I. The Cause
Once upon a time, you were without power because you were young and dependent on others; or because you felt you needed something from someone who had power; or because you were out-numbered, out-smarted, or out-muscled. At some point, they wielded their power over you in a way which wounded you, hurt you, or terrorized you.. They damaged your confidence in your own power. You experienced trauma.
You had no skills for the aftermath of the trauma, no knowledge on how to release it. That trauma became part of your system of energy. If this trauma got triggered or tried to come up for release, you felt similar to how you felt when it first occurred, a feeling that perhaps could be described as feeling frozen inside an overwhelming dark energy. When your energy of trauma re-surfaced, you did not progress beyond that reaction of feeling frozen. This repeated reaction became a hole in your maturity. This repeated reaction created a breach in your potential of infinite powerfulness.
The unreleased energy from trauma became a monster inside of you with a life of its own, sometimes surfacing for air, tapping you on the shoulder, hanging over your head, gnawing at your heart or your gut or your nerves, waking you up in the middle of the night, or choreographing nightmares. You discovered things that soothed the monster. You ate comfort foods and rich desserts. You drank alcohol. You went shopping. You sought solice in pornography, sexual acts, or gambling. You slept too much. You cut your flesh or smoked marijuana or repeatedly washed your hands. In these ways, you attempted to manage this energy of trauma with activities that made you feel differently than how the trauma monster made you feel. No one ever taught you what to do otherwise. These adaptive activities sort of worked for a while: they helped you stuff the trauma monster away. But these activities started to produce unwanted consequences. When you tried to stop, you found these activities had more power over you than the you had over them. The consequences started hurting you as much as the original trauma hurt you. And your actions began hurting people around you. You had become an addict.
II. Recognizing Addictions
An addiction is a repeated unnecessary action that you are not able to permanently refrain from and which often comes with undesirable consequences. Addiction is self-enslavement.
Certain addictions are socially recognized as addictions such as alcoholism or sexoholism. But the unrecognized addictions are harder to break because they require an extra step in the beginning: the addict must become aware that they have an addiction. What are addictions that are not typically recognized? These are ones that people might describe as your personality quirks. These are things like pouting to get your way, talking to much to get attention, over-extending yourself to feel important, re-doing things until they are perfect, or chronic reading to avoid intimacy with other humans. Fanatic beliefs and obsessive thoughts are also signs of addiction. Watching television and gaming are some other forms of “accepted” addictions.
III. What Doesn’t Work
Addictions and bad habits are not things you can conquer with will power. Depriving yourself of what soothes your trauma monster usually results in the eventual reactivation of the activity in a magnified way. This happens when your will power runs out of energy which it will because of the cyclic nature of existence.
Will power coupled with a compelling motivation results in a higher probability of breaking addiction. And this combination does work out for some people but not for the majority of addicts. For permanent release of addictions, you must work to neutralize the underlying cause. You must face your trauma monster and then befriend it.
IV. The First Step
Stop all self-loathing over your addiction. Loathing yourself for addictive actions adds a problem on top of the problems of addiction and the original problem of trauma. You feel self-hatred because you experienced powerlessness: you feel you should have done something to prevent the trauma. And now you are powerless over your addiction and you added that to your self-hatred.
Why hate yourself for your times of powerlessness? Is any of us born perfect with all the knowledge and skills and quick-reactive thinking to respond perfectly in every situation that befalls us? We are all humans with varying degrees of skills in various situations. Admit that you are not perfect. Admit that you have weaknesses, areas of immaturity, and broken parts: all humans do.
The first step to breaking an addiction is to peel back the last layer, the layer where you have self-hatred for your addiction. Counteract this by gratitude for your addiction. Do the following exercise:
IV. The Road to Self-Sovereignty
After that first step, how do you undo the rest of the layers of addiction? Have you heard this quote going around, “Change your habit, change your life?” I challenge that with this statement, “Change your internal life and your habit will fall away.”
You change your internal life by working on your internal self. What is this internal work? Internal work is also known as spiritual work. I call it the road to inner peace. On this road, you get to know yourself deeply and understand what makes you tick, why you react to situations the way you do, and why you hate some things and love others. You bring your buried trauma to the surface for examination and neutralization. The road to inner peace is also known for healing physical problems, ailments, and diseases. It’s a road where miracles happen. This road is also the road to self-love. This is the road where you get your power back.
Although inner work is hard work at first, after initial breakthroughs, your system starts to crave the respite it’s finding from the trauma monster within. This craving is incentive to keep going. You will work hard on the road to inner peace and you will still do addictive things: that is normal. It’s like learning to read, its a process.
Even if you do not get to the end of the road to complete inner peace, every step you take benefits your life and those around you.
V. Activites on the Road to Inner Peace
Below is a list of activities which lead to inner peace. The list is not comprehensive but instead, things I have first hand experience with as activities which lead to inner peace. The more activities you perform on the list, the more angles and dimensions you will be using to break free of your trauma. Also, some activities may be better suited than others for your issues and your personality.
VI Other Activites on the Road to Inner Peace
These are methods which I have limited experience with but I have analyzed them enough to recommend them as methods of internal work:
If you have questions about this article or questions about how this article applies to your own personal situation, please email me at email@example.com.
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Namaste, Mindy Schulke