Loving Oneness Now
The fundamental premise of this paper on Addictions (which has
come to me over the years from my clients with addictive behaviors, as well as
from many participants in AA) is that in-depth recovery is directly tied
to the degree of one's Spiritual Growth. This fact is what
has led me to write about "The Causes and Cures of All Addictions."
DESCRIPTIVE FACTS OF ACTUAL ADDICTIVE BEHAVIOR(S)
it is alcohol, drugs, medications, food, sex, obsessive body-building, or any
one of a dozen other possible addictions (e.g., video games) there are
individualized specific descriptive facts about the particular addiction
one person has and its "objects of interest." Here are a few examples
of what I mean:
serious mistake for all addicts when
endeavoring to recover, is to become narrowly focused on
eliminating only these presenting behaviors (such as the
above examples) through sheer ego-willpower, while the underlying causes
of the behaviors are ignored. And this is often the case even while they are nominally
going through another (very good) therapeutic addiction-eradication process,
such as the 12-Step Method, Weight-Watchers, or Sexual Recovery Programs. Thus,
all too often, it is the addictive ego striving to eradicate
itself—which is obviously a fruitless "bootstrap" operation.
"behavioral symptom-removing" efforts by these individuals tend
to not free the addict from the addiction because they overlook
the fundamental multiple causes of addiction as a multi-mind-level
issue. This ignoring of multiple causes results in a necessary
lifelong vigilance aimed at pre-empting any behavioural recurrence
of the addiction, and not unusually, it fails to prevent occasional temporary
relapses, which may get less and less frequent over time. But what are
these multiple causes of addictions?
AS AN ESCAPE
almost everyone is aware that addictions of all kinds are spurious attempts to escape
from inner issues (usually also mirrored externally) which the addict cannot
face, or refuses to face. This escape from facing inner
issues is seen in such expressions as "drowning one's sorrows,"
"getting high," "seeking distraction," "blissing
out," "numbing it down," "it relaxes me after a long day's
work," "it lets me sleep soundly," "it settles my
nerves," "I am just being sociable," "I love that ecstatic
feeling," "I am in my nice comfort zone," "it is very
satisfying for a while," etc. You can probably add many other sayings like
these; almost all practicing addicts have their favorite rationalizations,
denials and comforting excuses for indulging their habit.
BIND OF ADDICTS
all addicts find themselves in a triple bind (insoluble three-way
Their presenting problem (in their job, marriage, failure,
inadequacy, etc.,) itself.
Their powerlessness to solve (to resolve, to get out of, to fix)
their presenting problem.
The attractiveness of their addictive substance and/or addictive
situation is powerful, and is usually an ever-present available satisfaction.
Some addicts get to the point where immediately after one high, they live only
for the next high, and between highs, they deliciously anticipate their
what are addicts escaping from? What is the answer to that key
IN THE WIDEST EMOTIONAL SENSE
many people this answer may seem like a no-brainer, but strangely it is a
no-brainer "answer" that addicts religiously ignore. "Of
course I am unhappy, but unhappiness is just something imposed on me from
outside, mostly by other people, therefore all I can do about it,
is anesthetize it, or escape into my favorite, temporary, but repeatable,
[Alex] am using the term unhappiness (in this context of addictive
escape) to include a great variety of inner emotional/feeling
states, along with their external situations or circumstances. Here are a few
emotions/feelings with one or two (of many possible) circumstances in
parenthesis. For addicts most of the these situations or circumstances are
long-term and their associated emotions (printed in color) are chronic. You can
(loss of a loved-one or partner)
(over a deprivation of some kind)
(over a seemingly insoluble problem)
(over being insulted, or hurt, or attacked, etc.)
(about a financial insecurity or family illness)
feelings (over some un-nameable/nameable horror or event happening in the
(over a powerlessness to solve a long-term chronic problem)
(over another failure, another defeat, another disaster)
(that life is a complete mess into which I sink deeper and deeper)
of (being fired, going broke)
(about all the people I hurt)
(of my secret "sins" and/or unworthiness, etc.)
with myself (over all my inadequacies)
(about a rotten job, a bad marriage, etc.)
(about some permanent aspect of my spouse/life)
(over the way my country and the world is worsening)
dislike (of something nasty
or emotionally painful in my life: spouse, boss, child, job)
(of someone or something I am forced to have in my life)
(about almost everything in my life. I am a chronic worrier who needs an
WHAT UNDERLIES ALL THESE UNHAPPY EMOTIONAL STATES?
still deeper into the unconscious mind of addicts we find that a very deep
FEAR underlies all the above emotional states as well as their
accompanying situations and circumstances. Almost every human being has this
fundamental FEAR, but addicts deal with it in different ways to non-addicts. Few
addicts ever allow this fear to emerge from the depths into everyday
every human being is fundamentally afraid of becoming NOTHING, of ceasing
to exist. Ultimately, it is a deep, deep fear of finding out that death
is an exit to total annihilation. Even the vast majority of religious and
spiritual people have this deep fear, which may be exacerbated by another indoctrinated
fear that, even if, perhaps, there is an afterlife, they will
finish up in hell. You can dismiss these statements about death
and complete annihilation, any which way you like, but the denial of
these deepest fears will only drive addicts into a deeper addiction.
