Addiction - A Unique Perspective

by GEM Magazine / Jun 04, 2015 / Comments

Everyone has heard the word addiction or have known an addict. From alcoholics, junkies and smokers, to workaholics, gamblers and sex addicts. They all share one thing in common - they are using (or abusing) their chosen addictive behaviours in order to repress (hide) or distract themselves from feeling painful emotions.

What emotions am I talking about?
They could include fear, worry, anger, guilt, anxiety, or a number of other emotions. However, the predominant emotion the addict is hiding from is SHAME!

What is shame?
It is the feeling and belief that 'I am worthless', less than human, wrong, unlovable, and unworthy of LOVE. It is the belief that I am not good enough, not deserving of love and unable to give and share my love. Life is empty, shallow, and without meaning. These feelings are so painful to feel that addiction is the way to hide them.

Generally, we tend to think of an addiction as a substance, like a drug or alcohol. However, there are excessive behaviours such as workaholic, rageaholic or sexaholic. These are considered socially unacceptable and can lead to despair, isolation, and loneliness. Along with the addictions often comes co-dependency (lacking a healthy relationship with self) and obsessive thinking/compulsive behaviours.

The shame stems from not having perfect parents or caregivers. No one has had all their childhood needs met exactly how they needed them to be met. The child brain is not developed to the point where it is able to know and comprehend this. It only feels unfulfilled, and believes that if he/she was truly loveable then all of their needs would be met exactly how they needed them to be. So, the outcome of this is shame - I am not worthy of LOVE, and this hurts like hell. Addiction effectively hides these feelings from us.

However, there are a number of other chosen behaviours that serve the same purpose as the addictions I just wrote about. They are not considered socially unacceptable. In fact, they are often considered "in style" and part of our mainstream daily life. It is assumed we have these experiences in our lives most of the time and they become part of the social norm. I consider them addictions as they serve the same purpose as drugs, etc.

What are they? Keeping busy and physical pain.

The act of over scheduling, then adding more tasks. No time to be quiet and meditate. Or do Yoga, Tai Chi, Quantum Touch, or stroll along the beach without a cell phone. No time for mindfulness as we have so much to do. We have forgotten how to simply BE, and how to explore and discover ourselves. Instead we are texting, on the internet, watching TV with iPad's on our laps or hunched over a laptop. We make no time to reflect on what it means to be a human being or to participate in our own spiritual growth... To just sit and contemplate.

When we live in shame, we have effectively (not necessarily permanently) given a part of ourselves away. So we need to engage in Soul Retrieval. It is best to do this (at least at the beginning) with someone who has experience in this practice and with whom we trust. Busy-ness requires no objects or others to assist us. It is totally self generated. It is a powerful act of repression (self denial). It becomes a conditioned way of being, and when we start to slow down, we start to feel the shame, which hurts. When we start to be quiet, we begin to feel the fear. Emotionally this is no different compared to when we quit using a drug - we feel the pain. Well, we need to feel the pain in order to begin to HEAL.

Physical pain and other health symptoms.
Carpal tunnel syndrome, irritable bowel, heartburn, high blood pressure, fibromyalgia, most allergies... I could go on and on. The point is that we create these physical health issues in order to distract us from feeling our repressed, painful emotions. Along with these health issues are a predictable series of personality traits, such as; perfectionism, rightism, goodism, over achieving, people pleasing, avoiding conflict, and arrogance. These personality traits and their accompanying behavioural patterns help keep our anger, anxiety and shame hidden.

This scenario has been proven to exist by a brilliant rehabilitation doctor in the USA, Dr. John Sarno. As a back pain specialist, he realized early in his career that most of his patients' back problems did NOT have a consistent and meaningful physical explanation or cause. He began to notice behavioural and personality patterns in his patients, and believed that these patterns grew out of a need to keep painful emotions repressed.

Over the years, he developed a healing methodology that was very successful. It required his patients to stop all their therapies (physical, medications, acupuncture, etc), to make them realize that their pain was in fact emotional/psychological, and on some occasions seek psychotherapy. While Dr. Sarno never used the word addiction to describe this maladaptive pattern, I do. - You can read Dr. Sarno's book, The Divided Mind, to learn more.

Addiction is such an accepted part of our culture that our social norms are built with it in mind. Our health care system is built on pharmaceuticals. Government revenues are highly dependent on alcohol and gambling sales, along with anti-depressant and anti-anxiety drugs being extremely profitable.

I believe we all have the potential to regain our health. To Retrieve our Soul. To become courageous and speak our truth. To be assertive and live with values, morals, and conviction. To live free of addictions.

By Randy Zonnis, BA RSW RRP

Randy has worked in the Healing Arts for over 40 years, continuing to evolve his skills along side his journey. He has recently discovered a technique that shifts core beliefs from harmful and shameful to beneficial and loving. Randy also offers/instructs Quantum Touch (powerful energy healing), brain training and other healing practices.

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