We all desire connection. Whether it’s from a plant, a tree, a person or an animal, the underlying desire is connection.

My understanding of why we desire this connection is because we are all strands of an original source that has separated from the origin in order to experience itself.

20151229_090237_001This is the only way that this source energy can experience the infinite aspects of itself – like a match stick that experiences itself as something that can light a flame but it is still part of the vibration of the tree from which it came, or water that experiences itself as a wave but is still part of the vibration of the ocean.

So because we are all parts of this main source by inter-relating and inter-connecting we are essentially enhancing our individual vibrational strand of that source energy, thus expanding that original source energy.

But here’s the thing: we must be cognizant of any unhealthy needs that cause us to rely on an external source to fill an internal void, thus diminishing our vibration, rather than expanding it. I speak from my personal and painful experiences with addiction, and also from the perspective of a shaman.

Addiction is an unhealthy and unhelpful behaviour that needs something outside of itself in order to feel a sense of connection.

Some types of addictions are sex, love, alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, food, porn, gambling, internet, shopping. What I understand, from personal experience, is that if we don’t have that thing that we are addicted to it can quite literally feel like we are dying. This is how one can tell the difference between addiction and desire. Desire is something that we wish for but if we don’t have it we are still okay; addiction is something that we need and if we don’t have it we are not okay. It is far healthier to desire something than to need it.

We may understand mentally that the thing we need is not helpful or healthy for us, but on an emotional level we simply cannot stop the needy behaviour. It is like there is a suction that pulls us towards that thing and no matter what happens we have to have it. There is gratification at that point of connection to that thing, but it rarely lasts long and always leaves us needing more.

In order to heal an addiction or disempowering behaviour we need to uncover the root cause of it. To get rid of weeds in the garden, there is no point in cutting the weeds above the ground and expecting the weeds to disappear. We lawn-weeds-hand-removalneed to dig deep and pull out all the roots in order to put a stop to the growth completely. Mostly, this is unpleasant but it is the only way to release addictive or needy behaviour for good. We may need to cut back little by little to begin with as the roots might be very deep. And then eventually, through all the cutting back, the roots can begin to reveal themselves and we can begin to pull them out and throw them away for good.

Because the root cause of many addictions is buried in the emotional body, it is essential that we understand the addiction at the level of the emotional body (emotions) and not just the mental body (mind). We need to understand what the underlying emotional need is and why it is there in order to begin to release that negative experience and reintegrate that aspect of ourselves that dissociated at that time.

From the perspective of a shaman, when someone experiences a shock or trauma – a deeply negative experience – part of the soul of that being may temporarily leave the body in order to preserve itself. The shaman calls this soul loss. The psychological term for this is dissociation. The more soul parts that a being loses, the bigger the hole. The bigger the hole, the bigger the need to find oneself.

There are various reasons why we may lose soul parts. Here are just a few examples (these can be real or perceived):

  • isolation
  • separation
  • loss
  • rejection
  • abuse
  • shock of any form
  • trauma of any form
  • premature maturity (needing to grow up before our time)
  • a needy or co-dependent relationship (particularly in the formative years parent/child or sibling/sibling)
  • conformity
  • societal pressures (government, schools, religion)

So with this need to reconnect back with the lost soul parts, confusion occurs and we begin to search for that connection to ourselves externally. And through this external seeking, addictions and disempowering behaviours can occur.

Just to stop an addictive behaviour is not enough to release it

If someone stops an addiction without releasing the root cause of it, they will become what I call a transference addict. The person will find something else to “fill the void” – for instance they could become addicted to work, coffee, or to helping other people to the detriment of themselves.  In many cases these transference behaviours are much healthier and a much better option than the original addiction and can be a helpful stepping stone to full recovery.

Addiction can be released

But I believe that an addiction can be fully released. I do not believe that “once an addict always an addict”. Any perpetual acknowledgement of identifying oneself with anything holds a person in a state of compliance with the vibration of that behaviour. Addiction is no different.

Of course we must not deny what is true for us but we must be careful how we identify ourselves to a particular behaviour. A much healthier acknowledgement would be something like: “I have experienced a challenge with x (the addiction) in the past” or “I am experiencing a challenge with x (the addiction) at the moment”. This creates a space between yourself and the action, thus removing your identity from it.

To begin to understand an addictive behaviour you can start by clearly identifying the type of addiction, and then identifying the feeling/s that you are seeking through that addiction. Once you identify these sought after feelings, you are beginning to gain a peak at what your soul feels it is “lacking”. It is from this space that you beginning to cut the tops of those weeds off.

However to release the experience that you are holding in your emotional body (i.e. the root/s) and that caused the addiction, it is helpful to take this to a professional therapist / spiritual healer who can direct and hold that space for you. 12 Step Programmes are also brilliant. Group therapy like AA, NA and SLAA are good too – amongst other things they can help us realise we are not alone in our suffering and can bring about healthy connections with other people (but be mindful of reaffirming the addiction as was mentioned above).

If you are experiencing a challenge with an addictive behaviour the worst thing you can do is think there is something wrong with you or berate yourself. This causes further disconnection from yourself and this is the last thing you want to do. A healthier reaction is to be kind to yourself and remind yourself that you are a spiritual being who is looking for connection and that you doing the best that you can do with the tools you have at the moment.

True realisation of the divine is an ongoing journey into the self which touches the infinite in unimaginable ways. It is a fairy tale to expect an instant and magical transformation overnight. But with each layer of confusion that we remove, the sense of depth and connection to self and the divine is so blissful that it is indescribable.

And it is from this space where true connection rests.