Everything I don’t want in my life is here because of my addictions.
To me addiction means: Covering up pain with “stuff.”
Taking Prescription Drugs
Taking Illegal Drugs
Being in unhealthy relationships
Being busy all the time
Being a super mom.
This is some of the “stuff” I’ve been addicted to. I say “I” so you don’t automatically say “that’s not me” but really I mean “we” because you may choose alcohol and your friend may choose sugar and I may choose pot but I think we have all been addicted to most of this stuff at some point.
My addictions are fluid and ever changing and able to adapt to the pain I’m trying to control. I was pretty obsessed with back-to-back anusara yoga classes for a year, and then I got into Ativan. And the “stuff” doesn’t have to be taken in copious amounts to be an addiction. It can be ½ a pill or a bite of food, but you know you’re hooked when you feel the panic arise and you can’t stop yourself from reaching for what will make it feel better.
For example, multiple times throughout the day I think of my mother and I get overwhelmed very quickly with:
I’m busy with my two kids so it’s very hard to manage the intensity of feelings with:
So, instead, I call on any or all of my tiny addictions to block the pain so I can make it through the day.
This can mean eating half a chicken or zoning out on Facebook.The choices are varied and ever present.
But I do want to be clear. That these ARE all addictions.
And I think that’s the first step.
The second step is probably compassion. Like my friend says “come at it with a soft heart.”
“Oh, shit…it’s bad…I’m heading downhill here…I just grabbed a smoke…I’m lighting it. I feel really bad right now…that’s sad. Gosh. Fuck. I feel sad.
For me this train of thought softens the shame that the addiction holds.
I don’t attack myself with hate.
I just notice that once again I’m choosing to block my pain.
My mom died from lung cancer. But I actually think she died because she blocked her pain for too long. She kept trapping it inside her chest, pushing it down with work and helping people and her kids. She got addicted to being busy because stopping meant feeling. And feeling meant pain. But when you don’t FEEL pain, you are not escaping it. In fact, you are just digging it deeper and deeper down till it gets inside your bones and blood and eventually explodes into little shrapnels of posion that kills you.
That’s how much your pain wants to be free.
I’m not saying stop your addictions or anything stupid like that. I’m just saying, call it what it is:
I’m eating a bag of chips at 11pm. This is me stopping my pain.
I’m working on a weekend again. This is me stopping my pain.
And the good news is- like love, pain cannot be stopped.
Like miracles and money and freedom, pain deserves to be here.
Sometimes I can hear it whispering to me “you’re sad. I know. It’s big. I can feel it too. You want to cover me up because it hurts. I get that.”
But did you ever think that pain is in pain too?
And the answer is not to block but to hold dear.
Because I’m starting to realize that feeling pain and not wanting to feel pain is what connects us all;
And whether it be crystal meth or coffee, when we use, we are reaching away and I want to start moving closer.
So, welcome to the void. Let’s get uncomfortable in here together.