Most humans are addicted to something… alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, drugs, food, sex, drama, Facebook,worrying. There is no shame in having an addiction because almost everyone has at least one.
For the sake of this post, I’m defining addiction as anything we consistently choose instead of feeling uncomfortable, even if it’s not good for us in the long term.
Over the years, I’ve noticed a particular relationship between addiction and life purpose that I’ve found very helpful for myself, and my clients who want to end their addictive behavior and find deeper fulfillment.
I’ve noticed that addictions flare up when we are out of alignment in a key area of our life, and not living in integrity with our truth.
Rather than feel the profound pain of self deception, many of us reach for a temporary pacifier.
The bigger the chasm between our heart’s clear knowing and our choices, the more we suffer anxiety, depression, and anger, and the more we are tempted to seek relief.
But relief is the antidote of alignment.
Relief is a cover up.
The longer we rest in relief, the further we drift from our true selves because we can’t feel our deepest truth.
The only way to align with our inner compass is to sit in the discomfort.
If we constantly tolerate having addictions, we are accepting an early, living death. We may still be breathing but we are not truly alive. We are going through the motions.
This is because addictions rob us of our joy, vitality and creativity by giving us a quick hit of contentment (or the drama of fighting the addiction) instead of allowing us to see what’s really so and change accordingly. They are an elaborate distraction.
The real cure for addiction is to feel the pain of self denial, of half-living, of thwarted self expression, so we can be adequately motivated to take the heroic steps necessary to get into alignment with our dharma, our true purpose.
The genuine fulfillment available to us when we are in the flow of our dharma is so deeply satisfying that the desire to self medicate with life’s various “junk foods” falls away.
This is why living in full alignment with our own truth can completely cure us of our addictions.
(And for things that are physically addictive or hard wired into our nervous systems, there are myriad modalities to help with that piece).
It’s simple but it’s not easy.
Humans won’t change unless the change appears easier than staying the same.
Most of the time it seems harder to change, so we don’t end that relationship, quit that job, start that business or pursue our passion, because it’s scary and unknown.
We also don’t easily give up our comfortable, addictive behavior for this same reason.
But if we can stop the behavior just long enough to sit in our daily suffering and allow the agitation to eat away our lies, change suddenly seems easier and we find the strength and courage to take that big leap forward, to dive off the familiar cliff into the abyss of the unknown, where all the magic lives.
This is the difference between having a life we are in love with instead of a life we are surviving. It is not a path for the faint of heart but it is worth it.