Addiction: Problem or Spiritual Journey?

There are few topics that generate as much shame as the ways that we, as humans, choose to check out from our lives or emotions. Life is intense and all of us need means of disconnection at times. That could look like getting lost in a great book series, laughing at episodes of your favorite comedy, having a wine night with your best friends, or blasting music through your headphones while you charge up a mountain. It feels good and gives us a natural break when we find activities that shut down the thinking mind or feeling body. 

However, challenges come when we begin to rely on a behavior as a means of escaping our life and our creative power. This could be using a substance like alcohol or food to numb yourself, or something more socially acceptable like working non-stop or jetting to the gym whenever you're upset.

The problem with excessively using any substance or escapist behavior is that we miss the gems that can be discovered when we genuinely investigate the emotions and beliefs driving the patterns. I promise that if you inquire deeply within yourself (perhaps with professional support), you’ll realize that there's a beautiful healing waiting for you. 

I don’t say this lightly. I understand this issue very personally. I’ve dealt with plenty of addictive tendencies— through food (eating or not eating), alcohol, exercise, spiritual practice, and overanalyzing. 

It doesn’t feel like a beautiful healing when you’re in it. When you’re trying to keep your head above water, it feels like stopping the pattern or behavior could result in a complete personal crash or even death.

The opportunity, however, is to allow yourself to meet the possible death or overwhelm. When you have the courage to turn and face the intense energies under the behaviors, you’ll discover miracles you cannot imagine. Maybe you have some old wounds and traumas that need to be healed. Perhaps you need to learn to stand up for yourself with others and hold firmer boundaries. You may need to learn to love yourself and make some life changes that better honor your soul. There are a million possibilities.

Unfortunately, when you are wrapped up in shame about your behaviors— be it substance abuse, codependent relationships, eating disorders, avoiding intimacy and social connection, or obsessive activities— you aren’t open and creative enough to discover the healing. Shame makes us hide from others and ourselves because we feel unworthy and unloveable. 

This is so silly!! It’s silly we wrap ourselves in such shame with addictive behaviors because all humans have them. We have to stop making it a moral issue and realize that most of us have ways that we avoid being present in the moment. That’s because it’s part of the spiritual journey as a human being to keep opening to the present moment. It’s a journey to heal our wounds, accept the love and pain in the world, and grow into our full potential. No one has this “figured out” from birth. Even enlightened beings say that consciousness always grows, so we know that evolution continues.

We can get lost in shame about our own evolution or we can choose to see it as a positive aspect of being human. Goodness! We keep learning! We keep learning and growing even when we don’t want to.

In one sense, those of us that manifest less than healthy behaviors have actually chosen a faster soul growth path because something external is constantly reminding us to continue diving deeper within ourselves. People with addictions who want to heal don’t get much of a break. You have to keep exploring what is really going on inside yourself in order to release the addictive pattern.

What success! What success to have manifested something that makes you grow so much, so fast. It’s a big change in the narrative, but it’s an important one for anyone dealing with challenging patterns. In fact, you might want to even drop the word, “addiction.” That word gets wrapped in shame and need-to-fix-it mentality. Instead of addiction, how about we call it a spiritual journey?

And, you don’t have to do it alone. In fact, you probably can’t.

So join our MeetUp, Spiritually Human, to break down the shame you feel within yourself and with others. As you let go of the shame, you can talk about what is really going on— which means you can receive support, compassion, and knowledge of how to grow. Exciting.

Here’s to the journey. Keep trekking.

Love, Kelley