Addiction & Inner Pain
Addiction is a result of unprocessed pain. The pain we all carried in our hearts since the beginning of our existence . Some people are privileged to have healthier families and environments that prepares them to cope with the hardship of life in a healthier way. Other people are not that lucky and didn’t have parents or a supportive way of living. In fact what they had, caused such pain, that they couldn’t find any way out, but to escape through an addiction of some kind.
Thomas Keating (2009, p. 96) explains that underneath addiction lays a deeper problem that needs to work. Otherwise, after sobriety, the problem might turn up into another addiction, or become stronger than before. Keating affirms that the human being pursue happiness through the “gratification of unlimited and unreal demands for the symbols in the culture of:
1. Affection, Esteem & Approval;
2. Power & Control;
3.Safety & Security" .
When men can’t meet the demands of the three points mentioned above, the pain becomes unbearable, and an addiction of some kind will attend the demands. In ‘healthier’ people, this presents in behaviours like: people pleasing, people helping, workaholics, dancing, infatuation, coffee drinking, seeking adrenaline, dualistic ways of thinking and on. It can be seeing that as an addiction that blocks one in awakening to their Authentic Self. It does not kill anyone. It will not hurt anyone physically. It is not breaking any federal law. It is just blocking one to live from their True Self. Whilst the addiction to chemical substances are easier to detected, and therefore the knowledge of inner pain becomes visible, the addiction to a ‘normal behaviour’ is harder to be perceived, and therefore more difficult to be accepted (as an addiction). That’s why men only understands he needs help when a great and tragic event happens, revealing the addictive problem in their face.
The Authentic Male Journey is a counselling framework based in self-knowledge which is “tied in with inner work” (Rohr, 2001, p.9). It is a demanding and painful journey, that takes courage to walk such path, as one will identify their addiction (and their inner pain), embrace their brokenness, and confront the false energy that leads to addiction. This is not pleasurable and is not easy at all. For some people it is like as if they are being asked to give everything they have, with no guarantee of receiving anything in return. There is always much resistance at the beginning. Once True Acceptance is embraced, what was once bitter, it becomes sweet and the main Source of Life.
Addiction & Authentic Self
The issue of Addiction is not a problem for ‘certain’ people only. It is a human problem, as we are all addicted in some form. If one wishes to live a life to the full, out of the Authentic Self, it is important to keep asking, seeking, and knocking to “keep in the right relationship with Life Itself” (Rohr, 2011, p. 63).
Identification and Differentiation of Energies
The Authentic Male Journey can help men to keep aware of the false energies within, and to awake to the True energies we all carry inside of us. The addictive behaviour will be used as a door to identify and differentiate both energies within.
1. Keating, T. (2009). Divine therapy & addiction: Centering Prayer and twelve steps. Lantern Books;
2.Rohr, R. (2001). The Enneagram: a Christian Perspective. Crossroads.
Rohr, R. (2011). Breathing under the water: Spirituality and the twelve steps. St. Anthony Messenger Press.
Felipe Oliveira provides addiction counselling for men facing such issues. Click here to know more about his work . Or, please, continue reading about the invisible benefits of an addiction.
Felipe Oliveira is a Counsellor for Men to Live an Authentic Life™.
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