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Addiction & Recovery – Week 14

13 weeks into the Master Key System training, and another breakthrough!

Early on in the process, we learned from watching What the Bleep do we Know and Down the Rabbit Hole that we’re all addicted to our habitual thought, word and behavior patterns.  The reason for this addiction is easy to understand.  Thoughts, words, deeds, relationship dynamics and situations all give rise to endocrine chemicals.  It is these chemicals, and the cellular response thereto, to which we’re all addicted.

I accepted this knowledge without doubt, but I didn’t really identify in concise terms my own addiction.

I have some experience with addiction, at least in the usual sense of the term, as that is a common companion for those of us with an active bipolar disorder.  I appreciate the work of Bill W and his friends and mentors in creating the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.  I’ve used the 12 steps in recovering from an addiction, and they present a powerful framework from which anyone who’s willing can work.

A significant part of the 12 steps focuses on inventorying and amending.  We inventory our faults, failings, fears, emotional states, decisions and beliefs.  We apologize to others who have been hurt, harmed or otherwise impacted by the related thoughts, beliefs, words and deeds.

The reason for this in the 12 steps is that negative emotions are often “triggers” for addictive behavior, especially when one is not sufficiently self-aware to recognize one’s emotional state.  Therefore, part of the recovery process is to become sufficiently self-aware to respond, rather than react, to one’s emotional state.  It is commonly believed that addictive responses are designed to assuage pain, especially emotional pain.  Recognizing the presence of emotional pain is helpful to choosing a response rather than being subject to a patterned or habitual reaction, especially an addictive response.

A helpful mnemonic for this is HALT, which stands for hungry, angry, lonely and /or tired.  When one, especially unawares, encounters basic emotional pain as in the HALT emotions, the human reaction is to do something to kill the pain.  Addictive substances and behaviors are good for that, at least temporarily, but they are inherently self-destructive.  And, when one acts in a self-destructive way, one then creates a vortex of destruction that almost always harms others.

Negative emotions are fear-based.  And, every fear-based emotion is a reflection.  It must have a “place” within us from which to be reflected.  In other words, such emotions must have a “place” within us to “stick.” Therefore, others may offer me emotional programming, sometimes in ways difficult not to accept, but I will only be tempted to incorporate such programming in my matrix if I have a place for it to land or stick.

An example may help.  I felt prompted to release the emotion of anxiety during a session of self-care recently.  As I contemplated that emotion, it struck me that anxiety comes from a lack of awareness of one’s own power and/or a lack of conviction about God’s power and His willingness to lend that power to us as needed.  In more severe cases, anxiety stems from actual denial of one’s power or a denial of God’s power.

As I pondered this idea, the previous separation between inherited stuck emotions and my own stuck emotions seemed artificial.  My antecedents may have offered me emotional programming, but they didn’t actually program me.  I did that all by myself.

I applied my own creative power, independent of any other being, to form the program of my life.  And the code of the program is my thoughts.

Circle back to addiction.  Think an addict’s thoughts, and live the chaotic, destructive life of an addict.  Been there, done that.  Don’t recommend it.  Think saintly thoughts, live the beatific, peaceful life of a saint.  Haven’t been there yet, but headed that direction.

And it suddenly struck me!  Though I had applied the 12 steps to free myself from the addictive behavior with which I previously marred my life, I was still addicted to the chemistry associated with living a life on the brink of utter chaos.  What fed me in all that was a sense of being heroic for constantly, with few exceptions, being able to actually avert disaster.

What do you think?  Isn’t that the quintessential definition of addictive insanity?  Courting chaos so I could be heroic for avoiding it.  Sheesh!  Good thing I have a better way available.

Now, if it hasn’t been your privilege to be close to an addict, that’s OK.  You can just imagine what it’s like to be in the orbit of such a person.

For me, the good news in all this is twofold:  1) diagnosis is 90% of cure; and 2) creating a new, harmonious pattern will result in an addiction to peace, prosperity and harmony.  Now that’s a constructive, progressive addiction!

It seems the next step in creating the new pattern is to affirm and internalize the truth: that I am whole, perfect, strong, powerful, loving, harmonious and happy.  Any other perception is an illusion, and not the truth.

I loved Mark J’s Week 14 video with the illustration of the Tower of Babel.  The idea that an “external,” like a tower, will get you to heaven is of course preposterous.  And yet, this metaphor struck a chord with me because of the addictive thinking above noted.

I, too, had fallen prey to the idea that a pin level, income level, &/or possessions would somehow make me whole.

And now I know the truth: I am whole, perfect, etc. just as I am, and no pin level, income, possession or achievement will add to that.  I expect the just fruits of my labor, but they are to be enjoyed as God intended: with gratitude, giving glory to Him, not needing any glory for myself.

Close the circle to recovery.  As I recognize the truth of my power and the availability of God’s unlimited power, all fear fades, giving way to the light of faith.  As I bask in that light, I make no more places for fear-based emotion to land, nor for fear-based programming to be installed.  And without those “hooks,” pain dissipates, having been replaced by joy, love, peace, understanding and other fruits of the Spirit.

No pain means no behavior or substance is needed, including my own body’s peptides, to assuage it.  No pain management; no addiction.

Praise be to God for providing us the methods and pathways we need to liberate ourselves from the bondage of the temptations of this mortal sphere.  “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.”

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