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20 June 2024

Alcohol was destroying my life; meditation healed it

by Tracy Davis


From a very young age, I can remember feeling like I wasn’t good enough and didn’t belong. Constantly trying to seek attention and validation through people, places and things. Seeking fulfillment and happiness through relationships, careers, people pleasing, perfectionism, and more. As a result I experienced broken relationships, suicide attempts and alcoholism.

Desperate to escape the pain and suffering, I constantly pursued answers through self-help books, courses, counselling and a multitude of therapies. Although many of these efforts helped, I still felt lost and empty. Each day I relentlessly chased the illusion of happiness then self-medicated with alcohol to numb out the pain. Totally exhausting all avenues, I finally hit rock bottom over 9 years ago which resulted in rehabilitation.

Pursuing happiness in all the wrong places

For some reason, I thought that once I put the drink down, all my problems would be solved and that elusive peace and happiness would come flooding in. Well, I was in for a shock. As the fog started to lift, I was totally consumed in shame. Not having the emotional maturity to cope, I defaulted to my standard way of surviving by relentlessly pursuing happiness through external sources. I continued to run away. It was far more painful now as I could no longer reach for my medication – alcohol.

In desperation to find answers, I undertook therapy sessions, counselling and sourced specialist online courses. With awareness and some tools, I assumed that everything would be ok and I would finally reach that peace & happiness. Although there was definitely an improvement, I continued to struggle in many areas of my life and in particular experienced ongoing problems in a new and positive romantic relationship. I tried everything in my power to overcome these problems looking in, what turned out to be, all the wrong places through busyness, activities and work. I was continuing to run and hide.

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Finding out how my thoughts caused my pain

It was being forced to sit still during recovery from a hiking injury, that I was finally brought to my knees. I had nowhere to run. I was forced to just sit endlessly with myself and my mind. The pain was excruciating. It was during this time my mother brought to my attention a workshop she saw advertised on Facebook at Kadampa Meditation Centre, Spring Hill, titled “Love Without Pain”. Although feeling very despondent, the description of the workshop definitely spoke to me so I decided to register. What did I have to lose?

From this very first workshop, the impact was profound! I learned that all my pain and suffering was caused by my own thoughts and attachments. Not by anything external. How liberating! This simple truth meant that my pathway to peace and happiness was accessible through my own mind. I just had to learn how to control my thoughts.

Happiness in a state of mind

I have returned to the Kadampa Meditation Centre on many occasions - soaking up the teachings, community and refuge. Each time I attend, I gain a deeper understanding of the beautiful and simple truth: that happiness is a state of mind. Upon learning that meditation is the pathway to changing our thoughts, I started implementing this practice in my life on a regular basis, even though it still felt quite uncomfortable.

I started by doing short breathing meditations that I learned at the Meditation Centre. The internal peace I was beginning to experience since starting these short meditations was undeniable! It was quite amazing having battled with anxiety all my life. Seeking more, I was motivated to practice meditations on love and kindness that addressed problem areas of my life. Again overtime, the improvement that I noticed was undeniable, particularly in my relationship with my mother. I found that I was becoming less defensive and certainly more patient. I was becoming aware of my negative and angry thoughts and I was managing to change them to more loving and compassionate ones. I then started to notice that anger was my constant state of mind so through learning meditations to recognise and reduce anger, I am slowly improving my relationships with family, friends and work colleagues.


My journey home

As the weeks pass and I continue to meditate daily and attend the Kadampa Meditation Centre frequently, the transformation is truly beautiful and amazing. I am turning into somebody I actually enjoy spending time with. My shame is starting to slowly disappear. I no longer think less of myself but am thinking of myself less. Spending a life running and hiding is exhausting so the refuge I now seek through Dharma and meditation is healing my body physically, mentally and spiritually.

After witnessing the great power of Dharma and meditation, I am committed to continuing the path of developing greater peace of mind for the benefit of all living beings and myself. I finally feel like I am on my journey home to where I always belonged, one meditation and teaching at a time.

I hold much love and gratitude for the amazing Kadampa community.

Tracy Davis attends KMC Brisbane

Share Your Dharma Journey

If you have a personal story about the positive impact of Dharma in your life and would like to share it with the community, please feel free to reach out to us. You can submit your story by emailing it to [email protected]. We look forward to hearing from you and sharing your inspiring journey with others.