The Nature of Addiction
In the last 100 years or so, our world has seen a dramatic shift away from diseases of insufficiency towards diseases of abundance, at least in the industrialized societies. For example, on a purely physical level, we’re seeing a lot less malnutrition, acute vitamin deficiencies, and infectious diseases, and a lot more heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Essentially, on an emotional spiritual level, indulging the ego and getting what you want ultimately leads to a cycle of addiction.
As we become more powerful and learn to master both our physical and energetic bodies and environment, we will be challenged by addiction. During most of our human history, addiction has been held in check by insufficiency; for example, it’s unlikely you’ll become a serious alcoholic if you can only afford one beer per day. However, as we’ve learned to master our physical environment with technology, we are now in a position where nearly everyone can get a lot more of what they want… and if you can’t handle the abundance, you’re likely to end up addicted in one way or another.
If I had to summarize addiction in one short phrase, it would be the following:
Addiction is the set of adaptations, behaviors, and reactions created when you get too much of what you want from a place of attachment.
Addiction: A Disease of Abundance
There’s three components to addiction, and they are all important if you want to understand what addiction is and how to overcome it.
Part one: the “adaptations, behaviors, and reactions”
Essentially, this is the result or manifestation of the addiction. To put it another way, these adaptations, behaviors, and reactions are the reason you know that you have an addiction in the first place! Examples would include feeling sick or agitated or other withdrawl symptoms when you can’t satisfy your addiction, or lying/cheating/stealing to facilitate your addiction, etc. These adaptations, behaviors, and reactions are also the way you will know when you have gotten past your addiction, because they simply won’t be there anymore!
Part two: getting “too much of what you want”
For many of us, an abundance of material resources is a novel experience, since for much of human history only the nobility or ruling classes were able to regularly get enough of what they wanted to fuel addictive behavior. And the adaptations, behaviors, and reactions reference above can only occur when you get too much of what you want because it is too readily, cheaply, and/or abundantly available.
Part three: getting “too much of what you want” from a place of attachment
This is the crux of the issue! It’s certainly possible to live a life of abundance without addiction, but only if you live from a place of presence and non-attachment. Except for a rare few individuals, nearly everyone who achieves great success in the modern Western world does so from a place of attachment. As a result, we get attached to our money or success or prestige or body or charisma or family or whatever it is that we credit with our success, and we worry about losing it. This is classic attachment to result, which – as the Buddha said! – is the root of all suffering.
Note that most of the time, the more you get what you want, and the younger you are when you get it, the greater the risk of addiction. This is exactly why so many young sports heroes, rock stars, etc. ruin or even end their lives as a result of severe addiction. (A few high profile examples from recent decades include Jimmy Hendrix, Elvis Presley, Len Bias, Kurt Cobain, and Amy Winehouse; they all had such incredible talent and early success that their egoic over-indulgence was fatal.)
Another way to put it is that you are addicted when you think you have to have something to be or do something else. For example, “I have to smoke to be relaxed”, or “I have to have sex to feel good about myself”, or “I have to take a pill to get through the day.”
The cycle of addiction is the natural “next step” on the ladder of evolution as we move out of the material insufficiency of the past into the abundant modern technological world of the present and future. It’s completely natural and normal to expect that, as we improve ourselves and our lives and increase our abundance, we’ll slip into cycles of addictive behavior, and then learn to transcend them and live gracefully.
Addiction is all about manipulating the world around you to get what you want; by contrast, gratitude is all about trusting that a higher power will support you in the most perfect way in each moment.
With time, practice, patience, presence, and perhaps using the Awakening Dynamics Tools of Higher Dimensional Living, it really is possible to find life after addiction: you simply need to reframe your relationship with the abundance in your life to come from presence, surrender, trust, and gratitude
(the “right” or “spiritual” path), rather than competition, hoarding, insufficiency, and separation (the “wrong” or “materialistic” path, which inevitably leads to addiction.)
When that happens, you can live abundantly free of addiction, and hopefully be inspired to share what you’ve learned with others!