Reading as Meditation

Finding My Voice, Finding My Calm: Reading and Sobriety

For years, the voice in my head was a relentless echo chamber of anxieties and frustrations. It fueled my dependence on alcohol, a temporary silence button that muted the noise but ultimately made everything worse. It wasn’t until I got sober that I truly realized how much I’d lost touch with myself, with the quiet wisdom beneath the constant chatter.

Sobriety presented a vast, unfamiliar landscape. The raw emotions that alcohol once numbed were suddenly front and center. It was overwhelming, like stepping outside after being locked in a dark room for years. How could I possibly silence the storm raging inside?

I started doing what I’ve always done best. I began to read.

I read Dry: A Memoir. I read Drinking: A Love Story. I read Unhooked: Staying Sober and Drug-Free, How to Stay Sober: Recovery without Religion, and Goodbye Hangovers, Hello Life: Self Help for Women. But wait! I read more. I read Lit: A Memoir, SOS Sobriety: The Proven Alternative to 12-Step Programs, Alcoholics Anonymous, How to Quit Drinking without AA: A Complete Self-Help Guide, Overcoming Your Alcohol, Drug & Recovery Habits: An Empowering Alternative to AA and 12-Step Treatment, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, Living Sober, The Little Red Book, Turnabout: New Help for the Woman Alcoholic, A Skeptic’s Guide to the Twelve Steps, and The Zen of Recovery. I read Dry: A Memoir again.

With each book, with each attempt to focus on the page and the present moment, a sliver of calm began to emerge. It wasn’t a complete silence, not initially. The voice was still there, but its volume seemed to decrease. I started to observe my thoughts rather than get swept away by them.

Reading became a refuge, a safe space to acknowledge the cravings that arose without judgment. By focusing on the printed page, I created a buffer between myself and the urge to reach for a drink. It wasn’t a magic bullet, but it was a tool, a way to interrupt the automatic pilot that had long controlled my actions.

My self-awareness deepened. I began to recognize the triggers that fueled my cravings – loneliness, stress, boredom. Loneliness. This newfound awareness empowered me to seek out healthier coping mechanisms. I reconnected with old friends and rediscovered the joy of creative expression. I began to write again!

This journey of sobriety is a constant work in progress. There are still days when the voice gets loud, when cravings feel overwhelming. But now, I have the tools to manage them.

Sobriety has given me my life back. It has given me my voice. It’s the voice that speaks of hope, of resilience, of the possibility for a brighter future. This is my story, and it’s a story of finding both my voice and my calm – one book at a time.

This might feel more like a personal story than a traditional meditation guide. But for me, reading can be a powerful form of mindful reflection. Perhaps this story will resonate with you too, sparking introspection and a sense of calm.

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