An addiction is a dependency on a substance, behaviour or thought process that came about as a coping mechanism for the pain felt inside, and as a way of getting though life.
Addictions come in many forms. The alcoholic believes that he “needs” alcohol to get through the day, and it masks their feelings. The drug addict feels the same way about his fix, and the person who feels that in order to be safe, their house needs to be clean are using in the same way. The person who is convinced that they need to be with someone to be happy will find themselves in relationship after relationship, chasing the high to fill the void.
This can also be an addiction. The man who ties all his worth to his work, retires and finds it hard to adjust without his fix, and after all, he has been praised all his life for being a good provider....and the list goes on, endlessly.
An addiction is anything that you do without choice to ensure that you feel safe. An addict cannot not act out - they are programmed to do so as a safety mechanism. A test to see whether you are addicted to something is to set the task of going without whatever it is for two weeks. If you have any reaction that whatsoever to the thought of going without, then there is a chance you have an unhealthy relationship with your substance, behaviour or thought process.
Use that sentence on anger, coffee, cigarettes, depression, misery, alcohol, cleaning, exercise, work, sex, chocolate, spirituality, television, make up, computer games, pornography, shopping, controlling behaviour or pain killers and see if you have a reaction to abstaining for two weeks.
If there is one sentence to sum up the intent of your addiction, it would be “Stay small, and suffer”. Any form of addiction, whatever form it may take, will therefore prevent spiritual growth because the addiction will continually sabotage any form of growth.
This directly contrasts the philosophy of spiritual growth which is “Shine as brightly as you can in love and acceptance of all”. Spiritual growth can be a very challenging path but it always emphasises letting go of what you no longer need and opening your mind to larger truths and the deeper questions.
Spiritual growth asks that you put down all your masks and that you become as authentic as you possibly can - as you were intended to be. Addictions of any form, want to ensure that you hide the truth of who you are at all costs. They do not make good companions - the addict will always win. This is why in order to grow spiritually, you need to first recognize that you may have an issue, and then address it, however you choose to do that.
Written by Caroline Nettle
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