When we hear the word 'addiction' in most people's heads pop up images of hardcore heroine users or drunk people who's lives are wasted, hiding in dark alleys, sleeping under a bridge. A result of fear-based programming that jumps automatically to a worst-case scenario. Alarm bells ringing, this is something we have to stay far from. And.. it is about 'them' not about us. Phew. We can relax and feel safe.
But, as we all know, addiction is not just about alcohol and illegal drugs. Addiction is about all kind of behavior that we keep repeating despite the negative effects it has on our lives, our families or our community. We name the Big 6:
These 6 are the most wide-spread, and you can see that we talk about all those things we use to do that are pretty much socially accepted, we might even be praised for it, but what in fact is a coping strategy to avoid the uneasiness of the present moment.
A sad fact is that many people need to hide their trauma and mental disorders, like social anxiety, high sensitivity or depression, because of the stigma attached to them. Stigma that only shows how unwilling we, as people in general, are to face and think about trauma and its consequences. Childhood trauma, war trauma, domestic violence to name a few. We rather do as if it is not our problem and carry on with our life in denial. Until we come to a point we can no longer live with the mask we have put on, but don't know how to live without it either.
Last week I read a quote from someone who stated that 'addiction in itself can be seen as a form of spiritual seeking, we just got on the wrong train'. I agree fully with that statement. As a living being we need love, but when we are looking for it outside ourselves, all we encounter is just a tiny hint of the real thing. It may be prestige, physical attraction or a temporarily altered state of consciousness. We might get an ego-boost from it, but in the end, as the ego tends to do, it leaves us feeling even more a separate person and more alone.
Real love and connection is to be found in our own hearts, by connecting with and honoring all that we feel, and in doing so we might realize that love is what we deep down are, our inseparable true nature.
When we talk about addiction or self-sabotaging behavior in people, we talk about people from ALL walks of life; factory workers, medics, dancers, teachers and royals alike. We are all feeling creatures and our uneasiness with certain feelings and emotions is mere proof of our ignorance how to deal with them. If denial doesn't work, we start to work harder, shop more or take a few pills more. Until we hit the wall.
And then we find out that we can recover. Everybody has resilience, knowingly or unknowingly, and with some help we can strengthen it. We can enjoy life looking it straight in the eye. We can feel whole again with a heart opened wide. Matured. Compassionate. Alive. It is all part of this immense adventure we've been born into, this human life; to find the way back to our hearts and rediscover how it is to be a sentient being.