What does addiction mean? What defines someone in addiction and are we all not just a nation of addicts?
This is a subject that I have been meaning to write about for a while but have never really known how to put it into words. Ive observed this taboo for the last 6 years more intensely than ever before, thinking I understood what it meant to be an addict to then changing my mind again and maybe in another 5 years I will have another view, thats the process of life though, of learning and of human nature. We change our minds a lot! We change our minds because we also change our perceptions, our perceptions change through our own personal circumstances and experiences in the world. So how is it possible to ever have a solid conclusion on what one thing can mean? There will be people out there that will have a solid conclusion because that is their experience and also what they have stuck with to help them make up their mind.. Ie ..religion, yoga, buddhism, AA, the concept of God and Jesus in their lives, even prescription drugs and local services.
However here is the question I ask, when we were born, would we of had a concept of any of those ideas and why would we need them later on in life to define us or to give us identity? It seems we, and especially in the west, are a nation of labels.. Mental health, depression, addict, alcoholic, gambler, bipolar, split personality, ADHD, anorexic and the list could go on. It seems once we have identity to the perceived problem, then we can get help for it. We are able to finally understand what is wrong with us and why we may be behaving in a certain way and hopefully get some sort of help for it to get better.
There is nothing wrong with this by the way but my observation is this can also cultivate fear, fear to move away from the label. We have created a definition for ourselves and even what is right for others because the thought of being just ourselves can leave us vulnerable. The thought of someone else being able to achieve a life without being defined can also lead to the human emotion of jealousy. As humans we need identity, but are we not just humans? In the same way a monkey is a monkey, do you not accept monkeys for what they are? Do monkeys accept each other for what they are? We are one species that has overcomplicated the idea of being just one species.
Why and how? When we are born, we are born into a family and a culture and although we are all born with a heart and a brain which is exactly the same we very shortly become the world we are brought into through our own perception. A brother and sister may be brought into the world with the same circumstances but each one may have very different views. This can cause sibling rivalry and family complications and the need to tell the other how they should behave. Reason is because that has become our identity and the thought of someone doing it a different way leaves us vulnerable. If we were to respect someone else's views and not judge then we have learnt the art of not being defined by our own labels. Expectation in itself leads to our own suffering.
So what does this mean when it comes to addiction? We can all be addicted to anything, from heroin, to success because all of it provides an answer to not leaving ourselves vulnerable in a world that has become somewhere to hide. We hide behind social media, substances, our job, we let our circumstances define us and we are left with a choice of whether we practice the art of letting go of that on a daily basis. We are not the same people from one day to the next and we do not define someone by their actions of yesterday.
If we learnt to be mindful and conscious of our actions on a daily basis then we don't ever need to be addicted to anything. You can have that glass of wine, or not, you can place a cheeky bet on, or not, you can let go of your judgement to your parents or siblings, you can learn to forgive quickly, both of yourself and others. The power of choice, let that be your choice. As when it comes down to it, you are left with yourself. So learning to love yourself and smile in the face of diversity is one of the most powerful gifts to overcome "addiction". We are on a journey in life, only the mind will keep you in one place. You don't have to stay there. Why suffer when you don't have to?
Learning to be a butterfly and flap my wings of freedom is one of the greatest gifts I gave myself. I choose to daily (i say loosely) to connect to a power of love and guidance. That doesn't mean Im right but it works for me.