Article by Susan Rivera
“The opposite of addiction isn’t sobriety. The opposite of addiction is connection.”
As a Reiki master and a person in recovery from a drinking problem, I believe Reiki can be a powerful tool that can heal the root of many addictions: disconnection.
When I was drinking, it felt easier to connect with people – friends, family, co-workers, dates. I thought that I needed alcohol to let my guard down, to let other people in. I thought that only when I was drinking that I was truly myself; alcohol made me the outgoing, confident, social butterfly version of myself that I believed I really was. And because I believed I was the “real me” when I was drinking, I also believed that I made friends and connections easily. I met countless strangers at the bar during my drinking days, became instant best friends with them, had long heart-to-heart conversations and bare my soul – only to forget their names and what they looked like the next day.
This extended to my close friends too. After a night of drinking and long, heartfelt conversations with my closest friends, I would wake up and feel such shame. This wasn’t necessarily because I regretted what I said; it was that I said those things under the influence of alcohol. It didn’t really come from me; it came from the booze. So even while I had spilled my truth to my best friends, who I knew would never judge or criticize me for the things I said, it felt like I had betrayed myself; the honesty was disingenuous because it came from a place that was influenced by alcohol, not my heart. I couldn’t help but wish I could share those things and have those honest conversations without the crutch of alcohol.
I also didn’t have a connection with myself. I didn’t trust myself to make the right decisions, and I relied on others for validation and permission to do or not do a certain thing or feel or not feel a certain way. When I did hear the whisper of my intuition, I couldn’t listen to it. I brushed it away or chalked it up to being the voice of fear or doubt, or otherwise made some other excuse to not listen to what my gut instinct was telling me. Whenever any kind of emotion or uncomfortable feeling or situation came up, I couldn’t sit with it. My first thought was how fast can I get a drink? I didn’t want to be in my own body, in my own mind.
There was no connection to a higher being – I often use the word “universe,” which to me includes God, my spirit guides and all other helpful spirits. I wanted to believe more than anything that there was a higher being that was supporting me, holding me, guiding me. But it was only when I quit drinking that this connection truly presented itself, and I witness it every day.
With two and a half years of sobriety and a newly discovered passion for Reiki, I see just how closely recovery and Reiki are linked for me – in many ways – but in particular, with giving me a true sense of connection.
Connection with the universe
The “rei” in Reiki has many translations, but the one I love the most is “universal.” I look at the definition from a few angles. First, it means that the energy or “ki” is being guided by the universe, a higher being, a spiritual power. And since Reiki is channeled through the practitioner’s hands, the person receiving Reiki is actually receiving energy directly from the universe. The very nature of Reiki allows one to connect to the universe.
The second angle is that anyone can benefit from Reiki, and one of the most beautiful things about Reiki is that it always works. Always. Again, it’s universal. We may not experience it on a conscious level; it may be working behind the scenes to heal trauma, alleviate pain, ease anxiety. But no matter who is receiving the Reiki, or for what reason, they will receive the healing energy of Reiki. Reiki doesn’t leave anyone out.
Connection with yourself
Reiki has the power to clear blockages you might not even know exist. Once those blockages begin to clear and life force energy begins running more freely, it’s only natural to experience a shift in how you connect with yourself. The clearing of negative energy and the free-flowing life force energy creates space for you to develop a stronger, more trusting relationship with yourself.
This manifests itself in many ways. For me, I started to connect more strongly with my intuition. I listened more, I followed the guidance more, even if it was a breadcrumb. What I learned was that the more hints I followed, the more they came and the stronger they were. My intuition and I were learning to trust each other.
Connection to others
“We entered the room as strangers, and we’ll leave as best friends.”
As a Reiki master, I frequently attend Reiki shares with other practitioners. I have met the most amazing, warm, genuine people during these events. Sitting among a group of women I’ve never met, I feel heard, supported, and understood. Reiki shares have given me the opportunity to be vulnerable and create true, lasting connections – and I remember their names the next day.
Sobriety and Reiki. Reiki and sobriety. These two things are closely linked for me. Sobriety brought me to Reiki, and Reiki helps me to continue the healing process and provides a powerful tool that has been essential for me in my recovery journey. One of the many gifts of sobriety and Reiki has been the forming of deep, true connection – with myself, with God and the universe, and my people.
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Susan Rivera is a Usui Reiki Master and owner of New Lotus Reiki and Healing in Beverly, MA. She has always been drawn to energy work and found her calling as a Reiki practitioner after receiving a treatment and experiencing the benefits firsthand. She strives to do something each day that helps to balance her own energy. This includes self-Reiki, yoga, meditation, running, and going for long walks with her dog. She is a lover of words and an avid reader. She lives on the North Shore of Boston with her 6-year old black Lab Evie.
Contact Susan through her website www.newlotushealing.com/ or by email at email@example.com.