The Many Faces of Addiction

‘Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. He who looks outside dreams, he who looks inside awakens.’  ~ Carl Jung
There are many ways addiction can show up – it doesn’t look a certain way, or dress a certain way – compelling, destructive behavior is experienced across cultures, and all walks of life. It can exist with a disheveled person wandering the streets, a seemingly inexhaustible high-powered executive, a housewife whose post-partum depression was never diagnosed, or with a teenage boy who has withdrawn from his regular activities and has become distant and secretive.
No one appears immune to Pain and Suffering.  As an attempt to cope with such pain, people often turn to a behaviour or substance that may provide relief.  If that substance and/or behaviour initially provides some soothing to pain or suffering, a bond can begin.  Ideally we have healthy loving social relationships we turn to in times of pain.  Many of us were not that fortunate and have consequently developed destructive, compelling behaviours that once were extremely helpful and sometimes necessary.  It is hard to give up a behaviour that your body suggests has been life-saving.  If drinking appeared to be the only option for you to feel less terrified of abusive parents, then when you are in fear, your body will most likely strongly urge you to find alcohol!!
At the heart of the teachings of ayurveda, yoga and eastern spiritual philosophy is the desire to identify, alleviate, and prevent suffering. Our efforts at Paradise Valley Healing Center focus on this very concept – on how we may guide those who are struggling with these ‘symptoms’ to dig deeper into the cause of the suffering, and to use the tools from these teachings that seem appropriate to them to alleviate it. Once the use of these new tools has become a regular, consistent practice, much of our suffering can be prevented. There is a phrase that suggests as part of the human condition that “Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional”.
When struggling to break the cycle of problematic use of substances, staff and therapists at the Center assist people to find life-enhancing ways of meeting the needs that are being expressed by compelling, destructive behaviors.
The focus here is to learn new ways to move beyond unhealthy habits – for example the abuse of prescription drugs such as oxycodone or habitual use of drugs or alcohol, participating in compulsive sexual activity, problem gambling, on-going over-use of the internet, disordered eating, compulsive craving of the attention that fame brings, feeling depressed and anxious, having chronic pain or post-traumatic stress disorder, and really any activity that has become compelling, destructive, and consistently draws our energy to it.  No matter what form an addiction takes, at the root of each is the impulse to satisfy healthy human needs for safety, security, comfort, sensory gratification, love and compassion. At a much deeper level, we know that our addictions cannot take the place of having the real thing, and lasting peace or satisfaction will never be gained by taking part in any of these activities.
True healing from these afflictions always requires the conscious decision of the individual to free themselves from the destructive patterns. Success is possible with a willingness to fully commit to the healing process. A most empowering concept is that we have the power at any time to choose to re-route our behavior in a positive manner and cease self-destructive tendencies at any time, given the proper tools and support.
The Chopra Addiction & Wellness Center is dedicated to assisting you in overcoming destructive behaviours and stepping into a life of happiness and well-being. Learn more about our programs.