Everyone has different ways to lower or numb, to avoid, or to flee from anxiety.
These mechanisms are in themselves ways of dealing with anxiety, and among them are addictions. Eat, drink alcohol, go to work or exercise compulsively, any excess that you do compulsively, that you cannot stop and that helps you to get distracted from what you feel inside, is in itself an addiction. That’s why in reality many people have anxiety only they have not realized it.
We live as a society fleeing from what we feel, including filling ourselves with television programs and searching every two minutes for what is on Facebook are ways to avoid what we feel. And it is likely that precisely what many people with some type of addiction do not want to feel, is anxiety. To avoid feeling anxiety is to avoid facing our deep fears.
Many times addiction works as a tool to deal with anxiety, and if we are to help a person to get out of their addiction, we must first cover the real need that is to know what to do with anxiety, learn to deal with it , to feel it … to face it.
If we lower the addiction, as it often happens, we stop drinking or smoking, and anxiety appears and we do not know how to deal with it, we go to another addiction like eating, buying or working, and we aspire to replace one addiction with another because we are avoiding finding ourselves.
Feeling is not dangerous.
Meeting you is not dangerous. Perhaps you go through a stage of mourning, of letting yourself go, of feeling “out of control”, but … the addictions, for more in control that make you feel, in reality they take you away from what will heal you, which is feeling and meeting you.
Anxiety is often generated by low tolerance to frustration, those moments where what you want is not happening, and on the contrary, you are experiencing the frustration of not being able to change a situation.
The body in anxiety asks to tremble, to cry, and although you feel a need to flee, in reality what you need is to stop doing it.
That is why it is so important to have the practice of allowing yourself to feel and learn that feelings, frustration and intense emotions are temporary, and that we can have an attitude of openness and acceptance before them.
Do you feel that you are avoiding what you feel through an addiction?
First of all I want to tell you that this is very normal in society now, that you do not feel guilty or bad for doing this, we do not really have a healthy culture on an emotional level, and we have many emotions to deal with and we do not know how do what.
The good news is that it does not have to be so difficult or complicated, nor does it have to be very painful.
It’s about you starting to give yourself moments on the day of sitting down to do nothing but be with you, this is very difficult and many people are addicted to doing and being active all day. But … sit … close your eyes and feel … you do not have to do anything but feel, be with you, feel yourself and your presence. You will find sensations and emotions, because everything is happening inside you, but it is not dangerous to feel, and yes very senator.
Make peace with what you feel by being at peace with what you feel.
With just observing and feeling yourself for 5 to 10 minutes a day, you will begin to feel a change in you. The idea is that we can find peace, by making peace with what we feel. It is not about wanting to remove it, change it or reduce it, it’s about being with what is happening inside you.
This is the practice that Mindfulness and acceptance therapy gives us, to be able to experience peace in the midst of inner chaos. Do not want to understand either what is happening to you, just recognize what is happening, be aware of it, and even, love what happens inside you.
And remove so much attention from addiction, stop blaming yourself for falling back on it, stop evaluating yourself depending on how much you eat or take or whatever, focus on learning to feel your vast inner world and to use those emotions in a proactive way; painting, writing, using them as strength to move the situations or things that you want to improve in your life.
While you are taking confidence and skill in the practice of feeling, you can begin to choose at what times to go down the addictive behavior, to face what you feel with the practice you already have.
And when things in life become difficult or increase emotions, you will know that your impulse will be to run to avoid it through addiction, but you will already have a neural practice of better face and feel.
You will see that if instead of resorting to addictive behavior you give yourself a moment to face what you feel and allow yourself to feel and vent … the discomfort will have passed and you will need less and less of the addiction.
In a nutshell:
Give yourself time to practice feeling without wanting to change
Practice facing and accepting what you find inside you
Find other ways to vent inner tension
Learn to use your emotions creatively to create your life
You are leaving the addiction at the same time that you face what you feel
Recognize that you do feel, and you feel a lot.
Yes, it does affect us more conflict, tensions, problems, the depths of life itself … but it does not mean we cannot be happy or be at peace. It simply means that we need to learn how to make use of this gift.
Recognize that you do feel and feel a lot, and that avoiding your emotions is taking you away from yourself … it will allow you to learn to face what you feel and know what to do with it.
From my point of view this is the key to stop resorting to addictions.