The Spiritual Journey of the Addict

There are several theories out there that try to explain why people begin using and abusing substances even though there are known consequences to the self. Drugs do not cause addiction. It is instead, the individual who becomes addicted because of what they believe they gain from it. That the substance at hand is transcending them away from this moment – to escape the discomfort and find that “release.”

Addiction manifests in more ways than one and not just through substance abuse. We are all addicted to something whether it is work, money, alcohol, pornography, gambling, sex, fame, power, or checking our e-mail every five minutes. Addiction is the act of distracting ourselves from being present.

We all push away our thoughts and feelings, try not to feel them, numb ourselves to them, distract ourselves from them, medicate or meditate them away.

Addiction is a spiritual illness, a condition resulting from a spiritual void in one’s life or a search for connectedness. The appeal of alcohol or other substances is their power to stimulate the mystical abilities of human nature that are often crushed by the cold facts and hard truth of the “sober hour.”

We can learn to break addiction cycle by facing the discomfort rather than running away from it.

Countless spiritual teachers like Buddha, Lao Tze, Ram Dass and Eckart Tolle have urged us to be in the present moment. When we are not in the present, our attention is not in the “now.” Instead, our focus is looking back to the past or towards the future. To return to the present is to return our attention to the here and now.

By facing our discomfort – the sadness, loneliness, fear, and helplessness we can acknowledge that they are allowed to exist and have a home within us. These feelings, though, are not to define us.

Turning towards our urges rather than away from them and finding a way to be with ourselves now without escaping to the “future” is how the mechanism of addiction can start to dissipate. No amount of alcohol, sex, drugs, chocolate, pictures or feelings can give you this place of broad acceptance at this moment in time. What you crave on the deepest spiritual level is already here. You are what you seek, and you are all you ever wanted to be.

We are only finding ourselves, in a million different ways, and the drugs or alcohol never had the “power” to bring us home. Ever.

Addiction falls apart when our self is naturally at peace, naturally non-addicted, and naturally complete without needing drugs or alcohol to fill in the spiritual void. The cycle of addiction – which is the cycle of self – can be broken, right where it begins.

Remember, you are more than your addiction. You have the power to change and heal your relationship with yourself. If you or someone you know has relapsed from drugs and alcohol, please know that for some people it is a “normal” path in addiction. Show understanding, patience, and love. Never give up on yourself or someone else. I will help you find the self you have lost. Please, never hesitate to contact me.