To understand the nature of addiction we would have to understand the root of all human suffering. Most people find that there is a deep emptiness or void within us, which they feel needs to be filled. To fill this void, we as humans, turn to various avenues to avoid the feeling that this void brings.
Avoid meaning anti void – or a movement away from the emptiness.
Therefore most of the human race has an addiction of some kind, from alcohol, food, drugs, exercise, religion, football, etc. It seems to be the destructive addictions that make the headlines, but we would have to look at the whole structure of addiction. Even obsessive compulsive disorder (ODC) is a form of addiction, of performing habitual behaviour in order to keep things safe and secure.
When people give up an addiction they often move into a secondary addiction, usually its opposite, so they become an anti of their addiction, yet this is not the solution either, as the void is now being filled with resistance. Those who have physical addictions i.e. alcohol, drugs, etc, can often give up the physical usage, but end up turning that avoidance into a psychological addiction, i.e. moving into a religious belief or a New Age belief, but still the running from this vast sense of loneliness is not actually being addressed.
This vast sense of loneliness cannot be escaped from, and most people live and die, yet they never actually face it or get in touch with it. In this space people often feel unknown, alone, vulnerable and unheard, as the ‘real self’, which lives beyond the ego or personality, is covered over by this ultimate sense of not knowing what is real and what is false. When the mind stops running and enters into this space, you will feel a tug of resistance, as this will require the mind to let go, but the mind believes that boredom will ensue.
Addiction is therefore an escape from feeling this boredom, and ultimately the real peace that exists beyond the dramas of the mind, which is the ego. If a person were to drop their addiction without creating another addiction, all the suppressed feelings of this loneliness, this vulnerability and being unheard will have to come to the surface and be felt. This is what most people are afraid of, so fear keeps a person in the vicious circle of addiction.
We pass this constant running from the void to our children and we teach them how to compete for success and we use habitual behaviour to do it. Our children grow believing that habit and addiction forming is normal and it is only when they move into destructive addiction do we ‘believe’ they are doing something ‘wrong’. Good addictive behaviour is still the running away from this deep-rooted sense of loneliness, and neither good nor bad addictions are the solution, as they are still the avoidance.
This moment is all we have, and we can observe our addictions only from moment-to-moment, so when you next reach for that cigarette, glass of wine or your three mile run, stop for a moment and ask yourself, ‘what will happen if I don’t do it?’ There will be a feeling, so feel that feeling and all your suppressed unhappiness will begin to emerge, so allow it to come out, and the next time you reach out for a false friend, keep feeling.
Addiction is neither good nor bad, it is what you are running from that needs to faced and felt. The void is the fear of being completely alone, beyond that is the real you, who is waiting to grace your life with its presence.
Mike Robinson, author of the no.1 bestselling book: The True Dynamics of Life