The Root Of Addiction
All addictions embody a predictable cycle. Something triggers a need or craving that you reach for in the hopes it will make you happy. More often than not, the satisfaction or “high” is short-lived. Guilt, regret and shame set in with a resolve to stop, however when you’re triggered the next time, you fall into the same vicious circle. The key is not in the willpower to stop your destructive habit, or in the promise you made to yourself or others. It’s understanding that trigger and dissecting it.
The closer you get to the truth and the underlying reasons that you depend on something, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to stop the addiction. It’s extremely important to identify where your addiction is stemming from.
Recognizing the power that a substance, habit or pattern has over you is when you’ll begin to find the ability to break an addiction and move forward. You have to replace that power with your own inherent strength.
The Effects of Denial
Denial and addiction often go hand in hand. People choose to ignore the effects of an addiction. The consequences of this denial can potentially show up with dramatic results – your partner may leave, your health might deteriorate and/or you could lose your job.
Do some people find a method to integrate an addiction into life in a way that keeps them functioning? Yes, but what lies under the surface may very well be causing a lot of unhappiness and frustration.
Though our addictions need to be viewed through a lens of each individual, especially when there is denial and/or shame, the first step in tackling the subject is looking at how addiction makes us human. Problems on both a personal and cultural scale are born of addiction, but in order to create positive change for ourselves, and others, we have to accept addiction as something that connects us all. If the course towards combating addiction is fraught with avoidance, punishing self-criticism, or blame, the underlying causes of addiction are just strengthened. You may see temporary improvement, but the “roots” haven’t been dug up and understood. Real change is impossible without commitment, but with a gentleness and acceptance that must work in conjunction with the hard work.
Why does satisfaction and contentment seem illusive to so many people, and how does that impact addictive behavior? Amidst all the physical, psychological and spiritual questions and explorations on the subject of addiction, there’s the need to look at yourself in a way that you may not have been willing or able to do in the past. Addictions attempt to fill what seems empty or incomplete or alienated.
Change The Way We See Ourselves
Though we compare ourselves to others, and where and what we assume we should be, that feeling of incompleteness comes from inside. How we choose to react to the world is what fulfills us and makes the difference.
If we are attached to our desires we are letting the external define us. From there, it’s all too easy to become addicted to a cycle of struggle, when the answer lies within the whole time.
Ego and delusion are essential ingredients to addictions. Changing the way we see our place in the dynamic between who we are and the environment we find ourselves in is a large part of recovery from addiction. It’s a process that takes patience, commitment and compassion towards yourself. If you see life as a series of rewards and punishments (or self-punishments,) you won’t be able to break the evolution of addiction.
It’s my hope that the pages in the Addiction book will allow you to find some help, so you can see the abundance within you. No external substance or experience can define who you truly are.