"Love and Addiction", by S. Peele and A. Brodsky

Chu

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The topic of addictions has been brought up so many times by so many members here, that it got me really thinking. At one point Laura posted this on another thread:

http://youtu.be/ao8L-0nSYzg

and it made a lot of sense.

Anyway, digging into this topic led me to the book Love and Addiction, by Stanton Peel and Archie Brodsky. I found it to be quite interesting in this respect, and think that any of you who is interested would get something out of it. I know it helped me understand some of my traits better, even if I never thought of myself before as an "addict". It's not just about drugs or any other chemical substance, but also about habits, "love", how we try to escape things within ourselves that are difficult to acknowledge, "buffers" (to use Gurdjieff's terminology), and all in all, some good analyses of how little we know ourselves, and how little science knows. In fact, of how detrimental some techniques and medical advice can be, when the roots of "addiction" aren't treated.

So, it's more about breaking tendencies that, though seemingly positive and calming at the beginning, are blinding and ultimately very harmful. It can be anything, from drugs to being addicted to other people (constant desire for appreciation/validation, unhealthy boundaries/dynamics in love relationships or with relatives and friends), shopping, gambling... even to "drama"/self-pity... you name it.

The authors are very critical of many things that us here already know about: the pathology in the system, from the educational institutions, to narcissistic families to pharmaceuticals, and how everything seems to be designed to control people and make them feel and become powerless. They focus mainly on the US system and culture, but I think it applies pretty much to every other country.

They make what I thought were good points regarding how the 12-Step programs, or some self-help books like Women Who Love Too Much, or Codependent No More (for those of you know have read those), are not always a good solution, because they are telling the person that they are “sick”, that they’ll always be “recovering addicts”, etc. which makes them feel powerless. Well, I think it depends on each person. Those programs have helped a lot of people. Perhaps what’s most effective in them is the fact that people who are suffering build a group that feels more like a true family, and have a support system. I see nothing wrong with looking for God or whatever “superior” power to help. But, they make a point in saying that sometimes that can be tricky, because it means relinquishing responsibility, asking something or someone else to “save you” instead of taking charge of your life (and we know how much room for lies and disinformation and harm that can leave). And they can remove all confidence in one's own power to overcome obstacles.

From Phyllis Hobe, author of Lovebound: “ACoAs aren’t getting the kind of help they really need because most forms of treatment tend to reinforce their problems… We have always felt powerless to do anything about the conditions of our lives; in recovery we are told that this is true – and it’s not going to change. Instead of teaching us the skills of self-sufficiently, which we desperately need, we are urged to expect a “Higher Power” to look after us.
Other than that, there are quite a few case studies and studies quoted regarding the lack of proof to affirm that drugs/chemicals substances in and of themselves are addictive. They explain the difference is within the person. They also quote from cases of "love addiction" between two people, either romantically involved or part of the same family (mother/child, etc.).

Here are some quotes, and I'll try to post some more later in case anyone is interested. All in all, I think that, with the knowledge gathered here in the forum, and from the recommended reading list, looking at addiction in this way can give one pause to think about the REAL problem, the lack of hope that sometimes invades us, the struggles in the Work, the tendencies to fall back asleep, and more importantly, how to recognize all this so that we can then heal, AND be more in control of ourselves. And ultimately, it is SO related to being able to sincerely be as much of services to others as we can instead of trying to control and get our needs met in all the possible wrong ways, that I think it can be really important. Because it's the relationships we build, what we can give to others, that makes a difference in this pathological world. And for that, we need to grow ourselves, to Work on ourselves, to learn to see the unseen within and in the world, and gather as much knowledge as possible, because it is Love.

“Addiction is an experience, one which grows out of an individual’s routinized subjective response to something that has special meaning for him – something, anything, that he finds so safe and reassuring that he cannot be without it, even as it wreaks havoc on the rest of his life. [...] The antithesis of addiction is a true relatedness to the world, and there is no more powerful expression of that relatedness than love, or true responsiveness to another person.

[...] An addiction is an experience that takes on meaning and power in the light of a person’s needs, desires, beliefs, expectations, and fear. Compulsive, dependent attachments arise from the contrast between the barrenness and anxiety people sense in the rest of their lives and the immediate fulfillment they expect to feel when engaged with the addictive object or sensation.

[...] Everyone has habits and dependencies of varying severity. An addiction is a habit that gets out of hand. They key to understanding addiction is to realize the function the addiction serves in the individual’s life. For example, addiction is not an unfortunate side effect of powerful painkillers like narcotics. Rather , powerful pain relievers are addictive to the extent that they remove pain quickly and effectively. It is pain relief, feelings of power or reassurance, and other essential human experiences that some people, and many people under some circumstances, seek in addictive drugs. [The authors go to a great length to cite cases where people DON’T get addicted when they have fulfilling lives, or they do but only temporarily in times of stress/problems, but they recover quickly as soon as they have something to look forward to, etc.]

