What is addiction? How do we recognize when we're addicted? What to do then?

 "Addiction is a condition that results when a person ingests a substance or engages in an activity that can be pleasurable, but the continued use of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life, responsibilities, such as work or relationships, or health. 
Users may not be aware that their behavior is out of control and causing problems for themselves and others." ~ Psychology Today

Common And Seemingly Uncommon Addictions
When you are sad, bored, or depressed, do you go shopping?  Rather than looking at what you can acquire, look for what you can let go of.  When I let go of something physical, mental and emotional "space" are cleared. It's as though by letting go of a thing, I have more of me! "Less is more". I feel more relaxed and inspired.
When you travel, is there some element of escape from your life? Do you give yourself permission for activities when you travel, that you don't allow yourself in your daily life?  What does this say about your daily life?
There's a scene in the Star Trek movie "Insurrection", when the crew of the Enterprise visit a planet where the people have the capacity to travel anywhere in the galaxy but don't. When asked why, one of them replied "Where would galactic travel take us, but away from here?" Sonoma County is this way for me.

We are led to believe that for us to be happy, we must have entertainment, adventure. Yet, these activities are only temporary retreats from what I call our "default state": the experience of ourselves and our lives that is most common to us.

Dependence On Making Others Dependent On Us
We may not recognize when we are attempting to lure people into a dependency on us. When we can create this dynamic, we feel a temporary sense of power; one that likely turns to emptiness. Reflecting on a significant relationship in your life, please take a moment to answer the following questions. As writing is so revealing, you may wish to write your answers.
In this relationship:
Are you looking for a certain kind of attention? What kind? Why?
Are you in a power struggle? What is the nature of this struggle?
Are you making them your "project? What are you looking to change in them? Why?
Do you feel yourself to be a better person when you're with them? How so?
Do you look to them for permission to behave a certain way or engage in a certain activity? What way/activity?

When in relationship, we often pick one of two polarities. Call them high/low, good/bad, empowerment/dis-empowerment, right/wrong, deserving/ undeserving. I have chosen all those roles many times throughout my life. When I have chosen the "high", "deserving", or "good" polarity, I put on a persona to match that. I talk the "high" or "good" talk, while hiding those aspects of my life I think the person I'm relating to will disapprove of.   As a child, I assumed the belief that I was a "good, loved" child. So, as an adult, I have  tried to place myself into the "good" polarity.

Addiction To Emotions
Often, our first reactionary emotion is anger. We believe that this makes us powerful and will frighten our "opposition."  We feel adrenaline moving through us, our hearts beating faster, the blood flowing faster, providing more oxygen to our bodies. Through this, we know we're alive. From this perspective, being peaceful is somehow associated with weakness. Yet, we are our most clear thinking, centered, and strong, when we're peaceful. We are more aware of our surroundings and other people. We are more aware of what is authentically true for us. True strength is accessed through a still mind.
When wallowing in sadness, we can find further evidence as to how we are alone in the world and how "nothing goes our way." We sink into depression and see a world filled only with loss and heartbreak.
When we allow our fear to influence us, we make our choices from a sense of inferiority; from a subconscious belief  that we are not deserving of love and success in our lives.
Allowing our emotions to influence our choices perpetuates this self imposed scale of deserving-not deserving, superior-inferior, worthy-not worthy, good-bad, acceptable-not acceptable.

Addiction To Thought
Thoughts are our constant companion, whether we like them or not. Even when our thoughts are distressing and worrisome, there is a familiarity with them. We believe it's our thoughts that remind us that we're alive.       "I think, therefore I am." ~ Rene Descartes
Our lives revolve around thoughts such that we believe that without them, we are somehow lifeless and purposeless. We have become so addicted to this belief that we may never even question the value of thought. This is our most basic addiction. The one that leads to all others. When we deal with this addiction, all other addictions and in fact, our very existence, is positively influenced.

"I am not my thoughts, emotions, sense perceptions, and experiences. I am not the content of my life. I am Life. I am the space in which all things happen. I am consciousness. I am Now. I Am."  ~ Eckhart Tolle, Stillness Speaks

Beyond (or behind) our thoughts, there is an awareness that has always watched the drama of our lives. It's like a screen upon which the movie (thoughts, emotions, even our dreams) is projected. Although this "screen" (this awareness) remains free from what is projected upon it. In Eastern Mysticism, this awareness  is called the "witness". I consider this "witness" our doorway to Infinite Life

Notice when you are focused on creating or giving, how you have fewer thoughts about yourself, about what you can get from another (no greed or manipulation); no thoughts of hiding or defending. In fact, there are fewer thoughts altogether!
Becoming Aware Of Addiction

One great dynamic to reveal our addictive tendency is in the drum circle. When playing a rhythm, we often experience boredom (just like life, when in a repetitive cycle) This boredom may also be experienced as a frustration and an increasing desire for a change: speed up the tempo, add some more parts to the rhythmic pattern, something! It's this very boredom (both in the drum circle and in life) that leads us to try to find something to "fill our consciousness." When one stays with this boredom, not trying to change or minimize it, but accepting it, the boredom gives way to deeper peace and joy. Sit with your boredom, let it build within you, breathing deeply as you do. Let go of results and time, of doing of any kind and just sit. The boredom will pass when you have fully accepted it. When I do, I experience a peace and joy as sweet as any entertainment or adventure. This peace is available 24/7.

Freedom From Addiction
I love to quote Joseph Campbells pithy, poignant, phrase; "Follow Your Bliss". Like the bumper sticker says: "If it ain't fun, don't do it".  I believe the essence of why we fall into addiction is that deep down we know this exquisite Bliss is within us: that it is in fact, who we are. But since we are so addicted to thought, we use our thoughts to find it. We look to externals to experience it. It ain't there.

Follow your bliss. What do you love to do?
Following my Bliss, my entire life has changed. I do work that I love, I live with people that I love, and have learned how to return to love when I have entered conflict. Follow your bliss long enough, and your life becomes filled with inspiration and passion.

Do you feel stuck in your life? Do you have concerns in a relationship or.feel weighted down by  addiction?
Do you want to experience the wealth of strength and joy within you?
It is my profound honor to assist you through whatever passage you are traversing, to a deeper awareness of your innate worth, and the recognition and expression of your unique gifts.
Visit my web page;
On Facebook: Sahar Eric Pinkham
On YouTube: SaharSound

I wish you Peace.

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