relaxed edge to the practice than that taught at Goenkaji's centres would be more suited to this aim: you are learning to be gentle with yourself and accept with equanimity that which arises before turning to chemicals to stimulate or deflate your way out of situations.

Kindly,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

2cdod

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Re: Questions about vipassana practice (for quitting drug use)
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2015, 03:58:34 PM »
Thanks for your answers!

Quote
It is not easy to extract a concrete question to answer in your post.

Yeah I created this post mostly because I needed to talk. :)

Quote
I read from your post that you have all kinds of expectations and that you interpret single sensations a lot. Some of them you want to get rid of. I can relate to that. During my first 2 or 3 retreats i was also fighting a particular sensation, which was overwhelmingly unpleasant. The secret is, you need to let all that go. Stop judging sensations. Stop wishing them away. Stop interpreting them. Just be aware of and accept whatever is there. Totally let go. Your mind doesn't want to stop doing that? Observe it. Be aware of it. Accept that fact too. Just accept everything. The sensations, the mind trying to get rid of the unpleasant sensation in the heart area.

Thanks a lot for these advices, I recognize their wisdom. The intensity of the "heart-sensation" decreased a lot this retreat because I tried to do what you said : Don't wish the sensation to leave, accept it, just watch it. At a moment, I even sent metta to the sensation haha, if it has any sense^^ But I think I manage to overcome that sensation because with the help of EMDR psychotherapy. I feel that vipassana pratice as intensely isn't fitted for everyone. Retrospectively I felt that I was at the edge of harming more than healing myself. Anyways!


Quote
Try not to see Vipassana as your drug therapy. It is more than that.

I'm a sensitive person. My drug use was a way of protecting myself against the world. I understand now that using drug to protect yourself from life create more pain than benefits. Using drug crystallize emotions that are repressed, and these emotions try to be released soon or later. With Anapana and vipassana, I watch their effects on my body directly : There is no crystallization, but dissolution. It's clear for me now, meditation is the art of living I was seeking.

I'm so happy, I feel that I found a treasure. I'm still at risk with addictive substances, but I know a way out. Thanks a lot Matthew, you were some of the guys who convinced me that meditation can cure addiction with the example of your two friends (you told me the story of your two friends 1 or two years ago on this forum, the idea has caught on during this time :) ).

Quote
You can beat addiction with Vipassana yet I wonder if a slightly softer, more relaxed edge to the practice than that taught at Goenkaji's centres would be more suited to this aim: you are learning to be gentle with yourself and accept with equanimity that which arises before turning to chemicals to stimulate or deflate your way out of situations.
I'm trying right now to improve my metta meditation and focus it on myself, hoping less lack of self confidence (drug use obliterate self confidence in me). I agree that I have to be more gentle with myself.

Thanks a lot for all the wisdom, with metta.

 

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