“All the substances of abuse, whether they’re opiates or cocaine or anything else, they’re actually pain killers.”
Whether it’s a sex addiction, or internet or a relationship or shopping or work addiction, these are ALL attempts to get away from distress.
Keith Richards, who had a severe heroin addiction, said that ‘all the contortions we go through are just not to be ourselves for a few hours.
I don’t care what they tell you about genetics or choices or any of that nonsense, it’s always about pain.
But the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, it’s got a wonderful line in it:
‘Whatever you do, don’t try and escape your pain, but be with it.’
Because the attempt to escape from pain is what creates more pain. And that’s the reality with addiction.
Addicted people need a compassionate present which will permit them to experience their pain without having to run away from it.
And all the attempts to run away, it’s like what another teacher says:
The surest way to go to hell is to try and run away from hell.
We live in a society that, one way or another, is always about instant relief, quick satisfaction, distraction… it’s always the quick getaway.
It is a matter of, at some point, finding a way of being with your pain so that you can actually get to know what it’s really all about.
Source: This article was originally featured on Powerful Primates, and was used with permission from the author.