I wrote this post speaking from my own personal experiences with addiction and from those of others who have been open enough to share their stories with me.

If you are reading this, and you regard yourself as addicted to some substance or behavior or you worry about your attachment to some thing, some one or some state, let me first tell you this:

You have no idea how powerful you are.

Power to you

I’m not talking willpower-powerful here. That’s a shallow kind of powerful. I am talking the kind of powerful that people find in themselves when they are deeply inspired with love or close to dying and ready to give up everything.

Truth is, most people have no idea how powerful they truly are. And many will never find out until their dying day, only because nothing important enough shows up in their life. Imagine what a humongous shame that is! Therefore, here’s something else:

Your addiction may be one of the greatest gifts you will ever receive.

For if and when you transcend your addiction, you will find the biggest freedom imaginable.

Endless flow

Stop and feel for a moment. At this point, is your heart beating faster with recognition? Is at least a tiny something inside brimming with energy, because you thought this was going to be about all the things you are doing wrong and in stead you get this beautiful present? Yes? Awesome. You are aware of the endless flow that moves each of us. If you get a glimpse of the magic of this and value it highly enough, you will be hungry for more. This is from where you will cure your addiction. It’s not the only way, but it is by far the easiest. I know, because i have been there myself.

What’s in the way

Quite possibly however, your head is still telling you that you are not worthy or too weak to be considered powerfulThat you have created too big a mess, that you may be too fucked up inside, that you have disappointed your loved ones once too many, pushed your limits too far and let yourself down in too many ways to believe that you are truly carrying a gift. It’s ok. This is the part where you get to see in relentless close-up the very thing that is in the way between you and freedom. See it for what it is, and it will transform.

But first, a short explanation about addiction:

“Wise beings do not want to remain a slave to the fear of pain. They permit the world to be what it is instead of being afraid of it.”

Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul

What is addiction?

Here’s how i understand addiction: it is a pattern which grows from the deep longing to be relieved of pain. This pain may be a simple physical or emotional discomfort, but more often than not is caused by deeply rooted inner beliefs about what’s wrong with us and how we can not handle reality.

Later on, when our system has gotten used to the substance or experience (coffee, relationship, cigarettes, heroin, alcohol, shopping, chocolate, gambling, starving, name yours), withdrawal symptoms may come up and be an added cause of pain or discomfort all by themselves.

The pattern becomes one of compulsive behavior: we do it more often and more strongly than is healthy or desirable and we can not moderate it anymore.

By then, we either abandon ourselves and give up trying to change our behavior, or we start making promises to ourselves and our loved ones, then breaking those promises over and over because we still fear the feelings of pain and discomfort that inevitably come up: our deepest feelings of inadequacy.

Protecting the fortress

The addiction becomes our fortress, seemingly protecting us and at the same time cutting us of from the greater flow of life. Even so, we will protect it using all the means we can find. Here are a few examples of ways in which we protect the fortress. They may appear in your life very subtly or painfully unescapable:

  • finding excuses,
  • hiding our traces,
  • seeking companions (“friends” whom we are actually abusing so that we can be ok with sabotaging ourselves just a little bit longer),
  • feeling guilty (but not acting on it),
  • saying sorry (but knowing deep inside that the addiction still has our balls),
  • blaming others or circumstances for our tendencies,
  • faking just enough openness to be left alone (but hiding the part where we actually think we’re crossing the line),
  • feeling ashamed (and going for another round of whatever calms our voices of self hatred),
  • making promises (and then, with everybody calmed down, leaving it there).

Healing addiction: the way out is in

Curing your addiction may seem very hard but if you trust the process enough, it will turn out to be the most ecstatic gift you can give yourself (read on to see how self love and trust will support your process). The gift is freedom. And the way out of suffering, is in.

So here’s what you need to do: quit your addictive behavior (whether it be smoking, drinking, fasting, cleaning or controlling everything) for some time. If you think you can’t, just imagine yourself quitting and see what happens: fear will arise. Resistance. Despair. Monkey-mind. Now look: what is making you feel so uneasy? Ask yourself: what’s so bad about this? Why does this hurt so much?

“We are constantly trying to hold it all together. If you really want to see why you do things, then don’t do them and see what happens.”

Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul

Many people end up finding a deep and hurtful inner conviction that they have picked up in your lifetime, probably at an early age already, such as this: I am worthless. I am a loser. I am not good enough. I am a burden. I am dumb. I am hopeless. I am weak.

It’s these beliefs that keep you from being a supporting friend to yourself, someone you love, someone you can trust.

“At any moment you can feel frustration, anger, fear, jealousy, insecurity or embarrassment. If you watch you will see the heart is trying to push it all away. If you want to be free you have to learn to stop fighting all these human feelings.”

Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul

Until you stop running from these beliefs (thought patterns), until you stop fighting your human feelings, their voices will sound louder and louder. Shutting them up will require more and more effort. Your doses of whatever will need to be higher and higher.

Your drinking, smoking or sex addiction will have you feeling worse about yourself than ever before, and people around you will start to express worries about you or reject your presence.

Thus, you are confirming your own beliefs: i am weak, i am a loser, i am a burden. And, possibly: people don’t understand me. The world is against me.

You will not see this spiral and its effects in full clarity until you step out of it. And stepping out of it seems hard, because you are so involved! Naturally, you believe what you are seeing: you are weak. Where on Earth would you find the strength to quit the thing that is easing the pain for you?

This is where self love and trust come in. Be prepared to give up control of your fortress and start talking to (who you think is) the enemy.

Stay present

In stead of moving away, go exactly where it hurts the most. Watch and listen carefully.

You will start meeting a part of your psyche that longs to be seen, actually, recognized, finally, for its needs. Listen and deep inside you will find a voice that desperately wants to be heard. Be with it, lovingly, and let its energy be expressed. Let it rage, tremble, kick, cry out. Share, if possible, with someone who is willing to listen without judgment. It’s not you, it’s a voice. It just wants to be heard.

If you manage to do this, you have found the place in you from where you can heal. This is the place in you that you can trust. And so can others, as they will start to see in due time. This is from where you allow space for anything to come up, for old stories to emerge, for old wounds to heal. Anything can exist in this space, even the harshest judgments you hold about yourself.

Self love

Do you love yourself?

It’s an awesome feeling if you can look in the mirror and truly find your closest friend looking back at you, smiling a knowing and supportive smile. Does your mirror show a true friend?

Sadly, your answer may very well be “no” or “i don’t know”. Do you feel how sad this is? Then feel the sadness, explore it for a bit. And notice: whoever is feeling sad, must care at least a little bit about your wellbeing, right?

When healing your addiction, feeling love for yourself will be essential. If you don’t feel it, this is the first thing you need to work on. Be prepared to see the darkest parts of you and still in your heart put a loving arm around yourself. Ask people to support you when you can not do it on your own.


Do you trust yourself?

If you are addicted (or worried about your use or attachments) you can’t really trust your own behavior, can you? After all, you will make promises and break them. You may lie and steal to fulfill your needs. You may set your goals and then change your mind, over and over. You will place the blame outside of yourself. You may manipulate people into doing or believing what you want them to.

You simply can not trust this part of you that believes it is (being) limited and in need of stuff, a shot, a partner. Behavioral patterns (including thoughts and emotions) are strong. They are strengthened with repetition and you have given them lots and lots of food over the course of your addicted lifetime. These thoughts and behaviors wake up easily. In my personal experience, the voices of addiction can not be trusted. Especially when making promises or finding excuses.

But here’s the good news: even if you can not trust your personal thoughts, wishes and behavior in any given moment, there is a force that is far greater than you which is worth every ounce of trust. When this force starts living through you, it ignites infinite power in you. It will reveal itself when you start trusting it.

So: YES, I trust you. I trust your infinite potential, your drive towards freedom, your connection into the source of all being, which is pure life force power. I trust your strength, which is boundless, and i trust your ability to break your own chains.

And so should you.

Love yourself. Trust that your thoughts are random and that life force energy, the very power that keeps you breathing and alive, will inspire you and win over any disabling beliefs… if you let it.

Ask for help from people who will support you in holding your commitment to yourself and who will not judge when you slip. If possible, find a buddy you can call at any time. Agree on the kind of support you give each other.

Ditch your addicted friends (at least temporarily) if they are not ready to join you in giving up this behavior. They may be great people (they are!), but their behavior is toxic to you.

Surround yourself with healthy, happy people.

Have a plan. Know what you will do when a craving and compulsive thoughts kick in. This is where you take charge over the ‘old’, conditioned you who is still addicted. Call your buddy, go for a run (don’t bring money), drink a glass of water, make a painting, do household stuff, meditate, Skype mom.

Go for a walk at least once a day. If you can, get a dog. It will give you exercise and an uncomplicated loving relationship.

Be patient with the people closest to you. Don’t be discouraged when they are not ready to trust again. This is your process and it will take as long as it needs. Same goes for them.

Big one: Open up about your process. It will give you clarity and you will be amazed to hear how many people are also struggling with addiction. It’s an amazing experience to go from feeling like a failure to seeing how your experience can help and inspire others.

These are just a few tips. If you have more, please share!

I wrote this post speaking from my own personal experiences with addiction and from those of others who have been open enough to share their stories with me.