[...] People outgrow their addictions when they learn to value new associations and ways of spending time aside from the addictions, when they can cope better with the everyday demands of life, when they have accomplished enough so that losing the new roles and responsibilities they have attained would be unthinkable, when they come to feel capable of managing their lives – in short, when they develop an identity that precludes their old self-destructive behavior. [Related to this, the authors explain that this is the reason why abstinence is not a cure. The point is to make that need/emotional "hole" that created the need/craving for a specific substance or habit “shrink”, rather than stop it cold turkey and see it as a punishment. If you have better things to do, a higher goal, etc. you won’t have time nor want the addictive stuff anymore, basically.]

[...] 1) physiological habituation plays at most a small part in any kind of addiction, 2) addiction is created not by the substance or object, but by how the person experiences it, so that the person can use anything in either a healthy or unhealthy way, 3) the experience of addiction is essentially the same whether or not a drug is involved, 4) the causes of addiction are not mysterious, but are part and parcel of the circumstances of a person’s life.

[...] If addiction is now known NOT to be primarily a matter of drug chemistry or body chemistry, and if we therefore have to broaden our conception of dependency-creating objects to include a wider range of drugs, then why stop with drugs? Why not look at the whole range of things, activities, and even people to which we can and do become addicted? We must, in fact, do this if addiction is to be made a viable concept once again. At present, addiction as a scientific notion is falling into disuse because of the mass of contradictory data about drugs and their effects. Since people who take narcotics often do not get addicted, scientists are beginning to think that addiction does not exist. Yet, more casually, we find that word being used in an increasing number of contexts – “addicted to work”, “addicted to gambling”- because it describes something real that happens to people.

Addiction does exist, and it is a large issue in human psychology. [It’s] a pathological habit. It occurs with human necessities, such as food and love, as well as with things people can do without, such as heroin. [They mention nicotine too in several places, which we know is not in the same category, and they later contradict themselves regarding smoking, so I’ll skip that.]

[...] addiction is not something mysterious, something about which our ordinary experience has nothing to say. It is a malignant outgrowth, and extreme, unhealthy manifestation, of normal human inclinations. We can recognize examples of addiction in ourselves even when we would not characterize ourselves entirely, or basically, as addicts. This is why the idea of addiction can be an important tool in our self-understanding. But for its value to be realized, it must be redefined. There has to be a fundamental change in the way we thing about addiction.

[…] Questions of self-mastery and mastery over the environment provide the key to the susceptibility to addiction; when we think of drugs as overpowering, it is because we doubt our own psychological strength.

[...] […] Our families have a tremendous impact on our addictive or nonaddictive potential, since they teach us either self-confidence or helplessness. Self-sufficiency or dependency. Outside the family, much of our modern social environment takes the form of organizations, such as schools. Our experiences with such institutions can instill in us serious doubts about our capacity to manage our own lives, let alone to interact creatively with the rest of the world. And in reality, they may keep us from developing that capacity to the fullest. Here is where the impulse toward escape and dependency arises. [..] [We live in a] culture which teaches a sense of personal inadequacy, a reliance on external bulwarks, and a preoccupation with the negative or painful rather than the positive or joyous.

[…] the addict is a person who never learns to come to grips with his world, and who therefore seeks stability and reassurance through some repeated, ritualized activity. This activity is reinforced in two ways – first, by a comforting sensation of well-being induced by the drug or other addictive object; second, by the atrophy of the addict’s other interests and abilities and the general deterioration of his life situation while he is preoccupied with the addiction. As alternatives grow smaller, the addiction grows larger, until it is all there is. A true addict progresses into a monomania, whether the object of addiction is a drug or a lover.[. ..] the habit becomes the raison d’être of their existence.

It is important to note the vicious cycle at work here. The addict’s lack of internal direction or purpose creates the need for ritualized escape in the first place, and is in turn exacerbated by exclusive involvement with the addiction and abandonment of the substance of normal life. Operating on the personal malaise and addict feels, drugs give him an artificial sense of self-sufficiency that removes what small motivation he has for complicated or difficult pursuits.

[In the case of love addiction, the person is] addicted to a sensation, a prop, an experience which structures his life. What causes the experience to become an addiction is that it makes it more difficult for the person do deal with his real needs, thereby making his sense of well-being depend increasingly on a single, external source of support.
[…] [Withdrawal is as real in the case of chemical substances as it is in the case of a separation or the end of relationships]. It is an agonizing sense of the absence of well-being a sense of some terrible deficiency inside oneself. This is the major, personal upheaval that results from the loss of a comfortable buffer against reality.

