If you’d rather not suffer in any way, and by that I mean you’d prefer never to be bored, tired, hungry, anxious, disappointed, sad, angry, or any number of other discomforts in life, and you regularly use a substance, person or practice that makes you feel better and avoid “pain,” you may have the Addict Archetype. One of the newest replacement “substances” is Facebook, which I admittedly use if I happen to be in a room where a movie is playing that disturbs me in some way. I grab for my cell phone and scroll social media like one possessed.
When faced with an addictive response to unpleasant stimuli, your body really IS calling out for something. It’s not only that you lack willpower. This feeling you have is your body, mind or spirit telling you it requires something. In my example above, I needed to switch the movie, leave the room or engage in another activity, like reading a book. If you can insert a pause between the discomfort and the addiction of choice, check in with yourself to see what you are feeling, why you are feeling it, and what it is that you really need, you might be surprised. You may need a glass of water, or perhaps you need to step away from the computer for a few minutes, or it just may be that you really could use that cookie. This is not to minimize the devastating effects of severe, life-threatening addictions. It would be ridiculous to assert that “taking a pause” is all that is needed in more serious cases. The shadow aspect of the Addict Archetype compromises honesty and integrity.
Challenges are part of life. If a substance, practice, or person is needed so intensely and regularly that your relationships, finances, character and psychological or physical well being are compromised, the shadow Addict is active. And on the light side? Conquering addictive behaviors contributes to your sense of self worth. “If I can kick (name addition), I can overcome anything.”
And lest we dare judge those with addictions, we would do well to remember the words of Gandalf in Lord of the Rings. “Do not be too eager to deal out death and judgment. Even the very wise cannot see all the ends.” For many, going into depths of destruction is a fate or destiny that brings about the riches of transformation and rebirth.