An addiction therapist’s mantra: Owning the compulsions in our lives is Step 1
While not blaming ourselves, it’s important to recognize the choices that inhibit healing.
We did not create safety for ourselves, but instead romanticized and rationalized harm.
We did not demonstrate reverence for life, but instead damaged, by abuse or neglect, all that was precious and dear to us.
We did not develop deep roots that allowed us to grow, but instead, fearfully fragmented our energies toward anything that falsely promoted fixes.
Acknowledging our responsibilities
We did not create a nurturing environment in which to live, living instead from incessant distractions and dramas that kept us from a meaningful life. We could not trust ourselves or others because we severed our conscious connections to our Higher Power, and our inner guidance was stifled by the demanding dictatorship of negative habits.
Nutrition, exercise, rest, sleep, and healthy valuing of our bodies are not practiced when negative habits are in control.
Thus our bodies contain high levels of toxins, stress hormones, painful repressed emotions, the energies of negative thoughts, and trauma memories.
We view our bodies and others’ as objects to use, abuse and exploit, rather than miraculous vehicles for spiritual growth.
The consequences of our choices
Internalizing false beliefs from others’ ignorance and sickness, we build walls of defensive and offensive thoughts, attempting to protect ourselves from harm. Wherever we lack healing, we have an abundance of negative thoughts that continue to grow and demand our attention.
This is how we perpetuate, increase and intensify our problems, because defenses keep negative energy locked inside of us, attracting similar experiences.
When negative thinking stimulates resonant emotions, the collective influence of this energy initiates impulses to act. Both the more evolved part of our brain and our higher consciousness can intercede in this process, if we have cultivated conscious awareness and valuing of these functions.
Generally however, unhealthy habit patterns, chronic stress, psychoactive drug use, and psychiatric illness sabotages the mediation of these higher functions.
When trust is broken in childhood, when our bodies, minds, and hearts are violated and inundated with others’ sickness, when our true spirit is buried beneath layers of defenses to dull unbearable pain, we can easily lose conscious awareness of our spiritual being, as well as the concept of a Higher Power that is healthy, helpful and loving.
The healing begins
Initially in recovery, it is sufficient solely to alter actions by practicing greater mindfulness and the use of intervention tools to stop negative thoughts from causing negative actions.
However, it is vital, as recovery progresses, to discuss painful life experiences, especially from childhood, and increasingly surrender defenses in order to recall the original thoughts and feelings in a safe, caring, compassionate and understanding environment. These repressed thoughts and feelings must be heard, felt, understood and processed, in order to heal and outgrow defensiveness, offensiveness and addictions.
Creating a healing space inside and out
When we are not in a healing environment, but experiencing unhealthy thoughts and feelings, we can practice redirecting this energy to a positive or at least a neutral focus. Reminding ourselves that we are adults and currently safe from harm, and that we have support, tools, resources and divine assistance to call upon, is essential.
When we are excessively attached to people and things, we act as if they are our Higher Power. We can even feel that we will not survive or ever be happy, without them. Sometimes we think another adult will not survive unless we continue our codependent, enabling behaviors with them.
These are examples of ways that we abandon faith, create false gods or delude ourselves into thinking that we are the Higher Power. Thus we create and compound addictions, suffering, sickness and misery, for ourselves and others.
By allowing our relationship with God to be our highest priority, and recognizing our divine heritage, we accept healthy responsibility for ourselves and extend the same privilege to others. We perceive our bodies, minds, emotions and spirits as united in our soul’s purpose. Our response to harm, problems, loss and trauma, then, is to help ourselves to process the experiences in ways that facilitate mending, learning and growing.
As adults in recovery, it is essential that we return to our soul and our God in order to mend years of harm and false beliefs. Utilizing the gifts of prayer and meditation and the practice of spiritual principles enable us to experience what is sacred, eternal and indestructible within us. This is how we become inspired to fulfill our highest purpose and how we inspire others to do the same.
Mary is the author of Grace Lost and Found: From Addictions & Compulsions to Satisfaction & Serenity. She has over thirty-three years of clinical experience and twenty-nine years of university teaching. Mary has a private practice in San Pedro, CA and is available for telephone counseling, guided meditation, and speaking engagements. Contact her at 310-517-0825, or visit her website.
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