[…] we have to start with people’s needs, and then ask how the drugs fit into those needs. What psychological benefits does a habitual user seek from a drug? What does the fact that he needs this type of gratification say about him, and what are the consequences of him obtaining it?

On depressant drugs: […] Narcotics, barbiturates and alcohol suppress the user’s consciousness of things he wants to forget. [...] all these drugs are depressants. They inhibit reflexes and sensitivity to outside stimulation. Heroin in particular detaches a person from feelings of pain, lessening the awareness of physical and emotional discomfort. The heroin user experiences what is called “total drive satiation”; his appetite and sex drive are suppressed, and his motivation to achieve – or his guilt at not achieving- likewise disappear. Opiates remove memories and worries about unresolved issues and reduce life to a single striving. […]
The dulling of sensibility, the soothing feeling that all is well, is a powerful experience for some people, and it may be that few of us are entirely immune to its appeal. Those who depend totally on such an experience do so because it gives their lives a structure and secures them, at least subjectively, against the press of what is novel and demanding. This is what they are addicted to. In addition, since heroin diminishes mental and physical performance, it reduces the habituated user’s ability to cope with his world. […] while he is involved with the drug and feeling relief from his problems, he is even less able to deal with these problems and thereby becomes less prepared to confront them than he was before.

On stimulants: The primary action of a stimulant is to give a person the illusion of being energizes through the freeing of stored energy for immediate use. Since that energy is not being replaced, the chronic stimulant taker is living on borrowed energy. Like the heroin user, he is doing nothing to build up his basic resources. His true physical or emotional state is hidden from him by the artificial boosts he gets from the drug. If he is withdrawn from the drug, he experiences all at once his actual, now very depleted condition, and he feels wrecked.

On the similarity between both: […] A person repeatedly seeks artificial infusions of a sensation, whether it be one of somnolence or vitality, that is not supplied by the organic balance of his life as a whole. Such infusions insulate him from the fact that the world he perceives psychologically is becoming farther and farther removed from the real state of his body or his life.

[…] a fundamental similarity between opiate addiction and love. In both cases, a person repeatedly seeks out a kind of stimulation which is intensely pleasurable. But as time goes on, he finds that he needs it more even as he enjoys it less. The heroin addict gets less and less of a positive kick from the drug, yet he must return to it to counteract the insistent pain caused by its absence. The lover is no longer so excited by his or her partner, but is more and more dependent on the comfort of the partner’s continued presence, and is less able to handle a separation. Here the negative aftereffect overcomes initially positive stimulation.
So, the way out of an addiction seems to be understanding it, and finding a BETTER habit. Something like our Aim here. Something higher than ourselves, a real purpose in life. And when you find it, then you don't want to have those bad habits anymore, because they'd be taking away energy and time from what is really important to the real YOU, to those you love and care about. Like Gurdjiieff said, what is good and bad depends on the circumstances. What leads you closer to your goal is good, what pushes you further away from it is bad (paraphrazing). Thus, it's not so much a process of punishing yourself (though discipline and super-efforts are involved), or changing out of guilt and shame (those can be huge motivators, but they shouldn't be paralyzing), but of sticking to those goals that are important, focusing on them, and the "addiction" will take less of a hold on you, step by step. Sure, it involves in the process facing the darker parts of ourselves, and that hurts. But it's conscious suffering, the reward of which is much greater than something we may use or do now for immediate gratification.

Needless to say, the authors don't mention (or don't know about) many other things that can be involved, such as a lot of body chemistry linked to emotions, hyperdimensional influences, past lives, spirit attachments, information theory, brain pathways, etc. But, the trick is to make one "immune". And we have to begin somewhere: observing, understanding, and applying what we've learned to the best of our ability. And networking!

Well, just FWIW, and in case anyone wonders if they'll EVER get over something. It is possible! Hard, but maybe not so much when we change the focus and try to do it for the right reasons. Then, it's a challenge worth exploring. What do we have to lose, after all?
 

Nancy2feathers

The Living Force
So, it's more about breaking tendencies that, though seemingly positive and calming at the beginning, are blinding and ultimately very harmful. It can be anything, from drugs to being addicted to other people (constant desire for appreciation/validation, unhealthy boundaries/dynamics in love relationships or with relatives and friends), shopping, gambling... even to "drama"/self-pity... you name it.
I've been thinking a lot lately about addictive behaviors, where it originated (most likely from childhood) and ways to break those tendencies or patterns. Thank you, Chu for posting the above and I will read "Love and Addiction".

Well, just FWIW, and in case anyone wonders if they'll EVER get over something. It is possible! Hard, but maybe not so much when we change the focus and try to do it for the right reasons. Then, it's a challenge worth exploring. What do we have to lose, after all?
I've been challenging myself lately and doing a lot of self exploring into some deep waters. Good to know that it can be done, giving hope to conquer ones' addictions and like you said for the right reasons.
 

