Alcohol, cigarettes, sleep, sex, food, sugar – the list goes on. People today are strongly addicted to one or more objects that give immediate but fleeting pleasure.
8-Step Programs, rehab, support groups, de-addiction medicine, counseling, herbal remedies – this list goes on too. Solutions to addiction are a dime a dozen and their success rate is very poor.
Why is this? It is because these solutions seek to substitute the addiction with something ‘better’. They try to add to subtract.
If you look closely, you will find that the very root of addictive behavior is to substitute a negative emotion or thought with something ‘better’. Addicts are already doing the very thing that they are told to do to be free from addiction!
In truth, we are attempting to remedy our own fundamental inability to be at peace with ourselves.
The intelligent thing to do, when we see the repercussions of our addictions on ourselves and our loved ones, is to understand why we are doing it.
Trying to stop it ‘cold turkey’ or adding some other ‘positive’ element to our life instead will never really work. This is because we are addressing the symptom, not the problem.
It is like giving more gas to a car that is refusing to start. It may work once or twice, but you are not solving the actual problem under the chassis.
Addiction operates under a similar principle. Until you understand WHY you are addicted, you will never be free from its cycle. What makes it worse is that it is self-fulfilling. The same emotion – which is to get ‘better’ – that is behind de-addiction theory, is behind addiction itself.
That is, the need to feel good and not bad. To seek pleasure and to avoid pain. If we keep substituting and morphing the different kinds of pleasures and pains with one another, we will be stuck in this vicious cycle.
The whole issue stems from a rather simple inability to be at peace with oneself. A cigarette smoker is not comfortable with the moments he has nothing to do. He develops a habit of smoking. An alcoholic is troubled by his own emotions or thoughts. He turns to the bottle to forget himself. A sex-addict simply feels that he is not good enough on his own. He has a constant desire to be sexually involved with someone else.
But here’s the great thing. As you become aware of this pattern, you start to understand yourself. This understanding that re-directs energy from ‘solutions to a problem’ to ‘the problem’ and ultimately to your own simple existence, is an open secret that can transform not only your present addictions, but your addictive personality as well.
As you become aware of your own self, you realize that it is still, intelligent, and full of life. You realize that it is self-contained, and that you can actually ‘live’ there. You don’t need to move from it constantly to feel comfortable. It has simplicity, solidity, and a quality of strength that is relaxing.
If you are comfortable with your experience of yourself as you are, you will not become an addict. You can enjoy a cigarette or a glass of wine, but without it you are just as happy.
This is the true meaning of de-addiction. It is coming to terms with what is and who you are and learning to be comfortable and to live there. Addiction is not a problem and would never have been considered one if people didn’t claim to have solutions to it. It simply needs to be understood deeply and personally.