"Outside of meditation, I find it hard not to identify with my body and thoughts”. “I just stopped drinking alcohol and find the initial compulsion/ addiction so strong.. yet when I persevere, I find that this addiction is an attempt to cover over Pain".
It’s been quite a while since our last recap. I have been personally very busy, so have not had time to share the rich, on-going Wisdom of our weekly meditation group discussions. Perhaps July 4th, American Independence Day, is a symbolic day for this particular discussion!?
Addiction of various kinds is a BIG problem in western society and 10-step or 12-step programs abound, as well as expensive private addiction clinics. Most programs start with Step 1 – the acknowledgement that there is a “problem”, with which I agree. As far as I can see, “real change” (whether of a particular addiction or any other behavioural pattern) can only eventually come from Non-attachment (letting go/ surrendering) of particular behavioural patterns. Most Addiction programs assert that once an Addict, always an Addict, despite behavioural changes. I would dispute that, because it depends of the depth or profundity of your “change” (letting go) and your ability to recognize what is happening within on an on-going, minute by minute, basis.
“Addiction” as we commonly know it is just a socially unacceptable form of Attachment (clinging, holding on), whether it concerns alcohol, drugs, shopping, sex, eating and more. Socially acceptable forms of attachment may include “branding”, “fandom”, “marketing”, “social media likes” etc. Other forms of addiction may include seemingly “positive” activities like compulsive dieting or exercise .. resulting in various physical and mental-emotional imbalances.
My personal take is that we need Dynamic (Yin-Yang) Balance, as in the serious practice of Taijiquan and Vipassana meditation. We are Individual ,yet part of the Collective whether seen as black/white, man/woman, east/west, conservative/progressive and more.
What is “Balance”? It is not this nor that. Ask yourself, “What do I need to do Now?”, being aware of both your internal “likes/ dislike” as well as the Other’s “likes/dislikes”. Is there something that transcends and includes both? Is there Awareness/ Mindfulness in you?
Addiction is merely Attachment ramped up. Let go of Attachment and you are Free, as the Buddha advised. How to do this? Consistent and skilled practiced and a qualified Spiritual Friend. There are no real short cuts, no matter how much you pay!
In Dharma, AJ