I have been on a journey to end certain addictions in my life for a while now.
I think I’ve done a pretty good job so far, I have completely recovered from an opioid and heroin addiction.
But now what remains are things like marijuana, TV and coffee.
What path would you suggest for healing through my hidden subconscious reasons for these addictions?
From what I have seen in the deep hidden psyche of my trauma recovery clients is that addictions are all about control and coping.
First let’s touch on control.
How do addictions relate to the need for control? Aren’t addictions the opposite of control?
I certainly feel like I have lost all of my control when I spiral down into addiction land again, whether that’s with sugary foods, pot use, TV watching, shopping or even the addiction to eat super healthy or drink double my weight in ounces of water a day (yes, addictions show up in EVERY form).
When thinking in terms of the Law of Attraction we can recall that the Universe gives you more of what you give your attention to.
If I am in a rush for a meeting or appointment I get every damn red light on the way and hit every traffic obstacle known to man. Why?
Because even though I might be saying “Please be green! Please be green! Get me there fast! Get me there fast!” My energy and emotions are still fixated on being late.
So guess what I get? Red lights, slow traffic and being late.
Let's draw the parallel here to addiction.
When we grow up in an environment where everything or many things seem completely out of our control - like our living situation, deaths of those close to us, illness or abuse...
Or we are simply repeatedly receiving the message that we have absolutely no control over our choices in life...
We become subconsciously fixated on the need to gain some sort of control in the chaos.
And our inner being is constantly in a state of “Not the chaos! Stop the chaos!”
What ends up happening is that because our inner energy is so fixated on chaos, we continue to create more of it.
We then develop behavior patterns that give us a false sense of control.
One of those is often rebellion.
- “If I am not like them, if I don’t do everything they want me to, if my life doesn’t look like they want it to look... then Ha! I’m the one in control here.”
Doing drugs, taking in too much coffee or television feels like this rebellion. It feels like independence because we probably didn't get to feel what healthy independence felt like growing up and rebellion feels closest to the feeling we're seeking, which is true freedom.
This rebellion is our form of control.
Because we have such a deep seeded need for control we end up pushing control further and further away from us.
How is that? Well, anything in life that we just “have to have it, have to have it,” we will push away from us.
Ever notice how as soon as you stop wanting a thing it’s available to you?
Like the romantic partnership or the lost remote control.
This phenomenon is exactly why. The feeling of “needing” something to be whole or complete means we are attached to it.
Being attached to it means we are internally focused on resisting and fighting against the opposite of it. Even though externally it appears we are fighting for what we want.
Whatever we resist persists and whatever we fight against the Universe thinks we want more of it.
(Unless standing up for a cause with conviction and when energies are in the right place about it... hmm… maybe we need an article on standing up for a cause with the LOA on our side? Sorry - Squirrel! Now back to it...)
If you shout “yes” at something the Universe and your subconscious mind think you want it, and conspire to bring it to you.
If you shout “no” at something Creation and your psyche know that you’re giving a lot of attention to something - and therefore you must want to create and attract more of it into your life!
Shout “yes” get an increase, shout “no” get more of the same.
If you’re caught up in addiction and shouting for more freedom and choice in the world it most likely means you're fighting against chaos.
Fighting against chaos means you get more of it because your inner self is shouting “No more chaos, no more chaos!”
Since the Universe can't interpret negatives, it translates this to mean "More chaos! More chaos!"
Growing up most of us aren’t given the Handbook for Healthy Coping.
Our family and society tries, and they do the best they can.
Maybe you were given a religious text or your support persons had certain practices that helped you sort through the meanings of life’s ups and downs or gave you a sense of purpose, peace, clarity, stability and confidence.
But there were bound to be some aspects of life that caused imbalances in your trust or faith that created a need or desire to look outside yourself for approval or ways of managing tension or strain that were not healthy.
The ways of coping we witnessed growing up were not always focused on developing genuine self love, cultivating compassion and encouraging grace for moving through the natural difficulties inherent in this life in the Earth School (as Gary Zukav refers to life).
We learn to cope with the lack of control we feel over the direction our lives are going, by resorting to unhealthy ways of interacting with the environment and people around us.
We learn to manipulate life and people to gain some of this control we’re lacking.
We turn to rebellion and escapism because we just can’t take it… or so we believe.
We develop beliefs that say “I just don’t have it in me to deal with this.”
