The Cause and Cure for Any Addiction
I’m going to direct us back to some of the basics here, but do NOT let the simplicity of what I am about to say fool you! My experience over the last 20 years has led me to see reoccurring patterns. This is my art/skill/craft/expertise!
If and when you understand these patterns then you can set yourself free, for the rest of your life.
“You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
So, addictions, or any kind of self-betraying (or other-betraying) behavior occurs because of shame. Another way to describe this fuel of addiction is:
I am cut off from the True Source of LOVE.
—> This “disconnect” creates SHAME.
—> Shame is what fuels addictions.
Why else would I keep going back to alcohol, drugs, cheating on my spouse, workaholism, eating disorders, faking-perfection, obsessions, video-games, tv, or other addictions? These kinds of behaviors are NOT in alignment with how I would like to treat someone that I love.
We cannot make these behaviors go away, no matter how much we “try”– we have to see what the root cause is, and heal that. Once we identify the cause then we can find a true cure!
This disconnect from the True Source of Love occurs out of some form of ignorance/ not-knowing, in fullness. ( I.e.: “Forgive them Father for they know not what they are doing.)
Ignorance: I was never taught and/or never experienced a real depth of love and intimacy. I wasn’t shown the truth of what this means! In addition to that, I was taught, by my parent’s behavior or the environment around me, that Love is not available to me — for whatever reason, they showed me that I was not worth the effort to love in that immense capacity.
If you do not “have it” you cannot give it away — so my parent’s “not having” this love– communicated to me that I cannot have it either, but that is not the truth — it may be the truth of what we experienced, but it is not the truth of the fullness of Love we are meant to have and live within.
This disconnect from REAL LOVE, that we often “feel” but never recognized or put words to, may look like one of these:
- “Not measuring up” : No matter what I did, it never felt like it was quite enough for me to feel truly secure and loved.
- “Too Busy to recognize my need for Love”: I’m so “busy” all the time, working, I have no need of “Love”– I pushed that aside long ago. I’d rather stay busy and numb myself to those tender feelings and experiences.
- “I’m just gonna wait here“: They told me it was coming…I “know” I am worth loving…I’m just going to keep taking this substitute (_________) until the Real thing shows up…it’s “just around the corner.” “Maybe if I run faster?”
- “It must be my fault”, I’m just a horrible, unlovable person…that’s just the way it is. I have hurt too many people to deserve love.
Look, it is vital that each of us learns how to walk in integrity, with dignity, and self-respect. This is what it means to “Walk in Love!” To Walk in Love = to Walk in Truth — in the most loving way possible..and even into the seemingly impossible.
When we cut ourselves off, or are cut off, from the true path of Love, then we experience the feeling of shame and emptiness. That shame and emptiness is way too painful of a place to “live” in, so we create defenses (really early in life!).
Some of these defenses are:
- Depression: We numb our need for Love, press it down and squish our heart so that we don’t constantly feel the pain…we get so used to deadening it all that we don’t even realize what we are actually “actively” doing — de-pressing.
- Pleasing: this is much like busyness, we do what we can to achieve, please, perform, or otherwise “fill up” a broken “other” (like a fragile parent) –with the hopes that they will somehow see our worth and fill us up with real Love. Note: “pleasing” is always paired with “waiting”, your life is constantly on hold, while you wait for the other person to “get it“, that you are worth loving.
- Apathy: we act like we don’t need this Love, and get used to living on scraps…(this is like depression, but seemingly more resigned to “I just don’t care!” –where depression is more like a continual loss and sadness.)
- Anxiety: We surround ourselves with drama and attack ourselves with anxiety, it is like a fog that works to distract us from the deeper pain and loneliness of being cut off from Real LOVE. We can get so “lost” in the terror and anxiety that we burn out our adrenal glands (I am not a medical doctor so research more on that if you wish!) — all for the “service” of running from experiencing the real feelings underneath and finding the cure/the balm they are asking for.
There are many others, but it is the same basic pattern, showing up in a myriad of ways. When we learn this new Formula–then we are equipped to take a step back and SEE what is going on– and free ourselves!
Here is a quick drawing of one of the patterns of addiction — that I often write out in a therapy session so that my client can visually see what he or she is doing:
I often call this “The Boot and the Carrot”. You have this giant boot behind you, threatening you; and this carrot (or some mostly-empty-temporary-reward) in front of you– and you constantly put yourself back on this “treadmill”– and THAT is where you are choosing to live!
When we are drowning in shame, that is when we “use” whatever addiction we have on hand, in efforts to try to fill up the emptiness that our disconnect from REAL LOVE has created. Then, I feel more shame, because of my secret addiction, and run to more addiction or back on the treadmill to try to “prove” my worth…which is impossible to prove.
Accepting Real Love is about choosing to receive what is already here. We are afraid of it and have forgotten it is available to each of us, in an infinite amount. I am reminded of Christ’s words: “for I have come, not to judge the world, but to give life to the world.” or in the same book of St. John, Jesus says: “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd…”
You are free to choose the life of the endless boot and empty carrot for yourself, but then you are missing the deeper experience and reality of REAL LOVE! This REAL LOVE is what I am constantly making the effort to put into words in all of my posts here. The real love involves having the courage to step off the treadmill.