Ennio

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Chu said:
So, the way out of an addiction seems to be understanding it, and finding a BETTER habit. Something like our Aim here. Something higher than ourselves, a real purpose in life. And when you find it, then you don't want to have those bad habits anymore, because they'd be taking away energy and time from what is really important to the real YOU, to those you love and care about. Like Gurdjiieff said, what is good and bad depends on the circumstances. What leads you closer to your goal is good, what pushes you further away from it is bad (paraphrazing). Thus, it's not so much a process of punishing yourself (though discipline and super-efforts are involved), or changing out of guilt and shame (those can be huge motivators, but they shouldn't be paralyzing), but of sticking to those goals that are important, focusing on them, and the "addiction" will take less of a hold on you, step by step. Sure, it involves in the process facing the darker parts of ourselves, and that hurts. But it's conscious suffering, the reward of which is much greater than something we may use or do now for immediate gratification.
Thank you for posting this, Chu. This all goes a long way towards expanding what we usually consider to be the affects of addiction and its dynamics. It also seems to redefine what addiction actually is or can be. As I was reading it, I kept thinking about identification as we understand it in 4th way terms. That whenever we're too focused on some habit, some comfort, or some feel good tendency (among other things), it becomes a part of us in a way that can be hard to see, and we somehow become attached to it without even realizing it. It may be even be a far cry from having some kind of chemical dependency, but that doesn't mean that the pathways that have been grooved to connect to it aren't detrimental in some way. If our cups are too full of these seemingly benign addictions, I think we are sending a signal to ourselves and to the world at large that we choose not to be a signal for other things, and for our aims here especially.

During the session where the C's patched in Julius Caesar, it was asked of Caesar if he had had any vices in his lifetime. His response was, "None that controlled me". As we know about Caesar, he must have had an incredible amount of willpower and focus to accomplish the things that he did. He also had an aim; to elevate Rome to a much higher state of functioning and benevolence. His love for his people was his higher calling. But next to this aim he must have also been brutally honest with himself and denied himself certain things so as not to be controlled or deterred by other, lesser, parts of himself. I do not mean to suggest that we should necessarily give ourselves leeway with things that are bonafide harmful addictions in citing the session, just that perhaps we can allow ourselves to be inspired by the example of Caesar, Laura, Putin - whoever - that allow little to nothing control or deter them away from their course ultimately. And also to consider the great amounts of love and meaning that these individuals place on their goals versus their comforts. So becoming aware of how we are each addicted, identified and controlled by certain things, and consciously choosing to align ourselves with what we want to love more, seems to be the order of the day.
 

zak

Jedi Council Member
Chu:
All in all, I think that, with the knowledge gathered here in the forum, and from the recommended reading list, looking at addiction in this way can give one pause to think about the REAL problem, the lack of hope that sometimes invades us, the struggles in the Work, the tendencies to fall back asleep, and more importantly, how to recognize all this so that we can then heal, AND be more in control of ourselves. And ultimately, it is SO related to being able to sincerely be as much of services to others as we can instead of trying to control and get our needs met in all the possible wrong ways, that I think it can be really important. Because it's the relationships we build, what we can give to others, that makes a difference in this pathological world. And for that, we need to grow ourselves, to Work on ourselves, to learn to see the unseen within and in the world, and gather as much knowledge as possible, because it is Love.
I think this sentence is pretty relevant and have some resonance with some recents threads.
"Love is light and knowledge", all is lessons, so keep on learning well, the sooner the better
to keep on shining and shining. :)
 

happyliza

The Living Force
Thank you for this important article that you shared. It is extremely helpful, and written in a way that is easy to understand. :)
 

Hesper

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happyliza said:
Thank you for this important article that you shared. It is extremely helpful, and written in a way that is easy to understand. :)
Yes, thank you for this information. It reminded me of this article on SOTT, in which rats who led good lives were much less likely to become addicted to cocaine-laced water:

If you had asked me what causes drug addiction at the start, I would have looked at you as if you were an idiot, and said: "Drugs. Duh." It's not difficult to grasp. I thought I had seen it in my own life. We can all explain it. Imagine if you and I and the next twenty people to pass us on the street take a really potent drug for twenty days. There are strong chemical hooks in these drugs, so if we stopped on day twenty-one, our bodies would need the chemical. We would have a ferocious craving. We would be addicted. That's what addiction means.

One of the ways this theory was first established is through rat experiments - ones that were injected into the American psyche in the 1980s, in a famous advert by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. You may remember it. The experiment is simple. Put a rat in a cage, alone, with two water bottles. One is just water. The other is water laced with heroin or cocaine. Almost every time you run this experiment, the rat will become obsessed with the drugged water, and keep coming back for more and more, until it kills itself.

