Three minutes of truth about addiction that society doesn’t talk about enough
- The Facts:
Millions of people suffer from addiction in various forms worldwide. Our current society doesn't support looking at the root cause to reach a solution.
- Reflect On:
We should not be asking "why the addiction?" but rather "why the pain?"
Addiction is one of those things that is very misunderstood in our society. It plagues almost all of us at certain point in our lives and for some it’s much worse than others. While many who suffer from addiction use drugs as their coping mechanism, even more people either suffer in silence or in denial as they choose other less physically harmful substances to cope with their emotions. Such people are often unaware of their unhealthy patterns, making it more difficult to actually make a change.
For those addicted to harmful substances such as cocaine, heroin or crystal meth, society often views these people as “drug addicts” who choose these substances and are “law breakers,” “delinquents,” or “criminals.” But new, groundbreaking research is showing that people who suffer from drug addiction are merely using these drugs as a means to cope with the deep emotional pain they are carrying, which often stems from a very traumatic childhood. Dr. Gabor Maté, a NY Times Bestselling Author, addiction expert and thought leader, says it’s not a matter of “why the addiction?” but rather “why the pain?” Herein lies the key to not only understanding addiction but to uncovering the trauma that caused the addiction in the first place.
Love & Acceptance vs. Judgment & Avoidance
When we are constantly looking down on those who are suffering, judging them for their choices or avoiding them altogether, it further perpetuates this idea that they are broken, unacceptable and unworthy of love. If we can look upon these people as our brothers and sisters with hearts full of compassion and understanding, it would drastically shift this current elephant in the room of our society.
Even if you don’t have an addiction to drugs (keeping in mind that alcohol, tobacco, cannabis and caffeine all fall into the drug category) are there other things you might be addicted to? Sugar, food, shopping, gambling, watching television, playing video games, watching porn, cleaning or any other activity? Now just imagine taking that away. Better yet, actually take it away for a period of time and see how you feel without it. We all have unprocessed pain and emotions that ultimately lead us to unhealthy coping mechanisms. Some are just much deeper than others and thus can reach a more extreme level.
The Importance Of Feeling Our Feelings
By taking away the substance or unhealthy action or behavior we are then forced to feel. To feel the pain that is often so unbearable that we’ve spent a large portion of our lives running away from is not an easy process. As Gabor Maté said so eloquently in the video,
…but the question is, how can people be with their pain? Well, only if they sense some compassion from somebody. So as another teacher says, “Only when compassion is present, will people allow themselves to see the truth.”
So addicted people need a compassionate presence, which will permit them to experience their pain, without having to run away from it. And all the attempts to run away from pain? Like another teacher said, “The surest way to go to hell, is to try to run away from hell.” So, you’ve gotta be with that pain, you just have to be with it. But you have to have some support.
And we live in a society that, in one way or another, is all about instant relief. Quick satisfaction. Distraction. In other words, we live in a culture that is based, both economically & psychologically, on not supporting people to be with themselves. So it’s always the quick getaway. That makes it very difficult to deal with addictions in this society. It’s a matter of, at some point, getting support to find a way to be with your pain, so that you can get to know what it’s really all about.