Addiction may have many different faces. In the simplest explanation, it means that we are seeking a sense of happiness, security or deeper meaning outside of ourselves. We tend to think and expect that something or even someone is the source of our happiness and deeper meaning in life. The source of love.
As the objects of addiction may be various, it is not the object itself making us addicted. It is the feeling of temporary pleasure we experience. We get addicted to this temporary pleasure and we want more. This is how the circle is turning. And as with every addiction, if we don’t stop it, it may destroy us. It affects our health and life, our general well-being.
When we give away power and therefore control over something outside of ourselves, we become controlled by that factor, whether this is food, caffeine, alcohol, sex, shopping, sugar, work, certain activity, even a person or institution. When we can’t control ourselves, our own instincts, they start to control us. We create our own enslavement because our brain is addicted to the state of pleasure it gets from a certain outside factor. When we don’t have that outside factor, we can’t experience a state of pleasure, just like that. Pleasure in the meaning of joy and fulfillment that comes from within.
So, we may say, that addiction is a way of escaping our own inner experience. But also, on the other side, it may be a search for deeper meaning, as when we seek pleasure, in fact we seek joy and fulfillment that will last. Yet, addiction with its compulsive actions provides only a short-term pleasure, that is why we need that thing, that factor, again and again.
As we need habits and routines in our lives, our brain loves them, we need to remember that every habit may become an addiction as well.
As we like to experience pleasure in our lives, it is good to remember that life is not just temporary pleasure. But perhaps in difficult times, we may seek pleasure even more, often outside of ourselves, to compensate for stress and insecurity about the future.
I have this with sweets. I like them and I am absolutely aware of how unhealthy sugar is. I have not resigned from sweets, but I am controlling my need for them, also because if I eat sweets a few days in a row, my body shows me that it is time to stop and I listen to it. My skin gets worse and I feel less energy and I start to feel an even stronger need for something healthy.
Also, I have noticed two aspects of this in my own life.
When I want to celebrate something in my life, something sweet is a reward.
When I am stressed or have a sense of insecurity in difficult moments, I think of having something sweet. I also remember the moments when I ate something sweet immediately after a stressful situation and I felt an immediate release of tension. However, the release of tension is of course just illusionary and temporary, it is on the surface.
Handling and releasing stress and tension cumulated in our bodies is a different aspect and can’t be compensated by any compulsive behaviors.
Therefore, it is good to change our habits from time to time or even take a break. Just to be aware of that fact.
Awareness is freedom ??
Pict: Adobe Stock, Romolo Tavani