BEYOND ADDICTION

Most people are addicts of one kind or another.The object of an addiction is not necessarily a substance to be ingested. Anything can become a target: an activity, a particularly obsessive thought, an interaction with another person or group, control or ownership of an object.

Although many addictions are based on real need, the distinction between addiction and necessity is clear enough. The difference is that addictions are unsatiable. No matter how often or how effectively addictive urges are answered, they can never be satisfied. People return to the objects of their addictions without tiring.

Addiction is not an attachment to a particular chemical or activity, but rather to the mental state that is induced by that chemical or activity.

If those mental states could be triggered or managed without resorting to the substances, activities, or situations that otherwise would have induced those states, then impulsive, unhealthy, and unbalanced behavior could be mitigated or redirected.

What matters to people is ultimately not what happens to them in the physical world, but what happens in the secret crevasses of the brain. If people discover a state of pleasure equal to that induced by the addiction,they look no further.

Overcoming addiction by ego surrender to a higher intelligence is at the heart of most recovery programs (particulary the 12 step program). And this is because addictions are locked into their mind and body, so sheer will power or self control doesn’t work.

Ego surrender can be frightening, since the ego believes it needs total control in order to survive. But it is the ego’s dysfunctional beliefs and unhealthy coping mechanisms that led to the addiction in the first place and so it can’t find a way out. However ego surrender can open us to a more authentic self, ready to lead the way.

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