The advert explains: "Only one drug is so addictive, nine out of ten laboratory rats will use it. And use it. And use it. Until dead. It's called cocaine. And it can do the same thing to you."

But in the 1970s, a Professor of Psychology in Vancouver called Bruce Alexander noticed something odd about this experiment. The rat is put in the cage all alone. It has nothing to do but take the drugs. What would happen, he wondered, if we tried this differently? So Professor Alexander built Rat Park. It is a lush cage where the rats would have colored balls and the best rat-food and tunnels to scamper down and plenty of friends: everything a rat about town could want. What, Alexander wanted to know, will happen then?

In Rat Park, all the rats obviously tried both water bottles, because they didn't know what was in them. But what happened next was startling.

The rats with good lives didn't like the drugged water. They mostly shunned it, consuming less than a quarter of the drugs the isolated rats used. None of them died. While all the rats who were alone and unhappy became heavy users, none of the rats who had a happy environment did.
I think this research reveals a good reason why some self-help groups can really turn things around for people - they replace the abyss of isolation with the empowerment of being part of a group with a goal.

I think one big problem for people with nasty addictions is, besides the obvious toxic damage and unhealthy diets, the psycho/social programming that led them to that point. What are their working models for what relationships should be like, for what a 'happy environment' really means? It seems that, for those programmed from an early age in narcissistic and abusive environments, there could be entire social worlds that are inaccessible due to early pruning of those brain centers. In the end it really does take a group of people and a lot of strength to develop those centers, and we see people do that here every day.

People outgrow their addictions when they learn to value new associations and ways of spending time aside from the addictions, when they can cope better with the everyday demands of life, when they have accomplished enough so that losing the new roles and responsibilities they have attained would be unthinkable, when they come to feel capable of managing their lives – in short, when they develop an identity that precludes their old self-destructive behavior. [Related to this, the authors explain that this is the reason why abstinence is not a cure. The point is to make that need/emotional "hole" that created the need/craving for a specific substance or habit “shrink”, rather than stop it cold turkey and see it as a punishment. If you have better things to do, a higher goal, etc. you won’t have time nor want the addictive stuff anymore, basically.]
Thanks for sharing
 

Alejo

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Thank you so much Chu!

This subject to me is fascinating, one way I've come to think about it, and echoing some of what has been said above is, the addiction is something grown out of an automatic program (maybe even biological) to ensure our survival. One that we have come to identify with so deeply that we believe it to be who we are.

But, the truth is that it is not, most people who struggle with an addictive behavior do not recall ever choosing it consciously, and in most cases, as the author explains, they're completely unaware of where it comes from or what purpose it serves.

So I've come to think of the entre subject in that light, essentially the initial thought should be "who am I?" And "who do I aim to be?" which is a pretty tough question to answer because it sometimes means waking up to the reality that you probably are really far from where you feel you should be.

And regarding connectivity to others; l find that to be amazing, for most of us run away from pain, we avoid admitting it like the plague, yet it's there.. And it grows, and it's like, connecting to others and opening up about that pain, not to fix it or cure it or relieve it; but to acknowledge it. Is enough to start heading in the other direction.

It's almost as if, by choosing consciously to admitting to being vulnerable, and thus creating a sincere connection to the world at large via others, one becomes less vulnerable, and your fears don't freeze you any longer.
 

Cleo

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FOTCM Member
Hi, thanks as well Chu for sharing what you have here. I know this post really caught my attention when I originally read it some time ago.

As you mentioned Alejo, I also find it to be a fascinating subject, maybe or most probably because the subject hits close to home. Regarding some of my own past behaviors/traits but also from witnessing close family members struggle with addiction. Plan to check out the book 'Love and Addiction,' though I'm sure it won't be an easy read.
 

Solie123

Jedi Council Member
[quote author=Chu] So, the way out of an addiction seems to be understanding it, and finding a BETTER habit. Something like our Aim here. Something higher than ourselves, a real purpose in life. And when you find it, then you don't want to have those bad habits anymore, because they'd be taking away energy and time from what is really important to the real YOU, to those you love and care about.[/quote]

That seems to remind me of the saying by Grudjieff (if I'm not mistaken) that goes something like: man is always subjected to an influence, he can never truly be freed from influences, if not only choose what influence to be subject to. I wish I could find the quote so I can quote it exactly... I'm not sure how it relates to addiction, but after reading what Chu said above, I was reminded of that saying.

