A Note About Addiction
It seems that a believed thought (most often unconscious) underpinning addictions goes like this: ‘something outside of me can make me feel complete/happy or whole’.
Experiencing external phenomena continues as one tries to find what will resolve this incomplete feeling. There may even be a conscious noticing of that natural pull towards internal rest, peace and harmony. Yet mind can simultaneously run the idea that the outside world is the source of ‘solutions’. So the search for happiness continues in the outside world; hence substance abuse has its place.
The best that substances can do is shift your attention away from persistent thoughts into some level of oblivion for a while; promising a temporary holiday from the habit of believing thoughts. Even having a cigarette can have the association of shifting mental focus.
Mind works to seek its own resolution; energetically being pulled back to source - whether desired or not. Thus, mind is drawn to that break in believing the same thoughts again and again and the capacity for addiction is created.
Mind is finding a way to break the electromagnetic circuit created by repetitive thought in the brain. Using a mantra proves much more effective but it’s not as interesting to the personal ‘I’. It is not social. It’s not a ‘story’ for the ‘I’ thought. Managing thoughts internally instead of through external means (substances) can break a self image and ….well, that’s not too attractive to the ‘I’ who still believes that the outside world is where solutions lie.
It is rare that a substance itself is addictive; generally the body does what mind instructs. Mind imagines that the body needs a cigarette, but, mind has told the body that this is the case. Mind uses the body for its own purposes. The body is no more than an exquisitely functioning bag of flesh and bones. Body does not get addicted, but mind does. Almost all substances are not addictive in and of themselves. It is the alignment of a substance with the pain of identified thoughts coupled with the promise of a mini distraction for mind that are the ingredients of substance addiction.
All sources of pleasure have the capacity to be sources of pain. Sooner or later it is seen that there is a very thin line between pleasure and pain. Both are no more than concepts believed to be true, believed into your experience. Let it be seen that the effort of running a concept reveals itself as exhausting and somewhat unnatural. At this point, the attraction to pleasure and the avoidance of pain are two sides of the same coin and exercising either becomes a futile endeavor.
Believing you are a separate individual will give rise to the belief that you are your habits, tendencies and personality. This can cause great suffering. Building upon this illusion, mind can shift from one intense connection to another; from cigarettes to food, alcohol to AA meetings.
Let the personality be addictive – you are not your personality. You are not addicted to anything. You are not involved in any of this. As long as you run the thought that you are your personality then the ‘I’ has something to fix and something else to do. This will keep the ‘I’ story going. Analysis around addiction can be explored…only to be rejected when seen as more intellectual garbage about an ‘I’ who never existed outside of imagination anyway.
So, what to do? Know that whatever ‘I’; story is running it can never bring you anywhere. You are not an ‘I’ story. You are nothing that can be named. There is no ‘I can’ or ‘I can not’; there is no ‘I’. You drink alcohol, you don’t drink alcohol – this is lifestyle and nothing to do with what you really are.
There is nothing to fix - just observe and stop placing so much effort into the thoughts that are ‘all about me’. Rest in the knowing that you are beyond all of this. Substances are needed to simply change an idea in mind, an experience that happens. Do not be concerned with any of this. It takes an ‘I’ to participate, and you are not an ‘I’.