Here’s a different way of looking at addictions.
What goes to the core of addiction? What are ‘addicts’ (and we are all addicts to some extent) really looking for, beyond their next fix?
We are literally trying to destroy ourselves with our addiction objects – alcohol, drugs, pornography, cigarettes, we will use anything to die. We are unconsciously trying to obliterate the seeker, to destroy the separate self, to die to our imagination of ourselves. It is a desperate attempt to find Home – to re-contact our total inseparability from life itself. Addiction is only the search for love in disguise. The longing for death of the self is really the longing for unconditional love, for intimacy with all of life. The alcoholic, the drug addict, the sex addict, the computer or chocolate addict, is a desperate lover, longing for their beloved. They are a spiritual seeker, desperately seeking the ultimate guru.
But the cigarette, the needle, the new Gucci bag, is not their true guru. It is a guru that will disappoint and hurt, not the guru of unconditional love and acceptance. And so the seeking mechanism is perfectly designed to fail perfectly, to never provide you with what you long for on the deepest level. It’s designed to disillusion you totally with ‘external objects’ and wake you up from the dream that you need anything outside of yourself to be complete in THIS moment.
The cigarette or chocolate does not destroy the seeker, it does not bring unconditional love, it does not permanently disable the seeking mechanism. There is only a momentary pause, a temporary relief, while the mechanism resets itself. The temporary relief wears off, and the side effects flare up, and the discomfort of separation comes back, and the full-blown search is on again, hungry for its next fix, its next drink, its next chocolate bar, its next orgasm, its next victim. The mechanism is perfectly designed so that it will never satisfy itself. It cannot deliver what it promises. It cannot bring itself to completion in time.
And so we eventually lose faith in our cigarette gurus, our alcohol gurus, our money gurus, our shopping gurus, and fall in love with the true Guru, the Guru we’ve always longed for, the Guru of who we really are. We fall in love with the Lover who cannot leave us. We discover the perfect and unconditional presence of the Beloved, disguised as the present moment exactly as it is. The drug high, the shopping high, the cigarette high, doesn’t even come close to this. You would never cheat on this Love. The cigarette offers you a thrilling love affair, making all kinds of promises, and you politely decline, because you are already in love.
The addiction object cannot give you anything you don’t already have.