Addiction, self-love and meditation
Addiction is a Dirty Band-Aid
An addiction is a loss of control over one’s behavior.
Our addictive behaviors don’t just randomly happen; they are a symptom of a deeper issue.
Why do we get addicted?
That scone, that cocktail, or that cigarette brings about a temporary cessation of suffering. They block sadness, tension, fear, pain, boredom, and anger. They numb and distract us from all negative emotions.
To put it simply, addiction is a coping mechanism. It allows us to trudge onward in life, but without really looking toward the deeper issues.
An addiction may be a short-lived, temporary cure for the pain - but, as we all know, it’s not a long-term solution.
Running to our addiction is like slapping a Band-Aid on the wound - a Band-Aid that is dirty. Over time, the wound gets infected with the dirt and grime, and it worsens rather than heals.
The Addiction is Not the Problem
Here’s the thing about addiction, dear friends: Addiction is not really the problem. Addiction is a glaring symptom.
If we can look deeper than the symptom and see the situation from a holistic point of view, then we may begin to bring about a resolution to much of the suffering in our lives.
So, what is the deeper issue? What lies at the root of addiction?
Ultimately, all addiction - no matter the type or the severity - stems from a lack of connection. When we feel disconnected from other people, from our society, from our deepest hopes and dreams, and from a sense of love, then this disconnection brings about powerful emotions. These emotions hurt, and so we run to the seeming solace of the addiction.
The addiction may seem, on the surface, as if it’s the problem, but actually, it’s not. The addiction is, in reality, a helpful pointer, showing us that there’s some internal healing we need to do.
The wonderful thing about addiction is that it is a powerful red STOP sign. It screams loudly:
“Look! There’s a problem!”
Addictions help us get in touch with our inner selves. Just like a cough helps us connect with the needs of our lungs (do I need fresh air? do I need more exercise? do I need to take certain herbs?), an addiction helps us get in touch with the needs of our heart.
Our heart is the seat of all emotion. Our heart is where feelings arise, are felt, and then released.
When we feel a lack of connection and love, we do not feel safe. We do not feel safe enough to explore the many emotions that can arise as human beings in our daily lives.
When we feel disconnected, negative emotions can feel overwhelming and scary. This is particularly true for those with abuse or trauma in their life history.
The addictive behavior is a misguided attempt to self-soothe. We believe that if we eat that scone or we drink that beer, then those scary emotions will stop and we will somehow be safe, somehow feel connected again.
But we all know that doesn’t work. What ends up happening is that, once the temporary high wears off, we are left feeling crappier than ever.
Addiction is not the problem. The problem, rather, is a false perception that there is no love, no connection.
MEDITATION IS MEDICATION!
Also: develop routines you enjoy, do things you love doing like walking in the park, swimming, painting, singing, or whatever gives you pleasure and well-being.
Develop physical strength, willpower and mental health by doing things like Yoga, QiGong, or any other form of active sport.
Love Yourself and Heal
A relapse is nothing to be ashamed of. It happens.
If you or someone you love has been healing a pattern of addiction, please know that patience is key.
The spiral of evolution will bring you situations that will test your courage and self-awareness. Sometimes you will succumb. And that’s okay!
If you wake up and suddenly find yourself acting in a way that you know is not your highest good, then congratulate yourself for waking up. Take stock of your long-term changes and pat yourself on the back for coming this far.
Notice how you can more quickly bounce back from the relapse, with greater levels of patience and self-love. Notice how awesome you are!
Ultimately, the journey of addiction recovery is a journey of healing. And it’s a journey all humans go through, as we refine to greater and greater levels what it means to love and care for ourselves.
Keep taking time to develop inner peace and strength through meditation/ mind training.
May all be blessed with peace, love and wisdom.