I echo what others have said above, addiction is truly a fascinating subject if only because everyone exhibits addictive traits in one way or another now-a-days. Whether it be drugs, drinking, porn, FB, distractions, sugar, gluten, tv etc... I think the key is becoming conscious of it, hence knowledge protects - because as long as we are unconscious or our addictions (and I don't mean just acknowledging the addiction, but actually understanding it) it remains a mechanical action. You cannot operate a machine if you don't know how it work; you must have a certain understanding and knowledge of the machine in order to be the driver.

But a lot of us spend our days running away from ourselves. Instead of sitting and listening to what our bodies are telling us, (I'm guilty of this) we avoid it like the plague, and immediately jump up to turn off any 'unwanted' feelings. We treat our bodies as if they're a threat to us. You're body isn't any longer apart of your whole, it's the thing you're fighting against, the thing you're trying to control. As long as this is the case, we will always be working against ourselves.

I thought T.C. posted a nice video that I found really emphasized the tug of war we have with ourselves, and the importance awareness.

http://cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php/topic,40946.0.html

Thanks for the great topic Chu.

[quote author=Chu] And for that, we need to grow ourselves, to Work on ourselves, to learn to see the unseen within and in the world, and gather as much knowledge as possible, because it is Love.
[/quote]
 

Buddy

The Living Force
Solie said:
[quote author=Chu] So, the way out of an addiction seems to be understanding it, and finding a BETTER habit. Something like our Aim here. Something higher than ourselves, a real purpose in life. And when you find it, then you don't want to have those bad habits anymore, because they'd be taking away energy and time from what is really important to the real YOU, to those you love and care about.
That seems to remind me of the saying by Grudjieff (if I'm not mistaken) that goes something like: man is always subjected to an influence, he can never truly be freed from influences, if not only choose what influence to be subject to. I wish I could find the quote so I can quote it exactly... I'm not sure how it relates to addiction, but after reading what Chu said above, I was reminded of that saying.[/quote]


Is this the saying you're referring to?

...in connection with the influences acting on humanity. The idea was roughtly this: humanity, or more correctly, organic life on earth, is acted upon simultaneously by influences proceeding from various sources and different worlds: influences from the planets, influences from the moon, influences from the sun, influences from the stars. All these influences act simultaneously, one influence predominates at one moment and another influence at another moment. And for man there is a certain possibility of making a choice of influences; in other words, of passing from one influence to another.

"To explain how, would need a very long talk," said G. "So we will talk about this some other time. At this moment I want you to understand one thing: it is impossible to become free from one influence without becoming subject to another. The whole thing, all work on oneself, consists in choosing the influence to which you wish to subject yourself, and actually falling under this influence. And for this it is necessary to know beforehand which influence is the more profitable."
If so, it's from ISOTM, chp 1, pg, 31-2 (pdf) between G's explanations about man being mechanical in every sense of the word and O's recollections of this talk, specifically, G speaking of the planets and the moon. To me, this part is interesting and also relevant, at least in an esoteric sense, to Chu's quote in your reply.

O was saying that G described the planets and the moon as living beings, having definite ages, a definite period of life and possibilities of development and transition to other planes of being. In this organic model of the solar system, the intelligence of the sun is divine, the earth will one day be like the sun, the moon will one day be like the earth and by then another planet will have arrived to become the new moon. Much earlier in time, the sun was like the earth and even earlier, like the moon. So, in this model of understanding, ALL non-productive activity is wasted energy - up to and including the destruction being wrought during war - all food for the moon.

Added:
Furthermore, if you experiment with thought and internalize the organic cosmological model, the ego is a 'dead-head' or moon and all this waste goes to feed the ego, or 'moon.'
 

Solie123

Jedi Council Member
[quote author=Buddy]Is this the saying you're referring to?

...in connection with the influences acting on humanity. The idea was roughtly this: humanity, or more correctly, organic life on earth, is acted upon simultaneously by influences proceeding from various sources and different worlds: influences from the planets, influences from the moon, influences from the sun, influences from the stars. All these influences act simultaneously, one influence predominates at one moment and another influence at another moment. And for man there is a certain possibility of making a choice of influences; in other words, of passing from one influence to another.

"To explain how, would need a very long talk," said G. "So we will talk about this some other time. At this moment I want you to understand one thing: it is impossible to become free from one influence without becoming subject to another. The whole thing, all work on oneself, consists in choosing the influence to which you wish to subject yourself, and actually falling under this influence. And for this it is necessary to know beforehand which influence is the more profitable."
[/quote]


Yes! That's what I was referring to. Thanks!
 

annp

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Alejo said:
Thank you so much Chu!

This subject to me is fascinating, one way I've come to think about it, and echoing some of what has been said above is, the addiction is something grown out of an automatic program (maybe even biological) to ensure our survival. One that we have come to identify with so deeply that we believe it to be who we are.