But that is only because no one got the handbook!
So what now?
Well, we start with ourselves.
We have to write the handbook. We are here in the Earth School to create that handbook.
We have to be 100% focused on developing systems, healing mechanisms and coping patterns that serve our evolution.
Caroline Myss talks about the difference between the will to just live (like 'not die') and the will to really heal. Theres a difference between simply 'not dying' and being in a state of full health.
Did you know that these are two totally different things? Survive and just get by or thrive and excel.
When caught up in addictions we need to first commit to doing all that is necessary to heal and thrive, not just simply get by.
This means devoting and dedicating time to ourselves for self-love practices.
It means embarking on a quest to find what works for us and replace what has been missing all this time.
This requires us to drop away all that wasn’t working for us before and all that encourages our addictions
- so-called “friends” who are unwholesome or are not on the path to self awareness and a thriving life;
- TV shows that perpetuate our focus on trials and drama;
- job environments that are toxic
- the excuses we make to turn to our addictive behavior "just one more time"
- the loneliness and isolation that perpetuates our depression
We then have to fill those voids with a dedication to something, or multiple somethings, that are positive, inspiring and uplifting.
For me this looks like visiting my local Temple for meditation 1-2 times a week and attending meetings there.
It looks like learning a lot about mindfulness and the philosophies found in the Buddhists texts and in the Bible, astrology and the tales of Hindu Gods and Goddesses, Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr. and others.
It looks like following major thought leaders who conveyed their versions of the handbook, so that I can borrow from them and create my own.
We weren’t given the proper coping mechanisms that teach us how to deal with life as it comes, how to accept and work with what is there...
So... our mind believes that the only way of coping is to control.
This comes out in so many forms
- from drug use to workaholism,
- to overextending ourselves in charity work
- to having an excessive number of children
- to gossip
- to over-exerising
- and eating disorders
- controlling our partners or children
- and on and on...
Everyone has some of this need for control to some extent.
My suggestion is this: begin a journey of mindfulness meditation.
Building a dedicated and regular mindfulness practice will give you the backbone to cope.
It will help you manage your entire life in new ways.
Mindfulness opens your psyche to a whole new world of existence, it’s like an alternate reality that isn't alternate, it's more Truth than any truth you've ever known.
Sitting on the cushion (or chair or bed or floor) every day for a set amount of time shows the Universe you are dedicated to you.
The activity commands your psyche to let go of believing
- there’s no time or
- that you aren’t important or
- that it constantly has to be hypervigilant, alert and perfectly in control at every second of every moment.
Sitting down with yourself in this compassionate, loving way signals faith. "Universe you’ve got this," we say, “I can close my eyes for 5 minutes (or 20 even!) and the whole world will not fall apart.”
Also work with these affirmations by saying them to yourself at night before you go to bed. And if you wanted to add in some imagery with them like imagining color moving through your body as you say them, that's even better!
I am willing to release the need for this in my life: (say each one separately, I am willing..., I am willing..., I am willing...)
- Mistrusting myself to handle things effectively and cope healthily
- Being unsupported spiritually and emotionally
- The need to control the external
I reclaim my birthright to:
- Full spiritual and emotional support - from within and by developing a community of strong supporters around me
- Developing and cultivating healthy coping skills for life’s challenges
- Trust in myself to handle and cope
- Focusing on controlling the internal (the only thing I can really control)
- Letting my guard down and just living
- Feeling safe and trusting life’s path
New conclusion/Updated Belief System:
- Everything is as it is, I am stable and I can handle things
New decisions about how to live life:
- I am looking at unpleasant feelings and emotions as impermanent
- I am making the time to develop and cultivate healthy coping mechanisms and build healthy coping systems and strategies I can rely on
- I am willing to put forth whatever effort necessary to do so
Try noticing where the old beliefs and patterns show up for you like:
- There’s no stability. Life is all stress, up in the air, nothing is stable. The future is uncertain.
- I don’t know if I can or how to handle this
- If I can’t handle things I am inferior
- Taking easy way out - running away or distracting the self so as to not have to face situations or emotions head on (controllingness)
When you see them lovingly and compassionately accept that they developed for good reason at a time when you needed them. Then set the intention to be willing to do what it takes to release them. Replace the feeling of loss with one of the positive affirmations from above and you're on your way through and out of the addictive behaviors that used to have control over your life.
May you be well, may you be happy, may you be peaceful.