During the course of my spiritual growth, I realized that most people are addicts, in one way or another. And that addiction is not a physical or a psychological disease, but a disconnection from Source Energy and from our Higher Selves.
When we’re disconnected from our higher selves (the source of love and higher emotions), we must look for something outside of ourselves to fill that hole in our soul. This attachment or craving (not desire, as is popularly believed) is noted, in Buddhism, as the cause of suffering.
And so we turn to people, relationships, sex, food, alcohol, drugs, meditation, prayer, caffeine, cigarettes, television, music, work, exercise, shopping, gambling, internet usage, pornography and other ways to bliss out, just so that we don’t have to face the fact that we’ve disconnected from our life path and from the purpose that we came here to fulfil.
That’s why all programs for recovery from addiction, like the 12-step program, mandate a reconnection with a Higher Power as essential for recovery.
But, you might say, almost all of the things I’ve listed above (barring TV, internet, pornography and stimulants) are necessary for existence. So how do you know when something becomes an addiction?
The easiest way to know this is to CHECK YOUR INTENTIONS. Be honest with yourself about why you believe you need it. If TV is merely a distraction, if you use food only to nourish your body, if you turn to people and relationships solely to stay connected, you are most likely not addicted to these things.
Another way to test if you’re addicted to something is to GO WITHOUT IT. If you can easily do without it for a while, especially under stressful circumstances, you are most likely not addicted.
But if you compulsively do any of the following – overeat, get drunk, smoke, gamble, take drugs, cling to relationships and people, exercise too much, watch too much porn or do anything to bliss out – you may be using it to fill that hole in your soul, to mask your disconnection from the true nature of your being.
If that’s so, then you need to rediscover your life purpose and reconnect with Source, by doing the psychological and spiritual work you need to become whole again. Some of the attitudes that helped me heal my own codependence are:
Self-awareness: Becoming an observer of my emotions and reactions.
Self-love: Knowing that I am worthy of love, that it has to come from within me. Learning how to develop high self-esteem and stronger boundaries.
Self-acceptance: Learning to accept my flaws and forgive myself for my mistakes.
Detachment: Detaching from a situation so I can respond appropriately.
Overcoming my fears: Learning to act from Love (Higher Self) rather than Fear (Ego).
© Priya Florence Shah