Let’s Dispel some Myths about Addiction

An extract from my forthcoming book, How to Be a Friend of the Devil Within (Quick Guides to Ancient Wisdom Series, No 2 & Mindfulness Exercises in Relationships, No 2).

Paperback Cover V2

Author’s note – The scientific citations in this section are drawn from Zeitgeist Moving Forward by Peter Joseph – for me, a life changing movie.

I define addiction as any behaviour that is associated with craving, with temporary relief, and with long term negative consequences, along with an impairment of control over it so that the person wishes to give it up or promises to do so – but can’t follow through…. (Author: when speaking of) drugs… television… video games… work-aholism… power… wealth… oil…
Dr Gabor Maté, Physician and Author, Portland Society

One of the most crazy-making and yet widespread and potentially dangerous notions is: “Oh, that behaviour is genetic”.
Dr Robert Sapolsky, Professor of Neurological Sciences, Stanford University

No substance, no drug nor behaviour by itself is addictive… so the valid question is “What makes a person susceptible to being addictive to a particular substance or behaviour?”
(Paraphrased) Dr Gabor Maté, Physician and Author, Portland Society

I recently came across an article that substantiates the non-addictiveness of substances, in the case of heroin, in The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think, by Johan Currie, author of Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs (ref: The Huffington Post, 23/1/2015). Currie reports of a study that some 20% of soldiers serving in the Vietnam War became addicted to heroin. Upon returning home, some 95% of the addicted soldiers – according to the same study – simply stopped. Very few had ‘rehab’. The cause of the heroin addiction seemed to be the untenable environment of war. When the addicts returned to everyday life, the causation, for most of them, atrophied.
But what about the 5% whose addiction did not atrophy simply?
We have to look at the whole life experience… and that process begins in the womb.

For example, if you stress mothers during pregnancy, their children are more likely to have traits that predispose them to addictions…
(Paraphrased) Dr Gabor Maté, Physician and Author, Portland Society

The above scientifically-validated statements concur with…

The relationship we share with our mothers, from the ‘information’ they share through their blood (e.g. stress related hormones or agents from substances such as alcohol or tobacco) in the womb, through to the early years of childhood, shapes the relationship we have with our own physical bodies.
Druid wisdom

By considering addiction as a process of physical-self-abuse, you can perhaps see how ancient wisdom is concomitant with scientific study. People with unresolved, especially serious, issues with their mother are more likely to inflict abuse on their own physical bodies, through addictions or other forms of self-harm.
With specific regard to addiction, let us consider the words of Brené Brown. She advises that…

“You cannot numb yourself from hurt and fear without numbing yourself, at the same time, from joy and love.”

Through addictions, you cut yourself off from your awareness of the light and shadow within. And, in doing so, you effectively cut yourself off from your journey to love, your spiritual journey. Your life shall remain incomplete.

Fortunately, you have an inner entity to help you. His name is Set, the devil within. [Set etymologically became Saturn and Satan. We celebrate Sat(urns)day every week. See my book, How to be a Friend of the Devil Within, for further explanation.]

Author’s note – I have addictive traits to my personality but I have never considered myself to be addicted to a life threatening substance. I, thus, cannot speak ‘first-hand’ about tackling issues associated with alcoholism, drug addiction or other compulsions.
Friends of mine, who admit to being “addicts” or “users” in recovery, have successfully used the 12 Step Programme. Originally published by Alcoholics Anonymous, the 12 Step Programme nowadays is recognised as de jure by many of the leading organisations (e.g. Narcotics Anonymous and Overeaters Anonymous) who help people to live a new and healthy lives, through new codes of behaviour.
References: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelve-step_program, http://www.aa.org/, http://www.na.org/, http://www.oa.org/

Shine on…!

/|\

Paul C Burr

Business/Personal Performance Coach & Author Facebook: Beowulf (>16,000 followers)

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