“Jakob climbed the ladder of awareness to escape the hell of alcoholism.”
Magazine “Naisteleht”, September 20th, 2017
By Inga Raitar
Jakob Käba (41) is an inspiring example of a young man who pulled himself out of the depths of the hell of alcoholism with the help of awareness. “I’m still alive,” says Jakob, summing up his life-changing experience.
“People who struggle with alcoholism know that quitting drinking is a matter of life and death,” says the first-hand expert on this subject. Meeting Jakob, you would never guess that six years ago he had hit rock bottom. “Once you uncover the reasons you are drinking, and why they’re stopping you from quitting, then you can overcome them by yourself. The practical application of the Art of Conscious Change has literally given me a new life, and this is no overstatement.”
Jakob’s parents divorced because of alcohol problems when he was just eight years old. “I’ve let go of the things that made me suffer and identified the behavioral patterns adopted from my parents because I had no idea how to function without them. I didn’t know that you could break suffering down into small pieces,” says Jakob, a man of few words who speaks to the point.
Jakob’s father had a drinking problem which got so out of hand that it reached the point the family could no longer live together. Alcohol completely ruined his father’s health and his connection with others. “We moved to live elsewhere because my father turned violent. I felt guilty, and was saddened by the fights between my parents,” describes Jakob, who was the youngest child, and echoes the sad story that thousands of children of alcoholics share. “I couldn’t really understand what was happening, or why. All I could understand was that we didn’t have a good life like others did and that we were isolated from others too. I felt ashamed and rejected.”
Thanks to what he has learned, Jakob now realizes that it was the lack of caring, loving and supporting energies from his family during childhood which laid the foundations for his later alcoholism. “I had to manage by myself from quite an early age – to find something that would motivate and support me. A lack of awareness ruled my life: I couldn’t understand why certain feelings and thoughts were emerging, and wouldn’t let me be at peace, or see things for what they were. I wasn’t able to identify the processes happening inside, nor did I realize that I myself could change their course. I felt confused and afraid that I had no control over what was going on in my life.”
I didn’t know what to do with myself
As a boy at school, he had engaged in many activities to try and keep himself going. “I was constantly looking for something valuable in life, but at the same time I felt afraid, inferior to others, and had difficulties communicating,” says Jakob. “I had no support; nobody told me what was important in the world.” His search for support brought his teenage self to the Church, but he struggled to find a consistent source of inner strength there either. “I was looking for different alternatives that would set things straight in my life,” says Jakob. “I tried meditation, went to a few Opening Retreats, and read spiritual magazines and books, but my dissatisfaction with myself and my life just kept increasing.”
After graduating from secondary school, the tech-savvy youngster continued his studies at a university for Applied Sciences. Student life, however, often comes hand-in-hand with heavy drinking. “I realized soon enough that alcohol didn’t have a good effect on me, compared to others,” admits Jakob. “After drinking, I become different from most of my friends. The moods and behavioral patterns that manifest in me with alcohol are negative.” Having understood that alcohol released unwanted suppressed emotions from within him, the young man became afraid to drink with his friends, in case his behavior should get out of control. “The transition from laughter to aggression took place completely unnoticed, and once it had happened, I didn’t know what to do with myself.” Now, as a grown man, he dares to admit what was going on. “I had no idea how to direct my feelings. I felt that this was just how I was and that it couldn’t be helped. My guilt made me withdraw, and wallow in my negativity. It kicked off a period in which I convinced myself I was a suffering victim, and that this was my entire identity.”
The young man had a hard time communicating with people, couldn’t find any joy or meaning in his life, and was at a loss for how to carry on. “I managed with schoolwork through sheer willpower,” he says, describing how his habit began. “To keep myself going and motivate myself, my thoughts started drifting towards the bottle – more and more so, as time went by. Drinking became the only way I could unwind. When you’re drunk, there are no distracting thoughts and feelings; it offered an alternative to my constant state of anxiety and angst.”
Everything bad came from outside of me
Since drinking socially brought with it more and more problems, Jakob began drinking alone. “I enjoyed it a lot,” admits Jakob. “I could be in my own bubble, and drank increasingly often – as it gave me such a sense of satisfaction and pleasure.”
