We’re going to discuss what addiction is, and then talk about how we can come to terms with it and what can we do to stop it. To do this, I’ll talk about addiction, in broad terms. Then we’ll do a quick exercise that might help you find what your addictions are. This could be considered an addiction “workshop”, albeit a very short one. Then we’re going to discuss the different quality of being that allows for better choices. That state of mind, one of presence, can help us end addiction.
What is addiction? Addiction lives on the pleasure pain level of being. So there will be lots of references to good and bad in this podcast. What are the different addictions? Drugs and drinking and smoking, of course, but also watching TV, shopping, eating sugary foods, and working out. Some of these are obviously better for you than others. Some are manageable, and some aren’t. Ultimately, addiction can end up really ruining a person, but it’s ugliness doesn’t have to wait for that extreme. All forms of addiction stem from a choice in attention.
I talk about the unhappiness that becomes so big that we end up choosing to drink or drug because we can’t face the pain. The problem with this is that the problems grow. We’re Pavlovian, and want to move toward pleasure. So it is a slippery slope to not become addicted on some level. It’s important to watch how we manage our lives.
What happens when we’re addicted? While responsibilities are piling up, they become completely unmanageable. We need the courage to face that, and it’s very hard to do. We usually aren’t motivated enough unless there is enough pain.
How do we stop addiction? What is the different quality of being that allows for change? I mention the conscious use of pain, and also the use of being awake. Those two things will allow us to quit our addictions.
Pain is the reason we change or stop. It may seem odd that pain may also be the reason we started. That makes sense when we realize that in the beginning, the thing that makes us feel good hadn’t become painful yet. So how painful is your addiction? Can we make our pain unacceptable before it truly becomes unbearable? That would be like getting free from addiction early.
So here’s how to stop. You must go into the feeling of the addiction. When you are faced with that moment of choice, which you’ve just become aware of, how do you make a different choice? You feel into the feeling of conflict. You breathe into it. In that moment you give yourself enough space to make a different decision. If you choose poorly, just gather data and don’t beat yourself up. Becoming aware allows us to see the moments. Those moments, when we see them, we have the power to get free. We can’t face all our problems at once, we need to face them one at a time. So this is a constant vigil. This conflict and the needed attention to it will soften over time.
In conclusion, we need to realize the pain addiction is causing us, and that needs to become greater than the pleasure it gives us.