|Balance and Control|
When we reflect on addictions and how they affect us in our lives, it is useful to use the images of balance and control.
I like to remind people that the use of the word 'control' here is not to be interpreted as control over anything but the various energies moving within our own self... even then, the word 'directing' is likely a less perceptually loaded one!
Today's blog, as a result of some really great questions from some of you, will look at this in greater detail.
'Control' has taken a real beating in our language ... most of the time, when we hear this word, we imagine things like controlling others or attempting to control everything around us. However, to place our energies into either of these things is a waste of our own opportunities for growth ... we often find it is futile to focus so much on these external things as compared to working from within our own self.
'Control' in the realm of addiction is also a myth. People attempt to control their addictions when they begin to realize that they are, in fact, addicted... only to eventually (hopefully) come to see that this is not possible. Lack of true inner conscious choice and control is at the root of what an addiction is all about... and when we realize this, it is a great place to begin to understand our inner motivations, conditioning and deeply rooted addiction patterns... as well as our many behaviours that go along with these things.
I like to look at the lighter side of the word 'control'. For example, we are often told to 'control' ourselves. If we feel angry, for example, and feel the inner urge to call someone an insulting name but consciously choose not to... we could say that we are controlling the inner urge to do that. In this way, we can see that 'control' is not used here in its 'darker' sense.
If we have the awareness of our inner urges and 'direct' them into other healthier forms of expression (consciously), then we are learning to 'control our selves'... I like to say that we are then learning to 'direct the various aspects and energies within our self'. 'Consciously' is the word here. Many of us are conditioned to behave in 'nice' or 'socially acceptable' ways.... however, when the pressure builds we often find that this leads to an outburst or a quiet rebellion of some sort (for quiet people this is often some sort of unconscious passive aggressive behaviour)... addiction is not far behind this. So in this case, there is no true 'control' or 'direction of inner energy' because all behaviours are unconscious, conditioned and pretty predictable when you get to know the person well enough.
Recall, as well, that I have stressed the point about the myriad forms of addictions in our world today (see list below for potential forms of addictions).
It is useful to consider how to define addiction. Here is one way:
Any activity or behaviour which removes one from the 'Reality' in the here and now and the ability to confront and engage with that 'Reality' in accordance to one's own true nature.
One's life becomes 'unmanageable' in an extreme case of addiction ... which is usually the form we are most familiar with. Addictions do not always lead to this severity and yet can still be an addiction.
An addiction leads one to suffer, eventually, in some way and/or can potentially (and usually does) contribute to the suffering of others around them. Many times this is due to the fact that the person is simply 'not available' to their significant others when they are, in fact, involved with them in everyday life. For example, an addict may not be 'present' emotionally or mentally around others in their significant relationships - this is especially vital in situations where people rely on them for support, household contributions (doing their part in various ways), and nurturing (energy exchange and intimacy are two examples here). Children, family members and spouses are often the most affected by addictive behaviours and patterns.
An addiction prevents one from being 'fully present' with whatever is before one... it is usually the first thing an individual turns to when adversity is present... and family patterns, trauma and/or stress and adversity are usually at the root of how an addiction pattern is initially started.
Potential forms of addiction:
Various food groups ... meat, carbs, sugar etc.
Drugs... esp. prescription drugs these days... a very sad reality
Tech .. excessive use of tech...gaming etc.
Relationships and groups (here including various religious, spiritual or even political belief systems etc. when they are warped) ..... and the various unhealthy patterns within them (ex. Co-dependency in families and relationships .. or even groups).
Sex ... and any related things to this when out of balance and harmony.
Sports and addictions to 'working out' ... due to this socially acceptable potential addiction it is useful to return to the above definition. There are many athletes and active people who would not fit this category... it can becomes an addiction when the criteria above are met. These individuals use working out as an escape from delving into feeling what they are feeling... they tend to have a 'hard shell' around them and feel very little...with very rigid belief systems to back up their behaviour. This is not to be confused with individuals who work out or engage in activities/behaviours for healthier reasons and are surrounded by unconscious, ill and negative people who do not support their growth and development...or their own.
Various behavioural patterns can also become addictions. For example, avoidance patterns, anger, distancing, lack of intimacy etc. In these examples, an individual is 'not available' when their addiction is triggered, they are simply 'not there' even when 'physically' they show up all the time.
Note: There are many things which others may consider an addiction and which may NOT be one. We have to be careful when judging or making an assumption about someone and what he/she may be doing. Unless we can gather all the information and understand the 'story' and know the bigger picture, we may either dismiss a true addiction pattern or assume that one is there when it may not.
Like the old saying goes: 'Unless you have walked 1,000 miles in someone's moccasins, you know them not'. This is a great way to remind ourselves about judgment and assumptions when it comes to others... and ourselves.
Adversity and Trauma
I wanted to make a note about adversity in our lives. There were a few questions around adversity and addiction. You were RIGHT! Adversity and addiction are definitely related in various ways. Trauma and addiction... even more so.
Stress is a common factor in this fast-paced, techy world we live in. Stress has been present in our lives throughout history... in different ways according to the times... it is the same with trauma and adversity. We have not seen times where any of these things were not present in one form or another.
'Trauma' is a word we have been hearing a lot about lately. We are looking more deeply into personal trauma and how it affects our lives and so it shows up everywhere these days. We experience various traumas in our lives... on multiple levels... but most particularly in our families of origin. We also experience adversity in many different ways in our lives. We gain and lose relationships. We change jobs and have various educational concerns. Many feel the stress of attempting to stay current in a world full of fast-paced changes and newness. Illness, traumas, death, cancer, inheritance issues ... political, financial and housing situations... I have heard it all. Within these situations, an individual is faced with various forms of adversity.
Here comes the words for today's blog ... balance and control... When we are not battling with addictions, we tend to find it easier to access or to feel this inner place of power (we are empowered) to cope with adversity in life. We feel the balance and control we have over our own inner moving energies and aspects of our self and are able to either bring forward the needed inner skills and resources to cope with adversity or seek out assistance in order to do so. We may feel tired, sad, overwhelmed, angry or even defeated in various moments; however, these feelings are acknowledged and faced as we continue to move forward. These feelings are not something we get stuck in for long periods of time... or deny... or repress... they are felt and 'worked with'. On the other side, when we are addicted ... stress, adversity and other challenges we encounter along our many journeys in life trigger us into addictive patterns. The feelings which are present within us are often denied, repressed, suppressed or wallowed in for long periods of time like a negative feedback loop.
Addiction, adversity, trauma, stress and the many ways in which we can cope with these things... this blog topic is soooo enormous it could be a book in itself. There ARE books on this! You can either seek out some great reading material on this to further your understanding or to have a support resource ... and/or seek out the counsel you may realize could benefit you in moving forward in your life when addiction or coping with adversity is something you can see is creating chaos and havoc in your life.
Blessings, light and love along your journey...