Updated: Apr 22
Addiction is everywhere
In a modern society fuelled with consumerism and instant gratification, addiction is everywhere. When people say “addiction” most people think about drugs and substance abuse, but an addiction can come in any shape. We can be addicted to food, controlling our food, caffeine, mobile phones, social media, video-games…
An addiction is anything that we repeatedly use to avoid the uncomfortable feelings that are present within us. When we feel discomfort, the automatic response tends to be to attach to something external that we think will shift our feelings for us.
Attaching to anything will leave us in a perpetual cycle of suffering, needing, lack and unhappiness. Instead of feeling and releasing what we need to, we end up grasping on for dear life at anything and everything external to ourselves, and consequently rocking more and more out of balance - both internally and externally.
Addiction is a strong form of attachment
In our blog “The real meaning of attachment”, we go deep into the nuances of attachment and outline its basic definition; to give something a disproportionate meaning that is personal to you. Addiction is, therefore, an intensely strong form of attachment.
You might give your addiction meanings such as: “because it calms me down” “because it makes me feel okay” or “because it helps me socialise”. This meaning is usually given because you feel incapable to process or accept uncomfortable feelings and do not feel whole, but when that meaning becomes a part of your identity it can feel incredibly difficult to remove.
Your cravings are the “voice in your head”
What we resist will always persist. The more a feeling is avoided, the stronger that feeling rises up, demanding to be felt, and, to combat this, the louder the voice in your head will become.
“This will make you feel okay” “This will make you calm” “This will help you to be social” “You can only function when you do this” “This will help you sleep” “Go on… just one more.”
Does this sound familiar? Whilst these thoughts from that “voice in your head” might feel comforting at first, the big lie you often tell yourself is that this voice is a friend. This is not true. It is the same voice that will punish and bully you as soon as you’ve listened to it, creating a perpetual cycle of inner conflict.
We need to feel our pain rather than listen to the voice
If you are really, truly honest with yourself, you will notice that the reason you are repeatedly paying attention to this voice, is because you are avoiding the uncomfortable emotions inside you that you’d prefer to not be alone with. It is much easier to listen to the voice in your head than it is to accept your emotions.
You may have heard the saying "x y z isn’t the gateway to addiction, trauma is" and there is a lot of truth in this. Almost all addiction comes from unprocessed trauma that we avoid rather than accept and release.
We need to spend time with our cravings without satisfying them. We need to be able to sit with all of our discomfort to be able to understand, feel and release to the root of the pain.
To give into addiction is to abandon yourself
The reality is, to give into addiction is to abandon yourself; it is to deny the parts of you needing the most acceptance, the attention and love only you can provide.
The only way to break the cycle of addiction is to starve that craving voice in your head of the fuel that keeps it talking. When you pay less attention to that voice and more attention to your emotions, your emotions naturally change, shift and transform of their own accord.
The more you can practise allowing your inner state of being to transform through acceptance and healing, the more you will understand that the meaning you gave to your addiction was nothing but an illusion and an excuse to avoid the experience of feeling what you wanted to bury and hide.
Nothing external is needed to transform your state of being
If you are buried deep within the intense attachment of an addiction, the most effective path to recovery is exploring and committing to practises of non-attachment and awareness, but most importantly, setting aside time to spend with your emotions even if they are painful.
This doesn’t have to be an activity you do alone, and much of the time recovering from an addiction is best done with as much support as you can get. The release of inner pain, particularly when your traumas are deeply embedded, can be a challenging and extremely intense process that is confusing to navigate. This is especially true in a world that was built to fuel addiction rather than to heal it.
Along the path of finding your way through the rocky road of healing, it’s important to realise the truth behind it all. Nothing external is needed in order to change your inner state of being. Just you. You do not need your addiction, because you are whole as you are, and the pain that you are feeling and releasing is temporary.
Only you can be the one to make that choice to take back your power, and to kick-start the process of adding real joy, happiness and fulfilment back to your life.