Look at this beautiful invitation to a different kind of Life–that my dear friend Elliott Smith wrote into his lyrics for us:
I have become a silent movie
The hero killed the clown
Can’t make a sound
Nobody knows what he’s doing
Can’t make a sound
The slow motion moves me
The monologue means nothing to me
Bored in the role, but he can’t stop
Standing up to sit back down
Or lose the one thing found
Eyes locked and shining
Can’t you tell me what’s happening?
Why should you want any other
When you’re a world within a world?
Now, knowing Elliott, I’m sure he had 100 different layers of meaning for this song as well as “no meaning”– and I have touched on some in previous posts, but, for now, let’s just see it as another description of how to get off the repetitive, destructive or monotonous cycle– and begin to know real Love. We can then let go of this disingenuous, yet familiar pattern we’ve been offering ourselves!
The Way to let go of addictions is to recognize your disconnect from the real Source of Love, and then heal that— and pray to the Creator, God, to help you on this path. You would have no NEED to get back on the “treadmill” over and over if you were connected to, and living within, the real source of Love…if you knew the real essence of who You are and the depth of Love that God continuously offers us.
Elliott’s song as a description of this process:
I have become a silent movie— transformed into this quiet place, where you are observing what is going on, from outside yourself, like watching a movie and not being caught up in lots of dialogue — the constant drama of your competing desires, that each claim to be “you.”
The hero killed the clown— The hero is your better half, the courageous side of you with high thoughts and aspirations of love — I imagine the breath of God in Adam– like when Aslan breathes on Lucy in the Narnia books — the awakening of the deepest part of our Soul; the “clown”, in my understanding, is your present day personality, or warring desires that always claim to be “you” — you are on a path to find out how to NOT let the clown part of you dominate over the True Hero. (I do not want to confuse anyone at this point, but it is important to point out that our warring desires can mimic the hero and act like they are the hero — doing such a “good job” to kill off the joyous child-like part of yourself which can be clown-like. For example, the super-ego coming in and “like a boss” trampling over the tender child-like parts of ourselves that are beautiful and free.
I’ve heard it said, time and again, that every virtue has the propensity to turn into a vice. Jesus said “my children know my voice” — you can ask God for discernment regarding the part of your Soul to align with and which parts to “repent”/ turn away completely from. The scriptures remind us we are at war against the ‘world’, the flesh, and the devil: “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
It is our job, with the help of God, to transform and see, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God– and to recognize who the True HERO is. It’s not the one desperately running on the treadmill– because, in this new formula: “The slow-motion moves me”
You would have no need to “prove” yourself if and when you are connected to the True Source of Love:
“The monologue means nothing to me“ : Our outer (present day personality) self, is just a role, that we cannot stop (like a costume that is ours for a certain time). It is NOT our real Self. It stands up and acts like it is “us” …We have been given a body and are embodied within it– but the reflection of me in the mirror is not the sum-total of “me” inside this body. My body will die and be buried and yet my Soul carries on.
“Or lose the ONE THING found” –is LOVE, it is the “Pearl of Great Price” — our Soul saved –by and in God. This is a great mystery, yet we must consciously choose to allow and petition God to keep revealing it to us and in us. We have forgotten who we are and we are just now remembering…Jesus invited us: “You, come and follow me…let the dead bury their own dead.”
“Eyes locked and shining…can you tell me what’s happening?“
Yes! You are an initiate. You are connecting yourself, if you choose, to the Love of God– you are being transformed, and transforming into something of much more depth and beauty than the boringness and the slavery of our pettiness and addictions!
What “right” do I have to cut myself off from the Source of all Love? If we are all connected, then as I cut myself off from Love, I am also cutting you off from Love. (This goes into quantum physics – which I certainly like to study, but cannot yet explain…)
Clearly, I could go on and on to describe this is deeper and different ways– but, most people these days don’t have the time or attention span, etc. I’ll write more blogs and I have others available here and my YouTube channel! (www.youtube.com/user/drcherylmeier ).
Please share a link to my blog with like-minded people who you think would enjoy looking at life from these perspectives! I know what I have to say is valuable –because I see so many lives, and my own, so deeply healed and transformed; this is why I put the time in here, to offer this insight freely.
I wish you much Love! You are not alone.
Tiago Iorc – My Girl [Acoustic]
Wow! I just found the (above) song! I quieted my mind to see what would “fit” and I thought: “I’ve got Sunshine…” So I searched on YouTube and this is the first one I was “drawn” to… In this beautiful acoustic version, Tiago Iorc, who I do not know of, slows the song down, and –captures the beauty and essence– the FEELING of what Real Love feels like, vs. the “quick fix” of “rotating relationships” and addictions we often run to. The true “Sunshine” is the Source of all Love– “my girl” is “real” but also a signpost to the Real- REAL….(I describe all of this here in my “Girl Longing” songs/playlist on Youtube!) Enjoy!