Monday, September 17, 2012

Is Everyone Addicted To Something?

Psychiatrist M. Scott Peck, a self-confessed nicotine addict and author of The Road Less Traveled, offered his perspective in a 1991 lecture, "Addiction: The Sacred Disease." Dr. Peck's thesis:

At birth, humans become separated from God. Everyone is aware of this separation, but some people are more attuned to it than others. They report feeling an emptiness, a longing, what many refer to as "a hole in their soul." They sense that something is missing, but don't know what it is.

At some point in their lives (often quite young) these sensitive souls stumble across something that makes them feel better. For some it's alcohol; for others it's sugar, drugs, shopping, sex, work, gambling, or some other substance or activity that hits the spot. "Ahh," they sigh, "I've found what's been missing. This is the answer to my problems." They have discovered a new best friend -- their drug of choice.

Peck pointed out that the alcoholic is really thirsty for Spirit, but he settles for spirits. Alcohol is simply a form of cheap grace, as are all addictive substances. What we humans really long for is a connection to God ... alignment with the Holy ... re-union with the Divine. It is a deeply spiritual hunger -- a longing to go home again, back to Source.

But we're confused about what we're really hungry for, so we go looking for love in all the wrong places: a bottle of booze, pills, a cookie jar, a casino, shopping malls, a pack of smokes, the Internet, or the bed of a new hottie. We reach for anything to take the edge off, to smooth out life's rough spots, to help us make it through the night.

Anne Wilson Schaef says that addiction is a pandemic American disease driven by our high-stress culture. Chodron and Peck say that addiction is a human dis-ease driven by our existential angst.

Perhaps it doesn't really matter who's right. If you're addicted to something, or your loved one is an addict, all you want to know is how to get free from the grip of addiction.

Excerpt from The Huffington Post, 2010 by BJ Gallagher

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