“The greatest pain is not being loved for who we are in our naturalness.”
The word addiction is a Latin term describing a person who devotes or gives themselves over to someone or something; to become enslaved. It’s easy to apply this description to people facing extreme cases of addiction but it’s not as easy to admit we too may have some form of addiction. We can become addicted to anything including things like social media, cell phones, internet surfing, shopping, technology, books, exercise, TV, etc. If we do it to zone out, escape from or numb any unpleasant, uncomfortable or painful feelings it can easily become an addiction. After more than 20 years of working with and counselling people on this subject, I haven’t met anyone who isn’t dealing with addiction on some level. Level one is the experimentation stage of looking for satisfaction, relief or escape, while at Level five the addictive behaviour is an engrained pattern becoming a way of life. At level ten all hope has been forfeited in lieu of complete surrender to the addiction.
We learn and grow through the process of life experience. Some experiences and lessons are easy or fun; some are difficult, painful and remain unresolved. Whenever pain is felt, the natural impulse is to avoid, run away or suppress these feelings. The greatest pain is not being loved for who we are in our naturalness. This lowers our self-worth and self-esteem, diminishes our self-love and creates negative core beliefs about ourselves. These beliefs become our truth, distorting our perception of reality and who we think we are. These beliefs cause continuous discomfort and pain like infected, festering sores that never heal. Since we instinctively want to escape the pain, we seek relief by experimenting with various substances, behaviours and techniques until we discover what works best. At first the behaviour appears innocent, as we enjoy the comfort it brings. Believing we have it under control, we placate ourselves with phrases like, “I can quit anytime” or “I do it because I enjoy it.” As we give the behaviour more importance, it roots itself deeply into our daily routine and turns into an addiction. For some, one addiction may suffice while others may choose to engage with multiple addictions.
The enemy is not the substance or the behaviour, it is the uncomfortable emptiness that becomes so unbearable, we look for ways to fill the hole and end the suffering.
All addictions are based in a behavioural or substance dependency, created either physiologically or psychologically. This dependency evolves into a repetitive compulsive need in our lives, cycling in an endless loop containing 4 phases.
Phase one is pre-occupation. We feel an uncomfortable emptiness or hole we don’t know how to deal with. Our minds become engrossed with obsessive thinking. We are pre-occupied with how the pleasurable rush from our addiction will take the discomfort away. The pre-occupation intensifies, fuelling the need to use.
Phase two is ritualization. We create an increasing arousal, stimulating more excitement about the way we are going to do our addiction. Our minds are filled with countless rationalizations, convincing ourselves with all the reasons why our addiction really works for us and why we need to do it.
Phase three is acting out the compulsive behaviour. This is the secret world of addiction. It is the hidden side of our dual life we never share with anyone. Here we become isolated, distancing ourselves from others as we turn our attention inward, solely focusing on our addictive behaviour. Although we are partially aware this only provides a temporary fix, by this time we believe we have already gone too far, therefore we’re compelled to do it anyway.
Phase four is despair. Every time we are in this phase we lose a little more hope and power to the addiction. We believe we will never heal or break free from it. The despair deepens, self-esteem and self-love are diminished and the pain from the gaping wounds of the past worsens. We convince ourselves our only salvation is through our addiction. We loop back to the first phase of pre-occupation, misguidedly intent once again on escaping from and numbing our pain.
Addiction is not a disease!
Addiction is not a disease, in fact any addiction can be healed and transformed. This is totally contrary to the philosophy and approach of the more popular and yet unsuccessful Addiction Rehab and 12 Step Programs. Their philosophy is based in a false logic, believing an alcoholic is forever an alcoholic, never to be cured and never to drink again. If this is so, then where does that leave the food or sex addict? Are they never to eat food or enjoy the pleasure of love making again for the rest of their lives? It is absurd and disrespectful to treat an addicted person as a diseased victim, sentenced for life, to cower under the ominous shadow of their chosen vice. This is an insult to humanity. It defeats the human spirit’s ability to rise above adversity.
Addiction is a pattern of behaviour so deeply ingrained in the body that it dictates what the body must have, when it must have it, how often it must have it, etc. The addictive behaviour develops neural pathways or memory programs in the brain, reinforcing the body’s pattern of need. This does not constitute a disease but rather a chronic behavioural condition which can be addressed, corrected and healed.
Only two elements are necessary to effectively correct and heal addictive behaviour. The first is our willingness to face the cause of our addiction, with the understanding, if we created it we can heal it and let it go. There are no quick easy fixes or magickal short cuts. It is a step by step process of peeling back the dysfunctional layers of addictive behaviour and negative beliefs, to get to the core issue. As each layer is peeled away, we experience a transformational process of healing the pain, gaining more insight and inner strength to help remove the next layer.
The second element, is getting the right kind of experienced help, support and guidance to take us through the healing process. A qualified facilitator will help us tap into our vast resource of personal power to heal. Everyone deserves to live a life of happiness, love and abundance. We can no longer afford to believe we have no other choice than to be an addict for the rest of our lives because of all the previous disappointing failed attempts to heal our addictions. We don’t need to risk losing the people we love and care about, our jobs, our homes and our precious self-worth. We do have a choice and yes, we can be happy again. The power is within us to magickally transform our lives and go after what we dream for ourselves. There is no better time like the present to take the steps to make this happen before we let more precious moments of our lives slip away.
May you Walk in Beauty Lou Worldweaver