I once read an interview with a comedian that forever changed the way I think about addiction.
Russell explained that drugs and alcohol were not his problem, reality was his problem. Drugs and alcohol were his solution.
That crucial distinction helped clarify my understanding around dependence in my own life. Because there isn’t a thing in this world we can’t turn into heroin.
Any process that helps us relieve intolerable realities can become an addiction.
Any unhealthy coping mechanism we reach for to handle recurrent meaning crises is a threat to our health.
Any substance that medicates our desire for things to be other than the way they are is a drug.
Any idol that becomes our only conduit to a sense of self, our sole point of identification, that’s an addiction.
Like when I was a workaholic putting in sixteen hour workdays and neglecting my relationships and physical health. That was my addiction. That was my way of trying to escape the human condition. By working all the time, I could anesthetize my feelings of loneliness, keep meaninglessness at bay and avoid confronting my own issues around codependency and unworthiness.
Dude, pass that shit. It’s my perfect drug.
What’s yours? Which of your initial sources of pain have not been dealt with? And where might you be trying to escape the human condition?
I was once working on a public health awareness campaign to help heal the opioid epidemic, and read a sobering book about how to end addiction for good. Here’s what the physician said.
An addict in his addiction is only motivated by the fear of pain. A person suffering from addiction is not trying to destroy himself, he’s trying to survive yet another day. Because the spirit sickness of addiction manifests as a belief that life cannot improve.
It’s an awfully dark and dramatic picture. One that may not accurately describe everyone’s state of being.
But let’s not deny our humanity. We’re all addicted to some drug. We’re all trying to make sense of what it means to be us. We’re all wandering through this world, looking for an anchor to hold us, searching for the thread that might make us free.
Perhaps we could practice more healing if we could promote more understanding.
Especially when it comes to our own addictions.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you trapped in a repetitive process of habitually satisfying cravings that allows you to avoid and change and control the seemingly unbearable conditions of the present moment?
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That Guy with the Nametag
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