His life, however, was starting to unravel. “I got tense; I couldn’t be without drinking as I had so many overwhelming thoughts and feelings already on my mind at the start of the day, that I just couldn’t begin anything that needed to be done, nor communicate normally with anyone,” says Jakob, describing how things started to go downhill. “I got a strong urge to drink so that I could distract my attention from what was going on inside my head. I found more and more opportunities to drink alcohol during the day, even before noon.” As he was working shifts, having to spend one day at work and then having three days off, he could arrange his schedule to suit his drinking. “It felt good to drink because when you’re drunk, you don’t notice the unpleasant things in life. It’s as if you’re living in another kind of world that turns either beautiful or ugly, depending on what’s going on inside. And it can often be a long time before news of your drunken actions finds its way back to you.”
Jakob didn’t stay long working in the profession that he had studied for, as he felt it wasn’t right for him. “I was picky when it came to jobs,” he admits and describes what was going on in his head at the time. “It seemed that there were more and more things wrong with the world. I wasn’t happy with the surrounding environment; there was so much that would have needed to change for me to be able to find peace. Mostly due to my own warped view of other people’s behavior,” Jakob smirks, as he now more consciously analyses his past self. “Back then, it felt like others didn’t understand that I was a victim. Everything bad came from outside of me.”
Two forces pulling you apart
Since the city no longer felt fit for him to live in, Jakob decided to move to the forest and start building a farm. He found a girlfriend, and within a year they had had a baby. “My partner gave me my core strength; she assured me that I wasn’t totally alone – I was a normal person, just like everyone else,” speaks Jakob, candidly. “It was the support that mattered to me most. I had huge plans and started building a new house completely from scratch. But soon, cracks began to appear. The demons that had been temporarily overshadowed by falling in love started to rear their heads. I couldn’t give up the vice that had become such a big part of me, even for the sake of my family and child. My character changed; an alcoholic becomes very egoistic, as his world is formed of black and white. I was in constant need of satisfying my own wants, and it was very hard to take others into consideration.”
The construction project dragged on for seven years, never to be finished. “I knew how to manipulate myself and others, so I could avoid what needed to be done. I enjoyed being a victim, and telling others of my suffering,” he admits. “My family left me because I couldn’t keep my drinking problem under control.”
Living alone in the forest, he began to drink more and more. It went so far, that he was unable to last even a day without alcohol. “At the same time, I was so tired of it; I didn’t want it.” Jacob describes the inner battle that put him through hell. “On the one hand you can’t be without it, but on the other hand you don’t want it: there were two forces pulling me apart. It was as if I was pressed against a huge wall. I didn’t know what to do: I couldn’t go on, but couldn’t go back either. It was really bad. I understood that I had hit rock bottom and could no longer see the light. I could see no way of getting out, or whether there was even anything still left for me to live for.”
Through great willpower, he managed to hold down a job and earn enough to keep himself fed, avoiding life as a beggar. After having been separated for some time, Jakob and his partner reunited, on the one condition that he promised to tackle his alcoholism – to seek help, and find a solution. “I had no choice,” Jakob states. “I could either destroy myself by living alone in a forest or go and look for help, admitting that I had a problem I couldn’t deal with on my own.”
Rising from rock bottom through willpower and support
An alcoholic always puts off things which need to be done, and attempts to quit are no exception. “Today I’m finishing off that bottle of the finest wine, and then tomorrow I’ll quit – this was a very common way of thinking,” Jakob recalls. “But finishing that bottle of the finest wine could take months.” For Jakob, it was six months before he reached the doors of the local AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) group. “I went and stood behind the closed door, and kept inventing reasons not enter,” remembers Jakob. “But once I finally stepped inside, I was warmly welcomed. There were many different people from all walks of life, speaking about their problem. It was a very supportive environment, and I came to understand that I wasn’t alone. I also admitted that my problem was beyond me, and was unable to deal with it by myself. I made a commitment not to drink, and to attend the group regularly.” AA helped Jakob rise up from rock bottom, and his family life improved along with it. He recalls, “I forced myself to stop drinking through sheer willpower. Once I had been sober for a year, I got a medal from the AA Those were good times; I felt so motivated.”
AA had the effect of painkiller – allowing Jakob to focus his attention on finding the actual cause behind the pain, and suitable treatment for his illness. When he had finally left the worst behind him, he decided to attend a kriya hatha yoga class, which was taking place in his local area. He had wanted to try out yoga for a long time. “I still felt that I was a victim,” he reflects. “I knew that I couldn’t consume a single drop of alcohol, and I couldn’t go anywhere for fear of temptation. I wanted the life that everyone else was living. There was still no meaning to my life. I forbade myself to drink through willpower. I kept telling myself that I was an alcoholic, but I couldn’t drink because then everything in my life would end. I was sure that there was no cure for my illness, and that the only way to go on was to repeatedly tell myself that I wasn’t allowed to drink. The fear remained – had I changed my decision not to drink, my life would have ended.”
