No Refuge

3 minute read

I went to Buddhist Recovery Sangha today. I still find the people a little weird. And I don’t necessarily relate to them. I still haven’t talked to anyone. But I find it more productive overall than regular AA - it’s less pep rally and more working the steps.

Since November is the 11th month, they are working Step 11 this month.

Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

Of course meditation is more or less the whole idea of Buddhism. So today was especially relevant. The facilitator opened with her own story. Which is one of the first things I was able to truly relate to in Recovery Sangha.

Her Story

Her parents divorced when she was 4. Her first few years of life were turbulent. And uncertain. Her Dad was verbally abusive and her Mom was (and still is) an alcoholic. She tucked herself in at night. She never knew if her parents would be present enough to take care of her. Of course this led to a very strong sense of insecurity.

Around the age of 8 she started using alcohol and drugs (she didn’t say which drugs but it sounded like weed). As a teenager she evolved to psychedelics.

She said that she wasn’t able to relate to people. But she wanted to find something to relate to, so she turned to ancient philosophy which eventually led to Buddhism.

I Can Relate

I never really thought about it before. But I’m in the same boat. My parents were preparing for their divorce the day I was born. My Dad was too busy with his mistress to even show up to my birth.

And it went down hill from there. I was too young to understand specifics but I remember a lot of shouting. And pain. When I was two my parents legally separated. My Mom lived with me in a studio apartment on the wrong side of town while battling chronic disease.

They eventually tried to reconcile. But it didn’t work. And it went back to more of the same. They eventually divorced.

My childhood was one of insecurity and uncertainty.

  • Would we have a working car?
  • Would my Mom be too sick to go to work?
  • Would we lose the house?
  • Would I be made fun of for my clothes and shoes (cuz we couldn't afford nice ones)?

My Mom turned to the Church for refuge. It may have worked for her, but it was toxic for me. It was more abuse.

I spent every other weekend with my Dad. Time with him was very unstable. He was (is) an alcoholic. He would blow up over anything (or nothing) and I never knew when it would happen. He watched what he wanted on tv. We ate what he wanted. Everything was about him.

These factors created a pretty toxic childhood for me. I didn’t have many friends. I was very overweight, which didn’t help my self image issues. I couldn’t relate to people. The friend I did have were as bad - or worse - then we were.

That said, my home was no refuge. I didn’t have a refuge anywhere. Not even my Moms home - which was a lot more safe and secure than my Dad’s - was truly a refuge. At my Mom’s I got beat up by religion. And at my Dad’s I was constantly on edge knowing that he could blow up on me at any second for no reason.

It wasn’t until high school that I started making some of the relationships I have today. And becoming more comfortable with who I am.

The insecurity, low self esteem and resulting lack of connection with others is what I was hiding from with my drinking.

I never really took the time to think about the root of my insecurity until the lady today shared her own experience with it.

Where To Go From Here

I don’t hold any grudges about this. At least not consciously. My relationship with my Dad isn’t the best, but that’s more his fault than mine. I’ve certainly tried.

But I do think knowing this. Being conscious of it. Can help me heal from the underlying issues.

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