Whether we like it or not, whether we want to admit it or not; if we are alive, we are dealing with addiction. It touches all of our lives.
Everybody falls into at least one of three categories (usually two). We are either
1) in active addition,
2) recovering from addiction, or
3) love somebody who is.
In active addiction, a person attaches to a substance, behavior, or process and progressively becomes a slave to it. The addiction persists, despite its negative consequences, and leads to a place where we can’t control ourselves—a place of powerlessness. Even if an addict wants to quit, most people find they can’t do it on their own. Learn more about addiction here.
People can become addicted to more destructive vices like alcohol, drugs, gambling or sex. Or it could be an addiction to television, gaming, or shopping. Some of the more socially acceptable addictions are to anxiety, sugar, or religion.
Addiction becomes a problem because it works—for a while at least. Our vices provide us with a sense of wellbeing while giving relief from the struggles, loneliness, shame, and disappointments of life. But at the core of every addiction is a refusal to be present. We want life to satisfy us, but it doesn’t—it can’t. Instead of giving our hearts a voice, we look for a rescue in the forms of manufactured comfort, control, and power. Our addictions reveal our demand that life work for us now.
There is much reason for hope.
Slavery to addiction is not the end of the story. The spiritual paradox of recovery from addiction is that admission and surrender to powerlessness over an addiction often leads to a fuller life. For any one to admit his or her struggle as an addict takes courage. It is far easier to remain in denial and practice hopelessness. It takes even more courage to seek help—but help is there.
From what unhealthy attachments to substances, behaviors, and/or process are you ready to seek help?
“Dealing with Addiction” was written by Luke Brasel, a Sage Hill group facilitator and counselor. Learn more about his practice at www.lukebrasel.com.