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Recovery and Rehabilitation

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Forgetting to look in recovery

About nine years ago I encountered John's work as I was looking into different approaches to self-inquiry, and I began practicing the looking very intently. I felt entirely sure that I was seeing myself, and it came naturally. I continued to attend "spiritual" retreats, but while others were practicing meditation, I would do the looking instead. A couple years later, triggered by a divorce and the death of my mother, my life seemed to fall apart completely and I fell into an extended period of alcohol abuse, accompanied by intense depression and anxiety. During this very long period of time I completely forgot to look.

Only recently, as I began to enter a different kind of recovery (the AA kind), I remembered to look again. Now when I'm in meetings, and others pray to a higher power, I do the looking instead. Once again it comes naturally and I've been doing it often.

I am wondering if forgetting the looking for so long is something others have experienced also. I can't help thinking that my seven year stretch of "amnesia" might mean I never got it right the first time, and perhaps I don't have it right now. On the other hand, I feel I am doing exactly what John has described. Grateful for any responses.

I did the looking, forgot about it, and came back to myself after a hellish time of recovery. It wasn't as long a period as you describe, but I did take up the looking again when I figured out what was happening to me. Interestingly my mother died as well in this process. My anxiety and depression, which was substantial, went away almost completely after 4 years. Since then life has ripened and is growing richer every day.

I'm glad you're on the mend. I believe we all go through this process differently, but that once we see ourselves, the truth, it grips us firmly and we can't wiggle away. The fact you came back to the looking probably indicates you did it right the first time. You may want to set up a phone meeting with John.

Dear delmogazi

Great to see you back!

Thank you Jackx and Carla. After some more looking, I do believe I'm on the right track. So good to have a community here. I wish I could find the "like" button so that I could like your posts back.

Dear delmogazi,

We're very happy you are here. Please post your questions, reports comments, whenever you feel like it. Your experience with the looking and the recovery is useful to all of us.

As for the Like button, look on the lower right corner of each posting, reply or comment and you'll see it right there, to the right of "Flag" there is a hand with a thumb up. Click on it to like that particular post, comment or reply. And if you click on the little box with a number right next to it, you'll see who liked that particular posting.

Hi Carla,

Not that it's very important to fix, but on my screen, when I view the postings, there's only Quote, Comment, then Flag and no thumbs-up. Just to let you know why I still haven't liked your posts!

Thanks for letting me know. The Like button actually does not appear for anyone but the Moderators. We'll do some research and see if we can figure out how to make the Like button appear for everybody.

Could anybody point me towards threads that discuss addiction and the recovery process? I fear I'm not "out of the woods" yet.


If you type 'addiction'; in the Search box on the top of the page and hit Enter (or click on the magnifying glass icon), you'll find many posts that discuss it. You can search for any word or combination of words. If you click on the little arrow next to the Search box, you can refine your search even more.

delmogazi and all,

The Like button is working now for everybody.

Hi Delmogazi, Jackx, John, Carla, and everyone here!

This thread really spoke to me because I experienced something very similar. I first came across John and the looking before he started calling it that, about 10 years ago. At this point I feel certain that I did the looking, and I continued to follow John as his way of describing this act developed away from the world of spiritual seeking into the much more practical thing that it is now. Everything John said about what it's like to be sane, and what it's like to experience life without the craziness generated by the fear of life, felt intuitively true and desirable to me. But even though I had done the looking repeatedly, I still felt miserable. I believe John has said the looking will cure you of the disease, but it takes a while for the symptoms to go away... Well, I felt anything *but* cured, and to be honest felt very little difference compared to before I had done the looking.

After that, I did not experience addiction myself but got into an intense relationship with an alcoholic and became deeply codependent, and like others forgot all about the looking. I also went through (a different) recovery in the Al-Anon 12 step program and my formerly actively alcoholic partner is now sober and doing great in recovery himself, but I have remained miserable in the same way as I was before the looking, even though my life circumstances have improved greatly in many ways. Recently the misery got to be such a problem that I've started flailing around for anything that might help, and came back to see what John was up to lately. A few days ago I listened to his podcast on self-directed attention, and I am starting to think this may have been the missing piece for me. I've been practicing the exercise of focusing attention on the breath, and outside of that exercise I am practicing becoming aware of what I am attending to and determining if that is useful to me or not, and at times (this is a hugely different experience for me) actually being able to decline to attend to thoughts/feelings/internal monologues that I see to be harmful.

I will be honest--for a while I felt rather disappointed and disillusioned about the looking. I always felt John and Carla sincerely believed in its effectiveness, but that for some reason it just didn't work for me. I am excited to give this approach another try with this tool to help me through as I (hopefully!) "go sane." I am very grateful to John and Carla for continuing to do this work, and for the support of this community. I hope to stick around this time, and to have good things to report.

Hi, teacup! It's great to have you back! Welcome!

Thanks Carla! I'm excited to be back. Good things are happening, I'll write more about it in a separate post.


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