Understanding Addiction II (continued)

Go to Understanding addiction (Part 1)

Understanding addiction is to understand your pain, your hatred. Understanding your actions is to understand the depths of human darkness.

No-one knows this pain, except those who’ve walked the road. It’s a lonely, lonely journey. Not that uncommon in the human experience. Only less shared in the day to day appearance. We hide.

“Anyone who has lived through it, or those who are now living through it, knows that caring about an addict is as complex and  fraught and debilitating as addiction itself.”

 ― David SheffBeautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction

I face cravings almost every day. I still experience joy. I’ve recently refused the sounds of self hatred while I play in this addiction game.

Right now I’m transitioning to a fruit based diet and a yogic lifestyle. From cooked stir fries and tofu based meals to fruit and leafy greens. But I’m not focusing on the food. or the exercise. To do that would be to create another obsession. Instead, I’m focusing on the healing. Of my heart. of my spirit.

I’ve health issues from years of antibiotics as a child, years of cigarettes and booze and years of bad food. It gave me a bad colon. Even my healthier diet and lifestyle hasn’t been enough to heal. All the stressful thinking, traumas, bread and coffee have made it worse. It’s colon cancer waiting to happen.

I lasted 26 days in January, before I first fell off. Since then my mind is in resistance. Arragh I want to scream. Disappointment – always my first phase. This is the danger of focusing on behaviour before healing. The screaming is just part of the vicious cycle of addiction. Believing ‘something is wrong with me.’

Yet I know a thing or two about resistance and this dance with the addiction game.

Quitting smoking is easy,

I’ve done it hundreds of times.

– Mark Twain

Life after addiction & falling off the bicycle.

I experienced it when I first quit smoking 22 years ago. It took another four years for that decision to become a life long one. I still have dreams where I smoke a cigarette. I feel the pleasure of the first puff followed by a horror at what I’ve done. I  wake with the most enormous relief, my heart is at quite a beat. Because as any ‘smoker’ who has ‘tried’ to quit will tell you – all it takes is just one. Just one. Soon enough it will be a pack a day.

At the time though, it is easy to believe it will be just one. The mind is a strong force. Maya (illusion) can make anything appear real. Especially the notion that suddenly one has become a master of oneself over night.

‘I’ve got this. I can control it. Please. Besides I deserve just one. That’s all it will be.’ Skidding sounds followed by a mighty crash, as that bicycle smashes into the wall.

The mind plugs into chemicals that recycle. Same old same old. Disappointment, shame, guilt, hiding the habit, fear, judgment. You name it. The very same feeling that caused the need to ‘have it’ is created by having it. It’s a vicious cycle. Anger follows. Anger especially at anyone who suggests that giving up the addiction is best.

“Why the *@#@@# should I?”

It’s not only negative feelings that cause cravings. It’s also the belief that

“ I deserve it. This is a reward after a hard days work. It’s even a reward for not caving into the addiction for a period of time. It’s the one bit of pleasure I have in my life.”

Oh the mind is trickery.

I’d the same experience when I quit drinking. It didn’t happen all at once. I fell off several times.

  • Alcohol. Check
  • Cigarettes. Check
  • Abusive relationships. Check.
  • Depression (sitting on the couch all day watching tv) Check.
  • Losing 18kg. Check.

None of these things came to me instantly. Each change I’ve made, seeded in me long before I made it. I conversed about it; read about it; experimented on it, wrestled with it; lost many a ‘battle’ to it.

We cannot, in a moment,
get rid of habits of a lifetime. 
– Mahatma Gandhi

Right now it’s cooked food and coffee.  I’m not in self pity though. I am in determination. With all the amazing changes I’ve made behind me, I know if I don’t give up I can not fail. For every fall has brought with it a stronger me. Far stronger than the rebel I discovered in my teens. Far wilder than the booze ever made me. Far greater than I would’ve known without the dance.

I do not romanticise it though. It’s the hardest shit in the world if you’re not living in a war or dire poverty. It’s a different kind of war. One that can only be won with love. Wars are not to be romanticised. There is nothing glamorise about it. It’s dealing with your deepest pain.

The resistance you find here is the same resistance that stops you from all your dreams.

Our greatest glory is not in never falling,
but in getting up every time we do.


The resistance to change makes you believe there is a greater cost to quitting than to staying the same.

The resistance nurtures the comfort of your temporary high. The resistance gives voice to your fears of what life in the unknown will bring.

If you become quiet for a moment, you’ll hear all the voices that keep you from being you. Sit with them like an old friend. Do not resist the resistance. Listen with all your heart. There you’ll treasures find…with answers and a way forward. There lies in the seeds of change.

Underneath every addiction is disconnection from your highest self. From Love. From God. From your spirit. With every addiction is a doorway to your light. I know this to be true because I’ve lived it.

i often came home bruised and bleeding. falling is  part of childhood growthI welcome my latest addictions. I fall off my bicycle. A bruise or two I gain. Every time I fall my brain learns more about balance. My coordination increases. My fear decreases. I welcome the fall.

I am not my addiction; nor my dread. I am of Light and Love. I am an infinite being.

You are not your addiction; nor your dread. You are of Light And Love. You’re an infinite being. If you don’t give up you will not fail.


Copyright 2015

Go to Breaking Bad Habits (part I) and Breaking Habits (part II)

Go to Who Are We When We’re Not Addicted by Dr Gabor Mate

Facebook comments

Tam Olckers ·

Yes. And the mind is where we conquer. I am glad you mentioned victimhood. Only once I was ready to face the truth of my lifestate was I able to begin to embrace positive change.

Jo Ntsebeza ·

Tam, I’ve loved playing victim. She still lives within me coming out to play from time to time. I’ve made friends with her. Thanks for you share. I know you’ve written on this too.

Julie Dakers ·

Reminded me of the dark despair and lonely endless days of hopelessness and so happy I’m not there now

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s