What is Addiction Really?

What is Addiction Really?

We do not have to know “why” we became addicts to recover.  If our brains are still prone to obsession it’s understandable that our sponsors suggest to us “don’t ask why”.    For the sake of peace in the first few years we should both “choose our battle’s” wisely and choose our purposes and goals wisely.  “Out of the problem into the solution” is by far one of my most valuable mantras for recovery.

However moving on into a more mature lifestyle I am discovering my truths and who I am.  If I question nothing and never ask “why” I shut myself out to both knowledge and learning.  This flipside of the “why ask why” coin is both dangerous and lacks depth.  A lack of learning is akin to a stagnant mind and stunted emotional growth.  My mind should have moved on into sanity at some point.  If I work the steps and get some good therapy.

First let me tell you this.  I have had long periods of sobriety then relapsed.  My last sober run beginning in 2006 and still going strong.  Oddly the topic of addiction interests me thoroughly even today after years of sobriety.

So what is addiction really?  Is it cunning, baffling and powerful?  At some point we can all agree that “yes” it is.  What does the Big Book tell us?  It’s insidious,  progressive, deadly, destructive and a spiritual sickness or malady of sorts.  Some says it’s inherited and genetic.  Some say it grounded in our environment.

“From it stem all forms of spiritual disease, for we have been not only mentally and physically ill, we have been spiritually sick. When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically.”  Big Book fourth step.

There’s that contradiction again “spiritually and sick”.  Spirituality is in some ways a replacement drug for addiction.

I believe our emotional condition can take on a life of its own.  Preachers believe addiction is an oppressive and controlling spirit.  I believe this to be true.  Why?  Because the first time I got sober for years was due to a white light experience in a church.  At which time I felt something dark leave me.  Psychologists believe addiction is emotional and rooted in childhood or other emotional trauma.  I believe this to be true also.  People in AA believe our addiction is a lack of spirituality, a type disease.   Well in so many words I believe this also to be true.  AAers believe if we just do an inventory of the “our part” and clean up our lives we can stay sober.  But what about harm done to us?  Where does that get processed?  How can we scream “outside issue” to the core reasons we became addicts to begin with and expect to experience a full emotional, spiritual, mental, inner man recovery?  No wonder so many AAers believe and even know that they will need meetings the rest of their lives.  Their recovery unfortunately is based solely in distraction rather than an emotional healing and a true cure.  Some believe addictions is passed on through the genes…this also is based in truth to a point.

I can tell you this, the pink cloud God put me on for years didn’t heal my emotional suffering but rather it masked and covered it for quite some time.   Maybe because “Love covers a multitude of sin”.  But lets face it many pwople who recover in church end up back out there after years sober.  But hey so do people in AA.  We shouldn’t balk at anybody’s method of recovery really.  Especially if it is effective.   My deliverance from addiction by white light experience was like a reprieve from pain.  I relapsed because I still didn’t know what to do with my negative feelings when they resurfaced.  We must build healthy emotional processes in us and quit denying our most intense feelings.  We should honor our feelings.  We do not allow feelings to rule us but by the same token we should not ignore our hearts cry to be heard.  That is called “repressing” and it will kill us.  Our heart is at the very core of our communication with God.  It’s no wonder we cover parts of ourself from God because of shame.  Journal, journal, journal.  Share, share, share.  https://www.recoveryfarmhouse.com/fourth-step/  Admit fear and process it.  Get it out of our head so it loses power over us.


We became addicts because of the environment we grew up in. That is the primary cause. The answer is not solely genetic, solely emotional, solely spiritual, or solely demonic.  Mental illness plays it’s part as well.  But the mental ailments like bi-polar and the rest have their environmental factors also.

Why does anybody want to numb himself to reality?  Because reality sucks.  What makes reality suck?  Our mental and emotional condition are what cause our eye glasses to be tainted with the color of gray.  Getting spiritual does help.  And if being sick is the only reason for one to seek God then thank God for being sick.  Many people don’t seek God till they are lying on their death bad.  Others never do.  Finding God is by far the most important task in our lives in my opinion.  Spirituality is not the malady it’s the solution.

What makes a person miserable is the pain that lives inside of them.  The pain that they hide and push down relentlessly until it hurts so bad we feel like we may explode if we don’t somehow kwell that inner pain with all the voices attached to it.  It taints our present and our future.  It changes our view of people, places and things.  And our pain is usually the very last thing we want to address and work on in recovery.  Therapy doesn’t work if you don’t open up and let the demons out.  Not just the demons of our actions toward others but the demons of bad things done to us especially as children.  We must let the shame out.  Let out the hurt, we must become emotionally vulnerable and let our inner child have their say.

Oh how we are ashamed of the little fellow inside of us who just wants to be loved.  He is needy we scream!  He is weak we disdain his weakness even hate him because of it.  So we hide him away.  The little fella cares what others think of him.  He wants badly to be liked…oh hell no! we scream at his childlike feelings.  The people who have learned to nurture the child side of themselves are the people who truly do recover.

I started letting my child out when I got into group therapy.  Oh how ashamed I was as I sat in group feeling as if a black bowling ball of pain was seated in my chest…and it was.  Every little truth I began to let out about my feelings would turn me red as a beet.  Why did I, me with such a wonderful childhood and good caring parents have all the same symptoms of my repeatedly sexyally abused counterparts in group therapy?  Why was I so ashamed of who I was.  Why did I hurt So bad?

Well I didn’t get the full picture of my tortured childhood until I engaged in meditation and prayer for years on end.  Really many of my self revelations were hindsight to my year of therapy.  I had buried my memories so deep that it took years of sobriety to finally remember the neglect of my parents.  It took years to remember the sexual abuse.  Years to recall the trips to the hospital.  Years to realize that my parents taught me to be ashamed and hate who I was.  They taught me I was a lesser person than other people.

When you grow up under these conditions your damn right you want to numb the pain.  So, what horror my friend is lurking behind your addiction and wonderful childhood blessed with healthy and nurturing caregivers?

Does this mean that I shrug my responsibilities? No of coarse not but it does mean that wrongs suffered to me are every bit as important to process if not more so than wrongs done by me.

Why was it so hard for me to see my father as the son of a bitch that he was?  Why did I paint a picture of who he was for years and lay all the blame on myself?  I guess it was easier for me to hate myself than to hate him.  What security was there for me in my life if the one role model I cherished as my security and teacher turned out to be a violent and abusive prick?

It was very hard for me to see the abuse of my past but I finally did.  I believe most in AA don’t unless the abuse continues up into their teens, then they can’t bury it.