The real roots of addiction have nothing to do with the thing to which one is addicted. Addictions come in many flavors, shapes, and sizes and aren’t limited just to substances. They’re anything that numbs and dulls us out of our Truth. The overall theme? They’re not the real problem, but a symptom of an underlying wound, shadow, belief. Unravel the layers and find freedom.

Ultimately how any kind of addiction or addictive behavior is us resisting receiving. Let’s dive in!

“Addiction” more often than not conjures up thoughts of drugs, alcohol, sex, and gambling. I mean, these are the big four that have 12-step meetings and are heavily stigmatized and shamed, right?

The truth is, addictions come in all shapes, sizes, and flavors. Food, social media, sleeping, talking, television, self-help, media, people pleasing, being right, control, anger, self-sabotage, and more can all serve as highly addictive patterns, as well.

How Addictions Begin

Addictions are all of those things that keep us perpetually busy and in a state of doing.

It’s a way of living and thinking and choosing our day. Addictive patterns go beyond habitual ways. Habits tend to be things we consciously choose and create and have some level of awareness and power over.

Addictions are so deeply embedded into us on all levels of our being and we feel as though we have no power over it. We are driven to achieve this thing that brings us a reward.

Anything can become addictive and influence our physiology in the exact same way, regardless of whether or not it is a substance or an activity. So just because you’re not shooting heroine, doesn’t mean you’re exempt from addictive cycles and addictions.  

Addictions begin because of a story or belief we hold about ourselves. The ego’s job is to maintain the identity we have, even if it’s an illusion. Addictions serve to keep us safe and are one of the many tools in our ego’s toolbox.

Addictions serve as pleasure-inducing, rewarding mechanisms and that’s how they register in the brain. This is why people can repeatedly do horribly disgusting things (like smoke cigarettes like I did for almost a decade of my earlier life).

Yet, it doesn’t always have to be a horribly disgusting thing, which makes many of these addictive patterns fly under the radar because they’re socially acceptable – like sleeping, social media consumption, and more.

What is the Purpose of Addiction?

Addictions act as barriers to protect us from that which our system perceives as too painful to feel or consciously recognize. While engaged in our addictive cycle, our energy and life force go towards feeding the addiction and not towards feeling and dealing.

We stay on autopilot and ignore life. A fully integrated person is one who feels deeply all parts of the human experience and the spectrum of emotions.

The truth is, we don’t get to pick and choose what we feel and don’t feel, despite our many attempts to compartmentalize ourselves. If we’re resisting the “bad,” then we’re also resisting the good. We’re living life in black and white and not in high definition. We’re bypassing the needs of ourselves and the needs of our loved ones.

We’re not fully engaging with life.

The addiction is the resistance in action. What are we resisting? Our true feelings, our true desires, our true needs.

This resistance stems from shame. Being ashamed of the fact that we have needs, being ashamed of the addictive pattern that’s resulted from not having that need met; it’s a vicious cycle.

 

Shame is a freeze emotion – there’s fight or flight and also freeze. When we’re frozen, our nervous system is protecting us from these horrendous feelings. It’s happening on all levels and the addiction is the bypassing mechanism that furthers the divide between our self and our Self.

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How Addictions Show Up In Our Lives

Some of us already know which addictive patterns show up in our lives. Maybe we’ve already overcome a few. As far as substances, I’ve certainly had my dances with alcohol, food, and cigarettes. Additionally, I’m overcoming addictive character traits and armors like people-pleasing, bypassing my emotions, and more.

We’re always evolving and growing and changing and as we do, we’ll come up against more and more resistance. The “old ways” did serve us for a time and exist for a reason. They’re there to protect us from something.

As we unravel them, naturally there’ll be some resistance because our system is like, “Whoa buddy, what are you doing? This isn’t safe!” Yet, we keep going to bring deeper levels of stability, safety, and assurance to our systems, our energy, our DNA, our lineage, and the collective at large.

What are you currently dancing with today?

Beginning to Overcome Addiction

What’s something you feel you really can’t live without? What brings feelings of FOMO (fear of missing out), or dread, or anxiety, or general unease when you think of disengaging with it?

Does the thought of NOT being on social media for a few hours or even a few whole days bring tension? What about NOT having your afternoon piece of chocolate or morning coffee? What about the idea of releasing the desire to control your environment?

Be radically honest with yourself; we all have something that is revealing itself to us at the moment that we may or may not feel ready to part with, yet we can simply bring some awareness to it.

After you identify that thing, what does it bring up for you to entertain the idea of reorienting your relationship with them?

Everyone’s journey to sovereignty is different and everyone’s “drug of choice” is different and we’ll continue having different ones along the journey to continue to serve as that protective mechanism.

Addiction As Resistance to Receiving

At their core, addictions are us resisting receiving. We’re resisting receiving something and by maintaining the addiction, we fill that need through other means.

That thing you just identified is the way you protect yourself AND also the way you resist receiving real nourishment. The addictive pattern is the fake nourishment. It’s like the “berry flavoring” in pre-packaged imposter-food rather than real berries.

And the best part? These “shadow” parts of ourselves are also our light and our next steps to guide us towards the nourishment that we really seek.

The Medicine

If you want to really understand why you do something, don’t do it and sit with the discomfort that arises. Allow the spaciousness to be there and resist filling it. Slowly unravel your addictions to assess the real underlying need. It’s that simple and that complicated.

This is so much of the work I do with people and it’s amazing so often what’s sitting right below the surface that desperately wants to be seen and felt that we continue to stifle with the addictive cycles.

The truth is, that which we continue to resist will continue to run our lives. The answer is already there in you and as you welcome the discomfort more and more, the more you find ease. It’s truly the craziest thing!

I’d love to continue this conversation about addiction and how it relates to shame. How have addictions shown up in your life? Are you aware of them? How are you managing and learning from them? Reach out and tell me about it or ask me about it in in my Facebook group, Transmuting to Nourish, Awaken, & Thrive.

I’d love to continue this conversation about addiction and how it relates to shame. How have addictions shown up in your life? Are you aware of them? How are you managing and learning from them? Reach out and tell me about it or ask me about it in in my Facebook group, Transmuting to Nourish, Awaken, & Thrive.

Devon Ray Battaglia, MS, NC, RYT is a Holistic Life Coach + Catalyst + Intuitive + Writer obsessed with guiding others to their fullest potential through transmuting pain into purpose. Devon lives in a deep piney forestland where she enjoys plenty of raw cacao, being barefoot, and laughing until she can’t breathe along with her partner and their canine roommate (who really runs the whole show). Reach out for your complimentary session: http://bit.ly/ScheduleDiscoverySession