Coming to terms with addiction is a difficult task, especially when addiction is attributed to drugs, alcohol and gambling. The very essence of addiction rests in defense mechanisms that are being overused, the unconscious mind working overtime to protect the self. 

Defence mechanisms are set up very early in life as a form of protection. Unlike animals with their sharp claws and big teeth to protect themselves, humans are born in vulnerable states. But the most amazing thing that humans possess is their psyche that intelligently creates what is commonly known as the ego. During childhood this works and helps in surviving, whether it be abuse, neglect or any level of lack of twenty- four -seven nurturing.  

Patterns of behaviour are carried on into adult hood and it is then that they are not so useful. In fact, the need to survive is limiting to any adult. And it is in survival mode that addiction is prevalent.

Addiction can take the shape of drugs, alcohol and gambling and in these forms, it is more obvious. But other states of addiction are shopping, sex, food, money, drama, in fact anything that is done to alter a mood from outside of the self. 

Addiction is a strong need to change a feeling that is causing unrest. And somewhere along the line the pleasure centre of the brain has been switched on by numbing down the feelings. This becomes a state of mind that directs the self. It is similar to the grooves in a record that have been set in. To smooth them out is near to impossible. This is the challenge that any person faces in addressing addiction.

But it is not impossible; many people have overcome their addiction problems and live very productive lives. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to wanting to make the change. Getting to know the thoughts and feelings that keep the addiction going is a big key in the process of change as  these are what have been directing the behaviours in the first place. 

Defence mechanisms are not the only part of the human psyche. There are innate qualities that provide the human with the resources to overcome their problems. Qualities such as patience, restraint, wisdom, strength, and courage are but a few of the virtues that are part of the human make up. These qualities grow when attention is placed on them. The more an aspect of the psyche is used the stronger it becomes. 

Developing a practice that will enable a state of observation rather than being in subjectation, like seeing things from a higher perspective as in a cherry picker and looking down to a wider picture.

From this higher platform a new awareness will start to develop. Learning to be with feelings instead of doing something to get rid of them strengthens restraint and builds new pathways in the brain.   

It all takes time.

‘The greatest study I ever undertook was the study of myself.’ (Quote unknown source)

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