In the yoga class, Jakob felt an unexpected positive shift. “I got my body working, I felt calmer, and my desire for alcohol decreased quickly,” he says, describing his first rays of hope. “I no longer had to stop myself all the time. I became livelier, happier, my mood improved, and I could participate in life more fully. My yoga teacher Meeri, to whom I’m grateful to this very day, taught me much about thoughts and emotions, and how these could be distinguished and released. She gave me information about the Art of Conscious Change courses. Since I had decided to go down the path of changing my life and had gained the power to do so, I took this is as an opportunity to take the next step.”
You don’t have to suffer for the rest of your life!
Ever since secondary school, Jakob had been searching for something to make the world feel more meaningful. But nothing stuck, as nobody offered him any practical solutions to his problems. “When I first met Ingvar Villido, when he was speaking about the true nature of the human being at the Open Days event at Lilleoru, I realized it was this that I’d been searching for all along. So, I enrolled in the course. The first module of the Art of Conscious Change was so eye-opening,” remembers Jakob. “I found out that I wasn’t just one messy whole, but that if you distinguish between problems in your thoughts, feelings, and the body, and address each of them separately, then these problems can be solved. For the first time, I saw a glimmer of hope – that I could take control over my own life by using these techniques.” Jakob remembers how, as he was driving home from the very first course, he began to release the emotions which had been so difficult for him up until then. “The changes were rapid and intense – my life became instantly easier to manage. Others around me could notice it right away, particularly my family; I no longer had any problems.”
After the first course on releasing concepts, Jakob’s life, which had looked to him like a dark dead-end street until then, began to open up with new choices. “I could now clearly see the fears and desires that had forced me to drink,” says Jakob. “First I addressed the biggest and most forceful thoughts and feelings, which then allowed me to delve deeper. I felt at peace and could enjoy life once again. I was no longer a suffering victim, burdened by my troubles. I realized that I could control my own life; that it was all up to me. When I couldn’t deal with a situation, I studied it carefully and was armed with the right techniques to find a solution. It was so liberating to know that I no longer had to live with any problem as a mere witness to it, suffering it until the end of my life.” He started doing better at work, and his relations with his colleagues and communication skills improved. “I could see when the desire to drink emerged in me, and I could release it straight away,” tells Jakob. “I was no longer afraid of participating in social events, as once you’ve released your desires, you won’t get the urge for alcohol. I could now just peacefully watch others drink at my company.”
His confidence increased with every completed course. “I realized that I could deal with the urges as and when they emerged – I no longer needed to attend the AA meetings, as I was no longer an alcoholic. I have released the root issues behind the need to drink which were within me. I did it consciously, and it really worked. These techniques were so effective that the problem just disappeared naturally. Conscious change takes up as much time as you dedicate to it. It also depends on how big the burden is that you have gathered throughout your life, of course.
I know who I am and value my life
After completing the entire cycle of the Art of Conscious Change courses, Jakob was able to eliminate all the habits and activities he no longer needed in his life. “Through the techniques I learned, I re-discovered myself and saw that my life is valuable. This has helped me to lead a meaningful life, constantly improving myself and becoming a wiser person,” Jakob reflects. “I know how to overcome problems, rather than drown in them. Ingvar always gives such practical guidance. He gave me the gift of living my life through constant development and positive change.”
When Jakob realized how the Art of Conscious Change had helped him rise from rock bottom to overcome a hurdle that had seemed insurmountable, he understood that this knowledge was universally important, and could help everyone. “I must do something to help others learn this as well,” he resolved. This is why he started to volunteer to build the School of Practical Awareness at Lilleoru. “I want people who are in trouble just like I was to have the chance to learn how to harness their awareness for good. Helping improve the lives of others helps you succeed in your own life, and creates balance,” he says. “Life becomes simpler, clearer and therefore also more enjoyable. When you practice awareness, it seems so natural – you are experiencing what normal life is. I’m happy with what I have in my life. I see what else needs to be done to develop myself further. I can make realistic plans. The improvements in my life have enabled me to work more profitably, and develop myself professionally, while I used to just try to somehow make it through the working day. In the past five years, I’ve undergone a major change. I know who I am now. This is the most important thing I have to be thankful for. Practical application of the knowledge I received from Ingvar has literally given me a new life – without a doubt.”