But, the truth is that it is not, most people who struggle with an addictive behavior do not recall ever choosing it consciously, and in most cases, as the author explains, they're completely unaware of where it comes from or what purpose it serves.

[..]

And regarding connectivity to others; l find that to be amazing, for most of us run away from pain, we avoid admitting it like the plague, yet it's there.. And it grows, and it's like, connecting to others and opening up about that pain, not to fix it or cure it or relieve it; but to acknowledge it. Is enough to start heading in the other direction.
Thank you for posting this, Chu. The book sounds like it is well worth reading.

This started me to thinking about how to more easily discern our own addictive activities, because it seems they can be so habitual and some are easily excused because they are somewhat productive, i.e. such as being habitually busy. Some of mine are automatically engaged when I am feeling sad or anxious. And there’s hardly a moment’s thought between the trigger and the action. I think just becoming more aware of the triggers and the resulting behaviors can help us to make different choices when those feelings kick in.

Escape behaviors only temporarily push away whatever discomfort we are attempting to flee. I noticed that as soon as I finish the activity I am using to escape, the dread returns, and sometimes with a vengeance! However, when I engage in an activity that is important for my aim such as learning new information, or when I am doing something to help someone else, it completely changes my internal landscape. I haven’t just pushed the ‘bad feeling’ away for a short time, but instead feel that I have truly accomplished something worthwhile and those earlier uncomfortable feelings are replaced with a sense of equanimity. Also I am much more likely to want to tackle some things that I would have ignored or pushed to the bottom of the pile earlier.

And connecting with others, being willing to be open about the pain we are feeling not only helps us to bear it and move through it, but being open and vulnerable with others gives them permission and courage to do so with us, giving us a deeper sense of connection and love.
 

RedFox

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Thank you for sharing this Chu!

I've had the following on my mind since reading it, as it hit something for me:
It is important to note the vicious cycle at work here. The addict’s lack of internal direction or purpose creates the need for ritualized escape in the first place, and is in turn exacerbated by exclusive involvement with the addiction and abandonment of the substance of normal life. Operating on the personal malaise and addict feels, drugs give him an artificial sense of self-sufficiency that removes what small motivation he has for complicated or difficult pursuits.
So, the way out of an addiction seems to be understanding it, and finding a BETTER habit. Something like our Aim here. Something higher than ourselves, a real purpose in life. And when you find it, then you don't want to have those bad habits anymore, because they'd be taking away energy and time from what is really important to the real YOU, to those you love and care about.
I recall how after many years of 'education' my sense of internal direction and purpose had pretty much evaporated. It did at least continue to manifest as asking questions.
All of my hobbies, interests and even my career choices where (at least based on) my habitual ritualized escape.

aleana said:
This started me to thinking about how to more easily discern our own addictive activities, because it seems they can be so habitual and some are easily excused because they are somewhat productive, i.e. such as being habitually busy. Some of mine are automatically engaged when I am feeling sad or anxious. And there’s hardly a moment’s thought between the trigger and the action. I think just becoming more aware of the triggers and the resulting behaviors can help us to make different choices when those feelings kick in.
Ditto that, and I can feel those things quite clearly when I actively try and pay attention to why I'm wanting to escape into a hobby or disassociate. But only if I stop and check.
The oldest behaviours that stem back to being a teenager or slightly earlier where the most interesting. They where the things I'd look forward to!
Saturday morning cartoons, Lego, messing around with electronics, sugary sweets, sci-fi, day dreaming and inventing. Combined with ever more stressful education and then jobs, the 'something to look forward too' vanished and all that was left are those old 'loves' (as childish as some of them may be).
I feel these things have been hiding a lot of depression and dissatisfaction with life, as if I wasn't allowed to express or share such feelings.

It is liberating to finally get some clarity, so thank you Chu.
 

Chu

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Solie said:
I echo what others have said above, addiction is truly a fascinating subject if only because everyone exhibits addictive traits in one way or another now-a-days. Whether it be drugs, drinking, porn, FB, distractions, sugar, gluten, tv etc... I think the key is becoming conscious of it, hence knowledge protects - because as long as we are unconscious or our addictions (and I don't mean just acknowledging the addiction, but actually understanding it) it remains a mechanical action. You cannot operate a machine if you don't know how it work; you must have a certain understanding and knowledge of the machine in order to be the driver.
Absolutely. But what I think is also interesting is that according to this way of viewing addiction (or for that matter, any mechanical action, or program), it is not always enough to be aware of it if we don't have the will power or a reason to stop it. Therefore, observing, understanding the cause (which is usually lack of real connections, a coping mechanism developed due to trauma, etc.) AND having a goal higher than oneself, or a more important goal against which that cannot be achieved unless the "addiction" stops controlling us, is worthwhile. That's why they say that abstinence is not easy, nor is it always the solution. Because if you stop a certain behavior but don't have a strong motivation or goal to do it for, then it's easier to a) fall back into it a bit later, b) start another habit/addiction that is as detrimental as the previous one, and/or c) abstain only temporarily based on guilt or shame, not on the desire to learn and grow.

