A new perspective on addiction.

We not only as a culture, but as a species need a new understanding of what addiction is.

I use the word addiction in a broad sense, like I use the word trauma. Addiction in the way I use the word is the condition of humanity. Everyone has this movement of addiction in their lives, substance abuse we could just call a stage 5 addiction.

It’s not so much the pain being resolved that resolves addiction, it’s the resistance to pain, the not wanting it there, when that drops away then so does the movement of addiction. When the resistance drops and the pain is just allowed to be, a surrender takes place and the movement away from the pain, away from the uncomfortability of this moment that causes one to reach for a drug/drink/behaviour or thought ceases.

It’s not the pain that really drives the addiction, it’s the craving and aversion, in other words, resistance to the pain, the attempt to deal with it. Addiction is not a "thing" it’s is a movement, a process, away from “this” and toward “that”.

When that movement ceases, due to a surrender, addiction can cease in the midst of even great pain. I see this all the time, when things get bad enough we stop fighting, we fall deep into now and everything becomes silent.

An example of this is when we hit a point of exhaustion. The movement ceases, and the mind is rendered silent, because addiction, the mind, resistance, past and future, compulsive doing, are all synonymous.

Here’s an experiment, whether you consider yourself as having an addiction or not. Go sit in a room alone for an hour with no distractions, no meditating, no inquiring, no music, no yoga, no getting lost in thought, nothing, just sitting, notice all the ways your mind fights this, notice all the ways your mind wants to avoid just resting in the moment.

Notice the movement away from now and the desperate attempt to find something else, the desperate attempt to “DO” something. That movement, that craving and aversion is the core addiction, and is also the cause of all suffering.


Matt Nettleton

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