Addictions: Making the Unconscious Conscious

I want to talk about addictions. Addictions are life threatening, isolating, horrifying, detrimental to your health and destructive to everyone around you. Addiction reaches far beyond drugs or alcohol. Addictions are so prevalent today that we are blind to so many them. Have you thought about your reoccurring thought patterns and how they keep you safe? Do you count how many times a day you reach to grab your phone? Are you aware of your dependency on certain substances to get you through the day? What pleasures do you find yourself seeking every day? I’m not referring to pleasures of love, joy, or creativity. I’m referring to the excess pleasures that are not experienced once and while, but the ones you have a difficulty going through the day without. The pleasures you’re unaware of. The pleasures that don’t even seem like pleasures. The pleasures we unconsciously choose.

I’m going to go as far to say we are all addicted to something – consciously or unconsciously. I want to raise awareness. Addictions keep us limited and small, in a box of safety and comfort-ability. There are two types of addictions: the ones you’re aware of, and the ones you’re not aware of. And that’s why I want to talk about this. How can you heal or release something you’re not aware of? Could we be more addicted to stress and pain than we may realize? Hopefully this work allows some clarity for you if necessary.

In his work Alberto Villaldo, Ph.D., medical anthropologist and trained psychologist, discusses some findings of scientific research regarding neural pathways and our HPA axis, which is our fight or flight (stress) response. “From television and the Internet alone, we’re exposed to more stimuli in a week than our Paleolithic ancestors were exposed to in a lifetime.” (One Spirit Medicine, p. 98). He talks about how our HPA axis is so overloaded from excess stimuli and information, that our hippocampus (the part of the brain that regulates the fight or flight response) has become very damaged, stressed and overworked due to the over stimulation of today’s modern world. We are constantly in a state of fear and stress, ready to attack potential danger at every corner. The term, “neurons that fire together wire together”, supports the fact that our fight or flight responses have become so amplified, and this could explain the extreme rise in anxiety and depression we see in the western world. Long story short: we can become addicted to states of fear and stress – or rather, we can become addicted to the chemicals those states induce. For example, we can confuse adrenaline with vitality. The chemicals of adrenaline and dopamine keep us alert and ready for battle – however, most of us are not preparing for battle or adrenaline-inducing activities such as skydiving on a daily basis. In this state, we’re much more likely to base our decisions off of fear and a fight for survival. On the flip side, when the fight or flight system is relaxed, the pineal gland begins to produce chemicals that allow states of joy, bliss and connection. But the brain cannot produce those chemicals while in a state of fear or over stimulation.

Becoming comfortable with those states of stress is when they become destructive. Our cells are constantly changing, and our brains follow what we tell it through our thoughts. We have the opportunity to change things at any given moment. Yet, when we are oblivious to how we are creating these neural pathways, or the impact they have on our lives, its easy to stay in the same cycle of what we know so well.

There are other addictions we may view as innocent, such as our daily coffee, social media time, marijuana consumption, television, receiving love, eating sugary foods, materialism, religion or spirituality, and much more. With addiction, you give the authority of your spirit over to some perceived pleasurable stimuli. While you may not find the harm in experiencing those daily pleasures, I ask you, to what expense does your soul pay for this repeated pleasure day in and day out? What parts of you are kept limited for the sake of external pleasure? Why do you seek the pleasure so much, instead of feeling what’s underneath? What exactly are you trying to cover up, hide, run away from? The answers may not be clear at first, yet when this comes into your awareness, you’re faced with a clear choice. There is no right or wrong, however, you will know the truth for YOU, and you will know exactly where you give your authority away. You must go at your own pace, however, when you continue to choose the same pleasure over feeling what’s underneath, one side effect will be experiencing what’s termed cognitive dissonance, where your beliefs don’t align with your behavior, which creates a subconscious guilt, which feeds the pain, which reinforces the addictive cycle of behavior that masks the pain in the first place.

We as a species, in general, are afraid of our feelings, especially the painful ones, the buried ones, the ones we swept under the rug. Yet this suppression is at the core of so much human suffering. Instead of masking this pain, I urge you to listen to your spirit. Ask your spirit, your angels, your form of God, to take this addiction away from you. Ask with sincerity of intent, for if you’re not ready to let go of the addiction, your request will be for nothing. You must first be ready and willing to let it go, to face your emotions, and to begin a new chapter of your life without the slavery of a substance, stimuli, person, emotion or cycle.  If there is fear involved with letting go of this familiar habit, ask your spirit, your angels, or form of God for the strength and courage to have this addiction taken away from you. With Spirit all things are possible. With letting go of limiting cycles of thoughts or behaviours, a new version of yourself can emerge, the one closer to your heart and soul.

Recovering from addictions allows us to see the contrast from before and after. It allows us to experience new thoughts, new behaviors, new patterns – which are most likely to bring you a different type of pleasure, the one without the side effects of pain, guilt, fear and isolation. This new pleasure will be one of your heart and soul, the joy of being, the person you came here to be. Of course, the addiction was still a part of your soul’s plan, and you can utilize the experience for your growth (as with any pain), to know the contrast among what serves you and what doesn’t.

When the addiction loses its power over you, you may begin to experience emotions, dreams, ideas and patterns of behavior that were previously unable to be experienced by you. The pain that you wanted to ignore so badly finally has a chance to be released through you, through feeling. Allow the pain to be expressed. I promise it will feel much better once you feel it all. You may have many tears. You may have some anguish. You may have fear about what will come next, since you no longer identify with that pattern. The ego is saying goodbye to what was known. The ego is scared for its life when you let go of the addiction. The ego wants to keep you safe, in the same cycle, and that’s okay, the ego must play its role as part of evolution. *However*, we are creating a new cycle of evolution, one where freedom of spirit, mind and body take charge. One where inner peace and purity of thought lead the way. One where creativity and emotional expression flow with ease. One where unity and harmony finally have the chance to emerge, without the same old devilish patterns constantly knocking at our door. It’s within us to take our authority back, to see the horizon in front of us, awaiting to be brought back into light.

This post is in no way intended to invoke any emotion of guilt, shame or fear. Quite the opposite, I hope to offer an opportunity to make the unconscious conscious, to illuminate things within that we may be blinded to, so that one has a greater possibility to change. After my recent realization about certain addictions I was enslaved by, I want to support addiction awareness and recovery in others. I’ve also recently been contracted in analyzing research for an addiction recovery treatment center, reaffirming that part of my life purpose is indeed helping others in the area of mental health and addiction. *I am not a mental health professional (yet), I am a human with valuable experiences that have the potential to support others in their healing and growth.*

– Amanda Solda

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