Addictions are a source of widespread misery. They distract us from solving our problems, sometimes, for our entire lives. We shame ourselves about our inability to ‘quit’ & the cycle continues.
What’s the way out? Can we tackle these addictions and end the cycle for good?
This essay will attempt to lay out the cause(s) of addiction, and a method to end it.
The first step to quitting addiction is to identify that there is a problem with the addictive behaviour. A rationalisation of smoking as "social" or "the way to gain street cred" will perpetuate smoking. It’s only the realisation that smoking is a means of distraction from a problem, that will enable the next step of quitting to be taken..
Step two is to understand what the problem is that's being avoided - This is usually an uncomfortable emotion, such as fear, loneliness, anger or guilt. Once the problem is realised, the next step can be taken.
Step 3 is to understand the cause of the uncomfortable emotion. This is the most challenging part of the quitting process. This step involves mining for Self-Knowledge. Why do the emotions come up? In what situation do they arise? What links does the current situation that they arise in have to ones childhood? What is the root cause of that emotional discomfort? - It’s likely that the emotional discomfort is caused by trauma in childhood.
Once the root cause is established, grieving can occur with the power of will and empathy. Overtime, responsibility can be reclaimed and conscious steps can be taken to remove the "catalysts" that trigger the addictive impulses - I.e toxic people, drugs & unrealistic expectations of ones self.
Quitting requires commitment not to the quitting itself, but to empathising with oneself from when one was an infant, to the present day, and into the future, through the process of Self-Knowledge.