Yesterday I got a very interesting question from an older client of mine. In our conversation he asked me:
Don’t you have any addictions?
I got this question from Simon (I have changed the name to protect the client’s privacy) because he is a smoker and he smokes 20 cigarettes a day. He has been smoking for the past 30 years. He wishes to stop but he can’t. His cough is really bad and he is clearly not feeling well. He admits that he is addicted to cigarettes.
In today’s modern culture addiction is “normal”. I see it everywhere. Addiction includes alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, food addiction such as overeating, addiction to sports, to exercise, addiction to shopping, addiction to the internet, to technology but also emotional addictions are common in our world – an addiction to love, an addiction to unhealthy relationships, an addiction to control, addiction to sensation and I could go on and on and on.
Addiction is the body’s or the mind’s need for “security”, a rush of happiness or a feeling of “feeling better” or a feeling of release. In our conversation yesterday, Simon mentioned his daughter who is in her late 30’s. She started smoking 3 months ago. I asked him why? He replied “breakup with her partner. She was off cigarettes for a year but after the breakup she started again”.
Now I am no psychologist and I don’t have a degree in psychology but I do have a personal opinion about addiction and why so many people suffer from addictions. In my Ayurvedic consultations or in conversations with clients, students or friends or simply by observing the world around me it is clear to see that the majority of people in today’s modern world suffer from some kind of addiction. I consider addiction to be an emotional imbalance, a lack of self control. Often addiction is related to stress and anxiety but also low self esteem. It is the body’s need to “be filled up” or to “forget and let go.” Often food, sugar, nicotine, alcohol drugs, etc gives the addict a release, a sensation of relaxation and relief. But on the long run this habit is destructive to the physical and emotional health of the person.
It is also very common for people (and I would not hesitate to say especially for women) to be addicted to security and extreme attachment to men, to partners, to a husband or a boyfriend. Some are in constant need of reassurance, and I would say obsessed with the loved one, or obsessed about seeing their partner, their new date or boyfriend. They want to spend every day together with the partner and do things together all the time. If the partner is out, they will call and text and “check on him/her”. I wonder if you can call it “romantic obsession?” This is also an addiction, but this is not the body’s need to be filled up but the mind plays the key role here. The mind is constantly thinking of “being with someone” to “feel secure” but actually this is a sign of insecurity. When we feel good about who we are, we don’t need anything or anyone to fill us up. The person becomes someone who adds to our life, not someone who “fills up a hole”. The same goes for food, drugs and other addictions. When we feel good about ourselves, when we are confident and able to tackle life with peace and calm, not getting anxious, not worrying or living life according to how “we should” live our life, the body does not crave destructive habits. To answer the question that my older client asked me yesterday:
“Don’t you have any addictions?”. The answer is no, I don’t. And I never had, not even as a kid or in my teenage years or University years. I remember a period in my life when everyone around me started to play with drugs and ecstasy. I would join parties with friends and people would encourage me to try “the magic pill”. I never did. I never had the need to “be someone else” or to have something else or someone else to “fill me up”. I don’t know why but it is simply not part of my nature and never was. Simon and I had a good laugh about life yesterday and it was an interesting conversation we ended up having and his question inspired me to write this blog J.
You don’t need anything or anyone to fill you up. Addiction is a desperate search for something higher, something deeper. Try to give your body and mind space in your day. You can do that by allowing yourself to sit or lie down in silence for 5-10 minutes. Focus on your breathing, be conscious about how you feel and why you feel the way you do. When the inner soul is happy, your body is happy too! When your body and mind are relaxed, your whole system is calm. When your soul is filled with pure and positive energy, you don’t need anything else to fill you up!
Let go of control, do less and be more!