My Ruminations: Discontentment In Recovery


As a recovering alcoholic faced with his emotions I can tell you that finding inner peace is not an easy thing.

I talk with  my therapist about this all the time:  “Why can’t I just wake up one day and just be content for the entire day?”

It seems that no matter what activities I surround myself with:  AA Meetings, reading the Big Book, listening to my music, blogging, even former relationships, I am still left with the gnawing in my gut.

I still feel irritable and restless most days.  This pisses me off!  Although I am surrounding myself with activities, I am still restless and dissatisfied.  And then, when I went skiing yesterday, I came across a possible reason.


View From Loon Mountain Saturday

I still haven’t found my Higher Power.  I think my Higher Power might actually be nature.  When I was standing on top of that mountain, breathing that crisp New Hampshire air, I felt that elusive peace I have been searching for.

I have not found this peace in the Bible, the Quran, the Big Book, not in any of the other activities I have yet pursued since coming out of jail in October.

Now, obviously I can’t be in nature 24/7, so how do I sustain this peaceful contentment?  How do I keep my afflicted mind from taking over and sitting on the throne all day, ruling my emotions?  Well, I think I know how:

Meditation.  I can meditate myself to any place I want to go.  I was meditating all the time at my previous program.  I stopped meditating because I’ve used the excuse that I have no privacy.  Well, I have to make privacy.  I have to find a way each and everyday to meditate so I can join nature.


I think I did a post a few months back on what nature has meant to me throughout my life.  I feel that oneness I long to feel with the universe when I am fully present in nature.  I feel as if I journey home when I immerse myself in nature.  And, if I can’t get into nature, I know I can get there through my mind!

So today, it’s back to meditating!  It’s back to nature.  By doing so I come back home to myself!  At least that is what I am thinking.  I’ll keep you posted.


  • I love this post. Remember this post Rob? You can go anywhere…. anywhere in the world. Just like that you can be standing at a lake fishing with your best friend. Just close your eyes and meditate.

  • I’ve had some trouble with the higher power part as well. At this point it’s mostly just a higher calling, sometimes a way to put the rest of my life into a simpler context and other times it’s a way to clear my head and focus on what needs to be done at the moment.
    I suspect it evolves over time.

    • I like your thinking on this. It makes good sense. I nearly spit my chocolate milk out over your kabob stand comment. Omg, too funny. I don’t comment right now because they’re all going to spam folder dammitt! Akismet is “working” on it…for the past 7 days 😬

  • Nature is my higher power as well.

    I love that you brought that up in the context of AA because I’ve always had a skeptical view on “the need for a higher power to take the wheel” in someone’s means of managing their substance abuse.

    I am an alcoholic as well, and for me the idea that I can’t do it on my own is –the last– thing from empowering me to succeed. What I feel would be a more pertinent conceptualizations, is exactly what you seem to be getting at here. Using a connection with nature our contemporary society has painstakingly removed us from.

    We aren’t made for the world we exist in now. It only makes sense that reconnecting to our natural habitat would benefit us and empower us to thrive.

    • Yes, we can do it on our own but we must accept a power greater than ourselves to do it. To me talking with nature is the highest power there is. I’m not as concerned with who created it, I’m interested in getting back to it!

      • I’d argue we don’t need to reach outside of ourselves. What we need is there all along, we just need to be mindful and present. Process what’s harming our insides.

        Although, our identities are only an amalgamation of our surroundings we ventriloquize out of us.

        So I suppose, under that logical — that’s all we ever do; appeal to outside powers. I don’t know if I would consider them “higher” though 😛

      • Linguistics is most definately a personal choice. I’m not one to over generalize labels, terms, or inferences that’s for sure

  • They say, “There is a reason for everything.” It’s interesting that you’re currently saying everything that I’m feeling. For me, however, all these years and I still have not found MADE the time for daily meditation. However, those days that I do, I’m relieved of the stress in my life. I imagine a white screen letting my thoughts just go and go without worrying about what specifically they are, then they are gone. I even copies your “15 minutes of mediation songs” to help, yet I haven’t done it. I really should do this more often, yet I don’t. So much of your post resonates with me. Thank you for posting. I needed to hear my own words right in front of me.

    • I am so glad this resonated with you mikey. It’s funny because once some of us find what we know to be the right things to do for wellness, the next level of difficulty seems to be incorporating it. I made a deal with my therapist on Friday to do these things, as my discontent and irritability have been growing. So I told her I would attend at least two AA meetings–just went to one this morning–meditate 4 times this week (I will be later today)–try to do physical fitness. I have to figure out the logistics of the YMCA locally. I am bound and determined to find it. If I don’t start applying these practices, what’s the point of my sobriety? I have discovered that alcohol was not the problem, I was the problem, I have to do the work to change my inside condition. In order to do that, I need to maintain my gratitude, acceptance, which in turn will turn into contentment. The Higher Power piece is critical and I think to tap into that I need to be in nature and to tap into my innermost self through meditation. Don’t forget, I have an entire meditation playlist on our youtube channel as well. Let’s make a deal together to start meditating TODAY!

  • I hope you find your inner-peace. I really do.

    • Well it is a lifelong pursuit for all of us at one level or another, no? I am under no illusion that suddenly I am going to be at peace for the rest of my life, but I know it’s possible to know how and where to find it. Once I find it, my lifelong struggle will then be to keep it lol

  • I can really relate to this. I feel like I have a serious nature deficiency going on and I’ve been too busy drinking to realise it – for years now. I also can’t imagine being without meditation in my life. Take care, be well 🙂

  • You can work too hard at your recovery and go into overload. Surrounding yourself with activities that are related to your recovery can result in irritability and restlessness. Having a break from it all, especially when you get next to nature is very beneficial. It is a wee bit like moving a radio with static interference to another area where it can function properly.

    It is normal for you to feel the way you have been feeling.

    The higher power you seek is not far away, it is within you. The more you are at one with nature, the clearer your vision will become.

    Never forget, even when you are making good progress, the journey you are on is long and arduous and there will be days when you will be taking a step backwards instead of forwards.

    • Ronnie thank you very much for your perspective; I completely agree and it is outstanding advice. I do think tapping into nature is key for me. The other activities do not seem to quench that endless thirst as much as nature seems to do for me. Thanks so much for the great insight!

  • Being on beach is always very spiritually grounding for me (all those summers on Cape Cod I guess!) I will keep this thoughtful an illuminating post in mind.

  • Nature is a wonderful place to connect. It’s usually quiet and peaceful. It tells me there is much more in God’s world than just me. Life got a lot simpler for me when I gave up the search and realized HP is always within and always ready to talk to me. That was tough considering the “rigorous” religious training I had as a child. You are sounding great in your posts. Keep the faith.

  • Wow, do I ever know that nagging feeling of what am I missing. I sense a blog post here-Thanks for the inspiration Peace be with you brother.

  • I second Peter’s hope. Nature makes us feel part of the grander picture. Reminds us we’re part of a planet. The mountains and the oceans always bring me that kind of peace, too.

  • I hope you soon find your inner peace Rob.

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