“The greatest pain is not being loved for who you are in your naturalness.”

As you read this article I encourage you not to exclude yourself from having addictive patterns, you can become addicted to anything from the most overt to the most subtle. This includes things like social media, cell phones, internet surfing and TV. As long as it satisfies your need to zone out, escape from or numb any unpleasant, uncomfortable or painful feelings there is a potential of it becoming an addiction. After more than 20 years of working with and counselling people on this subject, I have not yet met anyone who doesn’t have some form of addiction that they are dealing with on some level. Level one is the experimentation stage of looking for satisfaction, relief or escape, while at Level five the addictive behaviour is an ingrained pattern becoming a way of life. At level ten all hope has been forfeited in lieu of complete surrender to the addiction.
Human beings learn and grow through the process of life experience. Not all experiences and lessons are easy or fun; some are difficult, painful and remain unresolved. Whenever the energy of discomfort or pain is felt, the natural impulse is to avoid, run away or suppress any feelings of pain. The greatest of these is not being loved for who you are in your naturalness. This results in lower self-worth and self-esteem, diminishes your self-love and creates negative core beliefs about yourself which become your truth. They distort your perception of reality and of who you are. These beliefs are like infected, festering sores or wounds that never heal causing continuous discomfort and pain. Due to the instinctual reaction to escape the pain, you go through a process of experimenting with various substances, behaviours and techniques until you discover what works best. At first it can all seem very innocent as you enjoy the comfort it brings. Believing that you have it under control, you convince yourself with phrases like, “I can quit anytime” or “I do it because I enjoy it.” As you give it more importance it settles more habitually into your daily routine, rooting itself deeply until it turns into an addiction. For some, one addiction may suffice while others may choose to engage with multiple addictions.
Understanding Addictive Behaviour
The enemy is not the substance or the behaviour, it is the uncomfortable emptiness that becomes so unbearable, you look for ways to fill it and end the suffering.
All addictions are based in a behavioural or substance dependency which is created either physiologically or psychologically. This dependency evolves into a repetitive compulsive need in your life, cycling as an endless loop containing 4 phases.
Phase one is pre-occupation. You feel an uncomfortable emptiness or hole that you don’t know how to deal with. Your mind becomes engrossed with obsessive thinking about your addiction, focusing on the rush it will bring and how it will take the discomfort away. The pre-occupation builds in energy, fuelling the need to use.
Phase two is ritualization. You create an increasing arousal, stimulating more excitement about the way you are going to do your addiction. Your mind is filled with countless rationalizations, convincing yourself with all the reasons why your addiction really works for you and why you need to do it.
Phase three is acting out the compulsive behaviour. This is the secret world of using that you live in, the hidden side of your dual life that is never shared with anyone. Here you become isolated, distancing yourself from others as you try to shut out the world. Your attention turns inward, solely focusing on using your substance or doing your behaviour. Although you are partially aware that the addiction only provides a temporary fix, by this time you believe you have already gone too far therefore you’re compelled to do it anyway.
Phase four is despair. Every time you are in this phase you lose a little more hope and power to the addiction, leading you to believe you will never heal or break free from it. The despair deepens, self-esteem and self-love are diminished and the pain from the gaping wounds of the past worsens. You convince yourself your only salvation is through your addiction, so you loop back to the first phase of pre-occupation with the misguided intent once again of escaping from and numbing your pain.
Addiction is not a disease!
Addiction is not a disease, in fact any addiction can be healed and transformed. This is totally contrary to the philosophy and approach of the more popular Addiction Rehab and 12 Step Programs and why they have such a low success rate. The philosophy of these programs is based in a false logic believing that an alcoholic is forever an alcoholic, never to be cured and never to drink again. If this is so, then where does that leave the food or sex addict? Are they never to eat food or enjoy the pleasure of love making again for the rest of their lives? It is absurd and disrespectful to treat an addicted person as a victim, sentenced to be diseased for the rest of their lives cowering under the ominous shadow of their chosen vice. This is an insult to humanity and defeats the human spirit’s ability to rise above adversity.
Addiction is a pattern of behaviour so deeply ingrained in the body that it dictates to the body what it must have, when it must have it, how often it must have it, etc. The brain develops neural pathways or memory programs that reinforce the addictive behaviour and the body’s pattern of need. This does not constitute a disease but rather a chronic behavioural condition that can be addressed, corrected and healed.
Only two ingredients are necessary to effectively correct and heal addictive behaviour. The first is your willingness to face the cause of your addiction, with the understanding that if you created it you can feel it, heal it and let it go. There are no quick easy fixes nor any magickal short cuts. It is a step by step process of peeling back the dysfunctional layers of addictive behaviour and negative beliefs in order to get to the core issue. As each layer is peeled away you experience a transformational process of healing the pain, gaining more insight and inner strength to help remove the next layer.
The second is getting the right kind of experienced facilitation to help, support and guide you along the process as you tap into your vast resource of personal power in order to heal and live a happy fulfilling life. Everyone deserves to live a life that's full of happiness, love and abundance more than anything else, including you. You can no longer afford to believe that you have no other choice than to be an addict for the rest of your life because of the lies you’ve been told about addiction or all the previous disappointing failed attempts to heal your addictions. You do have a choice and yes, you can be happy again. The power is within you to magickally transform your life and go after what you dream for yourself. There is no better time like the present to take the steps to make this happen before you let more precious moments of your life slip away and risk losing the people you love and care about, your job, your home and your precious self-worth.
Now is the perfect time to take charge of your life and follow your dreams!
Walk in Beauty, Lou Worldweaver

Author's Bio: 

If I were to describe myself with one word I would have to say I’m an artist, which mean that I seek to find the beauty in everything I see and experience. Teaching a group of students, leading a ceremony, having a conversation, cooking a meal and making love are all artistic expressions of one’s beauty. The greatest of these expressions is to live life as the greatest masterpiece one could ever create.

For over two decades, I have been weaving beauty into my own life as well as empowering others to do the same for themselves by applying my multifaceted skills and mastery as an accomplished international teacher, human behaviour specialist, counsellor, writer, ceremonialist and artist. I believe we are all born with the spirit of the Eagle, destined to soar in freedom and to share our unique beauty with the world. With this intent in mind, Laurel Weaving Willow and I co-founded Sacred Journeys in Drummond, KZN, where we provide the tools, knowledge and support for people to heal, free their spirit and emerge into the beautiful Eagles they are.