Some basic truths about addiction
Addiction is a universal phenomenon
It occurs in every form, at every level of humanity and society, to one degree or another. It becomes prevalent and predominant in entire nations, communities, tribes, clans and families, along with isolated individuals.
Addicition reveals our deepest truest selves
It takes us down a journey through our falser and lesser selves, only to remember the true self again. In recovery, the higher frequences of light are made more vivid through sheer contrast with the darker aspects of the addiction experience.
Addiction is designed for growth
Crisis is the harbinger of transformation. We think of it as an addiction mission – an adventure of learning and self-discovery, towards a state of higher consciousness and evolution. The addiction mission can be set into motion spiritually, or physically through traumatic experiences and prolonged self-neglect. Either way, the path ahead is strewn with learnings, clearings, and blessings.
By awakening to these benefits, the seeker turns the unfortunate circumstances of addiction into an opportunistic mission, a route to discovery of his true self and life purpose.
Addiction influences and involves everyone around
People with more extreme addictions serve others around them, blazing a trail of learning and growth down which others can follow – without being required to experience the pains and pangs of addiction on their own account.
The addiction may be the start of a soul-seeking journey, or it may be a pointer to a serious deficiency, depletion or disconnection. In either case, the advanced addict can be a fount of learning, and a catalyst of change.
He or she achieves this power because the destructive force of addiction brings down everyone in the addict’s orbit – until they necessarily work together to share the responsibility of finding solutions.
Every addiction dictates a larger remedy
Individual addictions call for personal work; family-involved addictions require family group work; socially-disruptive large-scale addictions demand community work; and mass addictions may indicate the need for far-reaching societal change.
In all cases, addiction exists to ensure the release of stored trauma and pain. That underlying affliction could be on any scale, from the personal to the national. Thus the treatment of addiction often needs to address issues going far beyond the merely clinical…and thereby serve a larger good.
Addiction often occurs and recurs cyclically
This contrasting experience of addiction and recovery usually takes place in cycles throughout one’s life, in a continuing quest for adventure, curiosity, and evolution.
Almost everyone goes through multiple addiction-recovery cycles in order to experience that deep duality: the light of recovery vs. the dark of addiction. In that darkness, the true self turns a blind eye to its own beauty and power…only to remember all the more vividly the miraculous light of recovery. At every iteration of the cycle, growth is advanced until no more enlightenment is available in that lifetime.
The addiction mission has its own end-point and exit strategy
The addiction mission continues until the person has completed their objectives. At this late stage of addiction, the adventure and excitement diminish, and the damage and risk increase. The addiction lifestyle is no longer fun. There are more problems than pleasures. This is the time to terminate the mission…or else one goes to pieces, one life’s falls apart, loved ones are drawn in, and society intervenes with its standards and penalties.
The recovery pathway is always there and waiting, in its many forms
First there has to be the intention to recover, a conscious shift of one’s desires towards recovery. The imagination then conjures up scenarios in which awakening is simulated, and addictive habits are shattered. When it’s time for action, various authentic recovery pathways may be available. Whichever one is chosen, it must be embarked upon with courage, willingness and commitment, with one’s whole being. The journey may be surprisingly quick, or it may be long-drawn-out…but journey’s end is possible for everyone.
Recovery can be slowed by limiting perspectives
Addiction is often misperceived as a disease, a moral failing, a sin, a crime demanding punishment…or just an unfortunate turn of events. As a consequence, the addict experiences shame and embarrassment, fear of judgment and abandonment, and a sense of being branded as a social misfit, tainted with the label of ‘addict’.
The recovery process too may be daunting, with individuals feeling socially segregated and isolated, required to surrender their accustomed defenses and comforts, and forced into a regimen that takes a harsh view of their condition, and demands a quick resolution. Such feelings – whether justified or not – needlessly place obstacles and hurdles on the path to recovery, and slow down the journey accordingly.
This is why it’s vital that recovery happens in an environment that’s supportive, non-judgmental, and unthreatening.
Addiction and recovery need to be shared experiences
Recovering addicts feel the need to be recognized for the hard road they’ve traveled. They feel compelled to speak about their more extreme misbehaviors as full-blown addicts, as well as the pains that brought on their addiction (followed by the pains resulting from addiction).
But more than that, they seek to belong in a community that can provide guidance, whether at the basic level of recovery, or at the higher planes of self-transformation. Within that community, they need to be autonomous in developing skills, exploring social roles, and choosing their own way forward, with the assurance of non-interfering and non-intrusive support.
In other words, while addiction is often an intensely private experience, recovery is almost always a communal one.