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Saturday, June 14, 2008

What Are Your Addictions?

I can just hear you saying: I don’t have any addictions. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t snort cocaine, and I certainly don’t shoot heroin. I don’t have any eating disorders and I don’t gamble.

Good. Glad to hear that.

Addictions Go Down Many Strange Byways

How about work? Have you ever had your partner complain that you spend too much time there?
  • How about shopping? Did you ever cringe when the credit card bills came in at the end of the month and you realized that once again you had spent far more money than you have?

  • Now how about judging other people? You do that more than just a bit? Like quite often? So that’s an addiction. Judging other people is something we can get addicted to. If you try to stop you will notice that it is almost as hard to do as saying good-bye to your cigarettes.

  • Then there’s criticizing others.

  • And stereotyping others.

  • And being a fitness buff way beyond just being healthy about your body.

  • Making money is a good one. There’s an addiction that masks as something totally different … perhaps even being responsible …

  • Socializing to the point of not wanting (or being able) to be alone.

  • Being a news junkie.

  • Remaining young … better said: wanting to remain young. So the addiction is going after whatever it is you believe will keep you young: creams, clothes, injections, surgery, retreats, sports, etc. None of these things by themselves are wrong, it’s the desperate and continued and addictive search to remain young that keeps you from your life. (see also these posts on my blog about this topic)

  • Complaining? (You might like to listen to my radio show about the subject … note that this particular audio clip will be up about the second week of July 2008)

  • Feeling blue … now how’s that for an addiction?

  • Feeling like you are a victim.

  • Not letting go of old wounds. (Check out Caroline Myss’ Woundology and my blog article about it Woundology).

  • How about being addicted to another human being? Can’t be without them? Need their presence? Feel like something is terribly wrong when they are not totally happy with you? This generally means someone we think we are in love with, but it could also be a child or a friend or anyone…stalkers of celebrities are an extreme example of this type of addiction. (See also my July 2006 Newsletter: I Need You…I Need You Not)

  • Blaming others. Uff … that’s one to write home about. You are allowed to get off scot free, as long as you have someone to blame. And as long as you do, you don’t really live your own life. (See also my November 2007 Newsletter: Grow in Richness: Stop the Blaming).

  • Living at any time other than the now; always moving into the past or the future in your thoughts (See also my January 2006 Newsletter: Living in the Now: Use it To Enrich Your Life and my May 2008 Newsletter: Where Are You Now?)

  • Addicted to hanging on to bad feelings

  • Being addicted to gossiping.

  • Social power. Being addicted to someone else’s social power. Being in the reflection of their sun. Rubbing shoulders with them, their social contacts, and the remainder of their entourage.

  • Not forgiving. (See also these posts on my blog about this topic)

  • Excusing others for their bad behavior. Not calling the shots when you should. Having unhealthy boundaries (see also my October 2007 newsletter: Finding it Hard to Love Yourself? Check Out Your Boundaries and my July 2007 Newsletter: Emotional Unavailability: An Introduction).

Not Me. No. Definitely Not Me!

No, no, you say to me. Those things you’ve been writing about in this article are not addictions. Now look here … if I judge or criticize another person, I have a good reason.

  • Look at those racists in that African country.

  • Or look at the lack of humanitarianism in the members of the regime of Myanmar after the cyclone hit.

  • Or look at my boss … he is so unethical … he simply takes all the credit for work we’ve all done as a team

  • And what about my daughter? She’s nuts … taking drugs and going out with those tattooed guys that wear earrings

  • And speaking of earrings … what about those teenage girls that get a diamond inserted into their belly button?

  • And don’t get me started on those women that let themselves go after they hit menopause
    And the pastor at my church! He has such an ego. All he wants to do is hear himself speak, so his sermons are far too long, And so boring.

  • So you can see I have very good reasons to judge others … I certainly don’t do any of that stuff!

Right. I’m sure you don’t. But you judge others for doing those things. And furthermore, you don’t seem to be able to stop doing so. All I’m trying to point out to you is that you have an addiction to judging other people.

Ok, you say, maybe you’re right. Since I have read what you wrote, I actually tried to stop judging or criticizing people – even if it was just in my mind, and I realized that it would be quite hard to do.

So what??
you ask.

Here’s what…

Becoming What You Truly Can Be

As long as you are addicted – to anything – you will not be able to become what you truly can become. You will be a splintered personality, as Gary Zukav called it in The Seat of the Soul. And the reason is because as long as you have addictions – of any kind – you are using the addictions to live your life for you. You use them to cope. You use them to cover up any difficult feelings. You use them to soothe yourself. You use them, in other words, to live your life for you, because without them, you are not able to. See also Making Choices: Taking Responsibility For Our Lives from my February 2006 Newsletter)

There is some analogy here to Eckhart Tolle’s pain body, or Chris Griscom’s emotional body, insomuch as they speak of the pull, the attraction, the seductive lure of that part of our life that causes us pain, because we know that place so well.

Your Addictions Live Your Life for You

Your addictions live your life for you because they make choices for you.

Here are some examples:

  • You send a letter or email via your assistant. Something is written incorrectly and you don’t catch it. It means a big loss to your bottom line. You rage at your assistant for his carelessness. By being addicted to blaming, your choice is to not take responsibility for your own part in the mess (the buck stops with you). Hence you have no insights about yourself and do nothing differently. And nothing changes.

  • Your partner is not pleased with the fact that you have an opinion that does not coincide with hers. She gives you the silent treatment for a week. You suffer abjectly. The pain is horrendous. You don’t know what to do to make your partner be nice to you again. Finally you apologize, even though you know you did nothing wrong, and a while later, life is good again. By hanging on to your addiction to feeling bad, your choice is to not take responsibility for your own part in the mess (your unhealthy boundaries). Hence you have no insights about yourself and do nothing differently. And nothing changes.

  • You wake up on the weekend you were planning to drive to the country for some down time. The weather has turned overnight and it’s raining and dark out. You phone a friend and begin to complain about the unfairness of life and you complain about the fact that on those rare occasions when you decide to take a few days for yourself, something always goes wrong. Then you complain about the fact that on top of everything else, your hot water heater broke down and you can’t have a hot shower. By hanging on to your addiction to complaining, your choice is to not take responsibility for your own part in the mess (your attitude). Hence you have no insights about yourself and do nothing differently. And nothing changes.

There is an excellent section on this whole topic of addictions by Caroline Myss on her CD set called Advanced Energy Anatomy.

How Can it Change?


This is not rocket science. If you’ve been following these articles I send out every month, you’ll know at least one or two of the steps: Become aware of your addiction/s. Make the choice to make different choices each time you become conscious of falling back into your addiction/s. In other words, you make the choice to become responsible for all of you. Becoming responsible for all of you literally means owning all of what you think, feel, say, and do. Owning it, means you deal with it as you think, feel, say, or do it, rather than using an addiction to deal with it.

Let me say that again: Owning it, means you deal with it as you think, feel, say, or do it, rather than using an addiction to deal with it.

By applying some will power to this process, you will become stronger and stronger in this department, and then you will do it automatically because the addiction will no longer be controlling your choices. And then you are on the road to self responsibility and above all, inner freedom

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