overcoming addiction pastel faceI recently watched Oprah interview Gary Zukav, the author of The Seat of the Soul.  I had read his book in the 90’s and after watching the interview, I am moved to pick up the book again and see what I glean from it at this stage of my life.  He shared some of his wisdom that resonated with me and I felt moved to share with all of you.

As I’ve shared on numerous occasions, my source of power comes from being in balance.  When my life is out of balance, I’m out of my power and life is hard and more difficult for me.  When I’m in balance, life flows with grace and ease.  Zukav posited that when a personality is in full balance, you cannot see where it ends and the soul begins.  This is the whole human being and what we are striving for.  His observation struck a chord with me.

Then he shifted gears and moved into addiction.  I was incredibly moved by his perception of addictions.  He started not from the negative by describing the challenges, but from the most positive description leaving me inspired by its potential:  Addiction is our holiest moment, an opportunity for us to spiritually grow forward.  He simplified addiction to its base form: an addiction is anything that is used to fill a void and numb a pain.  All addictions are equal, whether it is related to food, people pleasing, using drugs or alcohol, shopping, anger, technology, etc.   Contrary to popular belief, he maintained the optimistic viewpoint that when you discover an addiction, you can be joyful.  Sounds crazy, you say? Perhaps not, with further explanation.  Addiction is your greatest inadequacy when you are out of control.  When you discover it and own it, you can now do something about it.

The first action step in addressing the addiction is to feel what lies beneath it.  When the impulse for the addiction strikes, rather than succumbing, stop and ask yourself, “What do I feel?” or “Let me feel the source.”  Under each addiction is something too painful that desires to be covered by the addiction rather than be addressed.   The addiction, in turn, masks powerlessness and vulnerability.  If the addict does not deal with the feeling related to its source, the addiction will continue.

Addiction is a path to spiritual growth.  Healing an addiction is recognizing that part of your life that is out of control.

He refers to an addiction as a “great inadequacy.”  It’s an inner emptiness and powerlessness that needs to be filled.  He encourages us to challenge the temptation.  We have a choice in each moment that the temptation hits – choose responsibly.  Challenge the inadequacy, feel it, get to know it and what it is.  As we get in touch with the feelings below the addictive behavior, we gain power over this part of our life and become more aligned with our soul.

In fact, temptation is a gift from the universe.  Temptation allows us to recognize, address, and heal a part of ourselves that is unhealthy BEFORE we create negative consequences for our life.  What is beneath the temptation is pain and when we feel the pain, we can challenge it.  Every time it is challenged, we have the opportunity to grow.

When temptation stares you down, ask yourself 3 questions:

1.  Does this bring me genuine power?
2.  Will this make me more loving?
3.  Will this make me more whole?

Every time we struggle with an addiction, we deal with healing the soul.  It’s the work of evolution and the work we were born to do.