Maybe this would explain what Ennio said about Caesar, for example. He probably had more important goals in mind that precluded him from indulging too much in anything. Maybe that is why there is so much addiction/hurtful habits in the current times: because the sense of communion, of community, or real and deep connections has been crushed down by modern pathological values. And that's what each of us can try to strengthen. Then, getting rid of a bad habit/addiction/program is the means to and end, not the end in itself. And that helps us stick to it. OSIT.

Alejo said:
And regarding connectivity to others; l find that to be amazing, for most of us run away from pain, we avoid admitting it like the plague, yet it's there.. And it grows, and it's like, connecting to others and opening up about that pain, not to fix it or cure it or relieve it; but to acknowledge it. Is enough to start heading in the other direction.

It's almost as if, by choosing consciously to admitting to being vulnerable, and thus creating a sincere connection to the world at large via others, one becomes less vulnerable, and your fears don't freeze you any longer.
Indeed! Conscious suffering and faith (when the above is done with trustworthy people who share that goal), CAN lead to what one longs for the most. It's easier to develop and addiction, but it never gets you where you want to be. That should make us pause and be angry, actually. Like "Who is in charge here???" kind of attitude. And then, work toward real connections. If the habit prevents you from getting there, then it won't be enough of a crutch anymore. If you hurt others with your mechanicalness, apart from the guilt associated with the realization, you can find inspiration in the fact that that takes you further from real connections, so you will want to stop it.

RedFox said:
Ditto that, and I can feel those things quite clearly when I actively try and pay attention to why I'm wanting to escape into a hobby or disassociate. But only if I stop and check.
The oldest behaviours that stem back to being a teenager or slightly earlier where the most interesting. They where the things I'd look forward to!
Saturday morning cartoons, Lego, messing around with electronics, sugary sweets, sci-fi, day dreaming and inventing. Combined with ever more stressful education and then jobs, the 'something to look forward too' vanished and all that was left are those old 'loves' (as childish as some of them may be).
I feel these things have been hiding a lot of depression and dissatisfaction with life, as if I wasn't allowed to express or share such feelings.
Very interesting. Taking the things you listed above, one could then wonder what the underlying curiosity of a child/joy/emotions were. Some might be a manifestation of dissociation to escape from pain, in which case you have your work cut out for you and can try to heal the trauma. Others could be inclinations that CAN be put to good use now. Perhaps with different activities. But what does each of those "passions" we had as children say about our possible real values/essence, once we remove the programming? Inventing, fixing things, imagining things, building... That's a lot of good stuff. You may not want to spend every day building Legos now, but the basis of that activity may give you a good clue about what you can do as a healthy hobby, and even in your career and life path, and the way you relate to others, for example. Then, the depression and dissatisfaction may lessen, because you nurtured your fragmented parts, by being an adult with a child-like curiosity and attitude. Responsible, committed to your Aim, but also "building Legos" one day at a time. :)
 

petite femme

Padawan Learner
Alot of good points here! Understanding addiction is key to overcoming it! If you can break it down and understand it, where it comes from and the purpose it serves, then you can begin to work with the "error of your machine", so to speak. Getting to the "why" behind your addiction is very important, I have learned first hand that abstinence is not the total answer! I am a recovering addict, and I can say from experience that if you do not get to the "why", you will most likely just replace your original addiction with something else! You'll get the satisfaction of accomplishment in putting down the destructive behavior that was your addiction, but eventually pick up something else to fill the space.
I am in the middle of this right now, so this thread was an awesome tool for me. I am beginning to understand and break down the why, and working towards a more peaceful approach to my recovery. One that involves understanding my additive behaviors and where they stem from.
Thank you to all that participated in this tread for your insights. I will be checking out this book "Love and Addition", to help me through my recovery!
Fwiw, I do participate in an NA program, and it has helped me a lot. I feel that recognizing your powerlessness over your addiction is an important step. It is the catalyst to taking back your power! Or at least it was for me. I do think that the friends you make in the program and the support is a huge help in recovery as well, since you sometimes find yourself quite alone. You have to distance yourself from friends that you made in your addiction and sometimes you find that those friendships were not really friendships at all, just codependent and unhealthy.
I do agree that the program itself is not the complete answer. It doesn't really talk about understanding the root of your addiction, and there is a lot of talk about asking a power higher than your self to "take away your defects of character". I don't really follow this part of the program. I feel that it is within my power to do this myself. Maybe not remove them, but understand and overcome them. In the end, its all lessons!
 
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