When it comes to current societal problems, the word addiction is often mentioned. And there are certain things that are generally spoken about, when it comes to what people are addicted to.
These are often: drugs, alcohol and gambling for instance. And due to the exposure that these addictions have received over the years, they have become the symbols of addiction.
This has lead to varying degrees of stigma being attached to them. However, even though one can clearly become addicted to these things; there are also many other things that one can become addicted to.
And yet some addictions are more socially acceptable than others. This means that there will be addictions that are frowned upon and others that are overlooked. So based on this outlook, one person can then feel ashamed for what they are addicted to and another can feel that what they do is acceptable and commendable, even though it may also be an addiction.
Black And White?
It would then be easy to come to the conclusion that addictions are a bad thing and need to be avoided at all costs. And this is due to the associations that have been formed around addictions.
Through looking a little deeper it becomes evident that it is not only alcohol or drugs that one can become addicted to; one can become addicted to almost anything. This can relate to just about everything under the sun.
Now, sometimes an addiction can be extremely destructive and take over one’s life. And other times it can be something that is extremely productive and yet still be within ones control.
Growth Or Destruction?
Being addicted to drugs, alcohol or gambling is inevitably going to have detrimental effects and these can affect ones physical, emotional and mental health, as well as ones finances.
It can also lead to one becoming incredibly proficient in a certain area of life. In order to gain a level of mastery in just about any area of life, it takes continued practice.
And to become addicted to perfecting ones craft, whatever that may be, is a great way to make this a reality. This is not to say that just because one does display additive characteristics that it has to take over their life.
What one was addicted to at one stage in their life may have had a beneficial purpose and as time has changed, it no longer had a purpose. And here, one changed their focus to something else.
So while some things are socially known as addictions and are labelled as bad; there’s many others addictions that people can have that can be just as destructive. And these can be things that are held in high esteem by society.
Here one may be addicted to: volunteering, helping/pleasing others and working. Although these may well be looked upon as commendable things to do; they can also become out of control and destructive.
What’s The Purpose?
As addictions have the potential to be both constructive and destructive, depending on factors such as what one becomes addicted to and for how long; it could be said that addictions are very much part of the human experience.
They are very much part of the modern day world and each one of us is addicted to something. This maybe be something that is classed as good, bad or even neutral
It would be easy to blame the common external things, such as drugs or alcohol, but these addictions and any others for that matter are just consequences. What they lead to is internal regulation.
To be human, is to have emotions. Now, some people are aware of them and some people are not, but either way, they are there. And what one does when emotions arise will often depend on how emotional intelligent they are.
The ego mind is all about control and an addiction allows the ego mind to control ones emotions. It becomes a ritual for one to regulate their emotions. And this can happen so naturally and quickly that one is not even aware of their emotions.
So as this is one way that the ego mind functions, it is not much of a surprise to see that human beings are generally addicts by nature. This could be an addiction that is beneficial or it could be one that is extremely destructive. And the type of addictions that one has will depend on different things.
Ones adult life and childhood can play a big part in ones addictions. What ones friends and caregivers did, as a way to deal with their internal processes, can all be copied. As well as the options that society offers for regulation.
It could be that through experiencing a childhood where one didn’t receive empathic care, one didn’t develop the ability to regulate themselves. Empathic care would be when one had a caregiver that generally: validated, mirrored and tuned into their needs and emotions.
Through doing this, one would then be able to internalise this way of being. And as a result of this, gradually develop the ability to regulate their own emotions or to seek others to assist in this process.
If this kind of early care did not take place, then it is unlikely that one will then be able to regulate their emotions. That is unless they seek the assistance of a therapist, friend or healer in later life to try and correct this.
And then, looking to external sources to regulate ones inner processes will be a natural consequence.
The general views that we are given though the media are often biased and unhelpful. And rarely get to the heart of something. I would say that one of the reasons why addictions have become such a problem in the modern day world is due to emotional repression.
Emotional intelligence is often the exception and not the rule in the western world. And having said that, this is gradually starting to change as a result of people become more self aware.
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.