"Eat, drink and be merry because tomorrow we cease to exist!"
IGNORING AND COVERING UP THESE DEEPEST FEARS HELP?
these deepest fears and covering them over with an addiction does nothing
to get rid of them. In fact, often, this will only cause them to leak out
from underneath and cause all kinds of side-issues, such as losing a job,
getting DUIs, resorting to violence, having a heart attack (very popular),
resorting to petty crime, family breakups, losing close friends, paranoia,
isolation, brain and skill deterioration, adopting an additional addiction such
as a drug, and a loss of interest in many enjoyable activities.
A "HIGHER" LAYER OF FEARS ON TOP OF OUR FUNDAMENTAL FEARS
we all pile yet another layer of fears right on top of the basic
fear of becoming nothing. This second layer is composed of our ubiquitous
fears of severe emotional and physical pain, disease, abandonment,
serious loss (all kinds), destitution, extreme isolation (aloneness),
helplessness, mental and physical paralysis, and of being hurt (by attack,
rejection, disasters, terrorism, serious illness, accidents, etc.)
As a reactive consequence of this added layer of fears, addicts
usually step up the frequency of their addictive practices and increase
the amount of their favorite addictive substance or activity. These
stepped-up uses, drop the addict into an even deeper fear of annihilation
because they do know they are steadily killing (annihilating) themselves.
And so the downward spiral descends—until they die (e.g., overdose, have a
heart attack) — OR, maybe, "bottom-out."
THEN MUST ADDICTS DO TO RECOVER FROM THEIR ADDICTIONS
So as an addict what can you do about your particular unhappiness
other than drown it in your favorite addiction? If we look at the TRIPLE BIND
again, and the deep unhappiness behind it, we can discern the necessary actions
we can take to free ourselves from our addictions. Some of these steps to
recovery are already well-known aspects of the 12-Step Method, but stay with me
here, because I wish to amplify on their established meanings and add some of my
own. For example, before we even get to Step 1, it is important to realize
EGOS CANNOT GET RID OF OUR EGOS. ANYWAY,
WHAT IS AN EGO?
mentioned above, egos desire only to preserve themselves and they will
use every trick to maintain their current self-serving structure, beliefs,
attitudes, denials and habits.
following characteristics of the ego explain what it is composed of:
The ego is a false identity we have made (fabricated) over time.
The ego is not singular. It is a messy, loose conglomerate
of numerous diverse sub-personalities which I call "ego-children,"
and which exist in all teenagers and adults. One ego-child will come out at
work, another at home, another at the beach, still another in church or college,
and yet another in bed. While growing up, we received many of these ego-children
from our parents, wider family, schools, churches, entertainment, society,
culture, legal system, politics, country and current world events. Some
ego-children are secretive (e.g., about sex hang-ups) and some are reactive
(e.g., our "screw you" ego-child).
Another major aspect of the ego is the part I call, "Our
Parental Authority System." As babies, children and teenagers, every
one of us was (and still is) indoctrinated, conditioned, and
brain-washed by our parents, relatives, teachers, all government politicians and
officials, peers, television, popular musicians, film stars and directors, and
our pastors, priests and gurus, all of whom were equally indoctrinated from the
time of their births. As egos we yield our personal power to this
Parental Authority System (PAS) and, without questioning it too deeply, allow it
to dictate our actions, our beliefs and our very lives. Even those who seem to
rebel against their ego's PAS, are as much in its grip as the obedient ones.
ego is NOT the Higher Self, NOT Who we Really Are, and although the ego
often uses our bodies as a "sink-hole" for dropping our
psychological problems into (the problems we do not wish to face mentally) the
ego is NOT our bodies. For most people these ego-problems we do not wish
to face mentally become our bodily diseases, our handicaps, our aches and pains,
etc. Some addicts tend to pile their addiction-of-choice on top of these
disorders (if they have them), even though most addicts use their habit to
escape directly from their psychological problems without necessarily
dropping them into chronic physical illnesses.
only way to relinquish the ego is to follow the following Ego-Dismantling
Method which usually takes many applications (over a considerable
period of time) to completely rid oneself of that ego.
Find your dominant ego-emotion (in the above Table). Note that we
will just do one emotion at a one time, but you may rotate other emotions
through the Method, if you wish, at another time on the same day or on following
Own that emotion as yours. Say: "This is MY
emotion, e.g., fear, guilt, anger, etc. I am responsible for it, because it is in
ME, not in someone else. I am not blaming others as a cause of
having these emotions, nor am I blaming my present situation, my past, or my
childhood situation because pushing the "blame" outside myself onto
others prevents me from resolving the issue inside myself NOW. My only
way out of my triple bind is to acknowledge I am the cause of my
emotional problems right now, they are in me, and that I am the only
one who can initiate their eradication. My addiction does not rid me of them,
and neither has any other supposed cure."
