Breaking Through the Cultural Paradigm of addiction

I do not know anyone who would argue the fact that we are living in times that are as tumultuous as they are transformative. As a species it seems we are being asked with increasing urgency to become very clear about our responsibility to ourselves and our planet. When faced with such a degree of uncertainty, it is predictable that we would be drawn to familiar patterns of behavior which provide comfort even when they are ultimately destructive.

The cultural paradigm of addiction is ambiguous in that certain expressions of addictive energy are deemed acceptable while others are not. For example, a recovering alcoholic may turn to excessive exercise, which is far preferable but still has not quite addressed the essence of the problem. Consumerism is actually encouraged as is the idea of success, which in some cases is an addiction to power at the expense of others.

Addictive energy will always find an object. To focus on the object of addiction is recognition of a problem and an important first step, but still allows the addictive urge itself to continue to operate unchecked. This is why so many recovering addicts find another object, albeit less harmful. It is a type of psychological bondage that creates an often overlooked, but continuous sense of uneasiness, judgement and mistrust because on some deep level, we know we are not free.

Recognition of the urge behind the object is the first step. When the urge is recognized as simply an urge, rather than an urge for……….the power of the object is diminished somewhat and a space is created for exploration. You can indulge the urge and remain trapped; you can resist the urge and experience the much dreaded conflict; or you can simply observe the urge with no judgement in order to explore the nature of the urge itself.

When the nature of the urge itself is explored, it is exposed as a desire or yearning for something much deeper. You could almost call it a Soul longing. This exposure is the beginning of the journey toward true freedom. It can be an arduous journey in that it requires courage, honesty and sincere commitment. Yet it is exactly this degree of commitment that is necessary if we are to meet our challenging times with intelligence.

This journey toward true freedom is the journey home from who you have been told you are to who you truly are. A sense of expansion emerges when your true nature is revealed as being that which is untouched by and greater than any addictive urge. In fact, your true nature is recognized as the space of compassion in which the addictive urge is held. From this paradigm, addiction is understood as a blessing. When the addictive urge is viewed through the lens of intelligent compassion, it will lead you directly into your own heart.

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