Loving Oneness Now

ALL ADDICTIONS - CAUSES AND CURES

 

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FOREWORD:  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."

THE DESCRIPTIVE FACTS OF ACTUAL ADDICTIVE BEHAVIOR(S)

Whether 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:

A 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.

Such "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?

ADDICTIONS AS AN ESCAPE

Nowadays, 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.

THREE-WAY BIND OF ADDICTS

Almost all addicts find themselves in a triple bind (insoluble three-way trap).

1.  Their presenting problem (in their job, marriage, failure, inadequacy, etc.,) itself.

2.  Their powerlessness to solve (to resolve, to get out of, to fix) their presenting problem.

3.  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 next high.

But what are addicts escaping from? What is the answer to that key question?

UNHAPPINESS IN THE WIDEST EMOTIONAL SENSE

To 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, diversionary euphoria."

I [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 have many:

grief (loss of a loved-one or partner)

sad (over a deprivation of some kind)

frustrated (over a seemingly insoluble problem)

angry (over being insulted, or hurt, or attacked, etc.)

anxious (about a financial insecurity or family illness)

panic feelings (over some un-nameable/nameable horror or event happening in the near future)

depressed (over a powerlessness to solve a long-term chronic problem)

despondent (over another failure, another defeat, another disaster)

despair (that life is a complete mess into which I sink deeper and deeper)

fearful of (being fired, going broke)

guilt-ridden (about all the people I hurt)

ashamed (of my secret "sins" and/or unworthiness, etc.)

disgusted with myself (over all my inadequacies)

stressed-out (about a rotten job, a bad marriage, etc.)

disappointed (about some permanent aspect of my spouse/life)

pessimistic (over the way my country and the world is worsening)

deep dislike (of something nasty or emotionally painful in my life: spouse, boss, child, job)

a hate (of someone or something I am forced to have in my life)

worried (about almost everything in my life. I am a chronic worrier who needs an escape)

BUT WHAT UNDERLIES ALL THESE UNHAPPY EMOTIONAL STATES?

Going 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 consciousness.

BUT WHAT IS THIS FUNDAMENTAL FEAR ALL ABOUT?

Almost 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!"

DOES IGNORING AND COVERING UP THESE DEEPEST FEARS HELP?

Ignoring 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.

PILING A "HIGHER" LAYER OF FEARS ON TOP OF OUR FUNDAMENTAL FEARS

Often, 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."

WHAT THEN MUST ADDICTS DO TO RECOVER FROM THEIR ADDICTIONS

O.K. 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 that… 

OUR EGOS CANNOT GET RID OF OUR EGOS.  ANYWAY, WHAT IS AN EGO?

As 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.

The following characteristics of the ego explain what it is composed of:

(a)  The ego is a false identity we have made (fabricated) over time.

(b)  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).

(c)  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.

The 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.

EGO-DISMANTLING METHOD

The 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. 

1.  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 days.

2.  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."

3.  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…

4.  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.  Then…

5.  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 asking.

6.  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.

HERE ARE THE 12 STEPS OF AA TRANSLATED INTO SPIRITUAL LANGUAGE

STEP 1:  As an addictive ego-ridden person, my life is unmanageable and full of problems.

STEP 2:  I now realize that my ego cannot get rid of my addictive ego, so I need the help of God to do so.

STEP 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, helplessness, etc.

STEP 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.

STEP 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.

STEP 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.

STEP 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.

STEP 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).

STEP 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.

STEP 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 Mind.

STEP 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).

STEP 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.

CONCLUDING REMARKS

The 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!

 

All 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:

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[I wish to thank JAY B., for his valuable suggestions, ideas and input, after reviewing this Paper with him.]

Please feel free to distribute, email or forward this Paper on Addiction to all who may benefit from it.

2009-11-18

 

Loving Oneness Now -- Copyright © 2005 Alexander Bannatyne, PhD

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