Feel the emotion fully. Let it flow freely. Do not think.
Welcome the emotion to flood you. Face it uninhibitedly. Even if afraid of this
emotion, let it rip. Even if the emotion is fear, challenge it to do its worst
to you. You cannot rid yourself of something you are not prepared to acknowledge
and face down, so meet the challenge head on, because you want the Happiness
that replaces the emotion once that emotion has been dissolved. Then,
while you continue to feel your emotion as fully as you can, you…
Give your emotion to your Higher Power, to God, to your Higher
Self, to the Holy Spirit (your choice). Relinquish your emotion to your
chosen Higher Power because you are powerless to rid yourself of
it, by yourself. A problem can never be truly solved on the level of the
problem. Even if it takes many minutes keep on giving your emotion up to
your Higher Power until you experience some relief.
Relax, and allow yourself to know there is a Higher Power,
God, your Higher Self, Who is always happy to relieve you of your fears, worries
and troubled emotions if you are willing to let Him help you—once you initiate
the process of relinquishment. Chat with God as best you can!
His answers are usually a new thought, or happening, rather than
simply words. His answers may occur minutes, or hours, or even days after your
Understand that your addiction is actually a ridiculous substitute
for the LOVE of God which you have walled off (dissociated) deep inside
your own mind, and which can now be resurrected into the Light of Understanding,
a Light to which you are entitled. Know that God's LOVE, once it is
resurrected will bring with it His Peace, Light, Happiness, Joy and Wisdom.
ARE THE 12 STEPS OF AA TRANSLATED INTO SPIRITUAL LANGUAGE
1: As an addictive ego-ridden
person, my life is unmanageable and full of problems.
2: I now realize that my ego cannot
get rid of my addictive ego, so I need the help of God to do so.
3: Right now I turn my
ego-will and my life over to God and I ask for His help in ridding myself of
ego, along with all my ego's emotions of fear, guilt, anger, depression,
4: I am closely examining my
addictive ego and all it has mis-created, including its emotions, quite
openly without pretence, and without rationalizations with which to paper over
them or to make excuses for them. I am making an honest inventory of all
of them to use below.
5: I am freely and openly admitting
to God and to my Self and to my Sponsor / Counselor the exact nature of all
the facets of my addictive ego and its emotions that I can think of.
6: As I use the above
Ego-Dismantling Method, I repeatedly relinquish every aspect of my
addictive ego and its emotions to God. I do this on a daily basis for as
long as it takes for my ego to dissolve completely, so that I am
available to accept His Loving Blessings of Peace and Happiness.
7: I trust God to vaporize
my ego and its emotions bit by bit as I genuinely release
them to Him. I understand that this dissolving of my ego is necessarily
gradual and gentle so I will not have to suffer serious shock or trauma. I need
to understand that as a Creation of the Infinite Power, I am no better or worse
than all the other Creations of that Infinite Power.
8: I am making a list of all those
people I have harmed, and I am willing to make amends by no longer seeing them
(or myself) as egos, but as equal Creations of God. I am doing this Step
to affirm I have withdrawn any past or present projections onto them,
before taking the next Step (9).
9: Where it is possible, and except
where it would cause further harm, I will contact those whom I have harmed and
admit my responsibility for the problems and hurt I caused them.
10: I am continuing to honestly observe
my erroneous behaviors and my un-loving ego-emotions with increased vigilance
and discernment, so that they can be eradicated with the help of God by
using the Ego-Dismantling Method described above, in conjunction with Step 7. I
will now make immediate amends for my transgressions toward others. I also
embrace this inward-looking Observer-Self as a permanent part of my Real
11: I am constantly deepening my
heartfelt prayers and meditations in order to commune with God
so that He can Lovingly flow through me as me, non-stop, in every
NOW moment without any reference to my past or future. I realize that I am not
all of God, but that God is all of my Higher Self—the Real Me. I am, in
essence, a Mind-Being within the Infinite Mind of God, outside of Which
is nothing (except silly ego-nonsense).
12: My Spiritual Awakening
is continually occurring as I increasingly allow myself to "Love
Everyone and Everything and do no harm."
As an essential part of my Awakening process I desire to
assist all of God's Creations who ask for my help with their own
Awakening to our mutual Limitless Love, Perfect Peace and Universal Harmony.
above paper is the way out of addiction, but, because that significant
attainment on your part is really a New Beginning, it needs to be combined with
continuing Spiritual Unfoldment and an increasing Knowledge of what LIFE is all
about. Otherwise it is like digging a hole to put a tiny seedling oak tree in,
and then not bothering to plant the oak!
the necessary information and Knowledge for further Spiritual Unfoldment and
Awakening is available on this Website, which will also guide you to many
other similar resources:
wish to thank JAY B., for his valuable suggestions, ideas and input,
after reviewing this Paper with him.]
feel free to distribute, email or forward this Paper on Addiction to all who may
benefit from it.
Loving Oneness Now -- Copyright © 2005 Alexander Bannatyne, PhD