Addictions come in many forms—basically behavioral addictions, substance addictions and food addictions. I classify food separately, because it’s also a necessity of life. Behavior addictions include sex addictions, gambling addictions, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and others. Substance addictions can include anything from relatively non-harmful addictions, such as coffee to more harmful ones, such as tobacco, cocaine, heroine, meth, etc., etc. Food addictions usually come in the form of eating more than it takes to stay at a desired weight or a compulsion to eat sugary or salty food addictions, or something specific that represents comfort of some sort.
Addictions are Compulsions
Basically, when we’re addicted to something, it means we feel compelled to do it or take it, even when it’s harmful to us in some way. In a way, when you’re addicted to something, there are two parts of you, and you flip between these two parts. One part feels an overwhelming urge to do a specific thing or take a specific substance—or eat a specific food. The other part tries to avoid the behavior, substance or food, and feels guilty after having “partaken.”
The Positive Side of Addictions
It’s strange to say that addictions have a positive side—it’s not taking the actual substance or performing the behavior that’s positive, but rather the intent or the need behind the compulsion. If you think about it, when we feel compelled to do something or take something, we’re both escaping a mindset or emotion that we feel is unbearable and, even more importantly, going toward a mindset or emotion we absolutely need. If we can achieve that mindset or emotion in our lives, there’s a good chance we can give up the substance or behavior.
Addictions are the Hotel on the Way to Going Home
Awhile ago, one of my Process Work teachers, Max Schupbach, said that addictions are our attempt to “go home,” to get to a way of being, thinking and feeling that is truly who we are, that is something we absolutely need. Often, we’ll come upon a substance or a type of experience that seems to lead us there. But usually the substance or compulsive behavior has negative side effects, too, and after a while, the substance or compulsive behavior doesn’t really get us where it did at first. So Max noted that the substance or behavior is a “hotel” on the way to going “home.”
From the Hotel Of Addictions to Going Home
Here’s a mild example: I used to be addicted to coffee. I’d have a big mug in the morning and another couple of mugs in the afternoon. I worked on finding out the mindset/emotion I absolutely needed. I realized that, when I thought about drinking coffee, an image/experience came to me of sitting at a table outside on a sunny warm day, feeling no pressure, no schedule. A specific free feeling. I started incorporating activities that had that feeling into my life, more and more. At some point, I was able to stop drinking coffee from one day to the next, with no side effects.
EFT and Process Work are Effective with Addictions
When we used EFT Tapping, combined with Process Work, a client of mine addicted to a much more dangerous substance than coffee (I’ll leave it at that for confidentiality reasons) realized that what he really needed in his life was a feeling that whatever he did had passion and heart in it. He had been in a career that had no heart for him, even though it had the chance to be lucrative. Whenever he thought about his work, it felt like “back to the grind.” He was drawn to the substance he was addicted to because it gave him a feeling of being able to “let go,” to do exciting things that he loved, to be around people he really loved and to interact in a way that had heart for him. Of course, the substance had all kinds of side effects that left him feeling the opposite of what he needed.
EFT and Process Work for “Going Home”
I use EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), as well as Process Work and other methods, to help people acknowledge what’s painful in their lives (the things they’re trying to get away from), to discover the mindset and emotion they absolutely need—their “home”—and the way to get there, which can result in the compulsion becoming irrelevant in their lives.
Wishing you a free and joyous life,