I want to talk about addiction from the perspective of a meditator. You are not addicted to the substance; you are addicted to the state it puts you in.
Drugs, alcohol, tobacco, dating, food and drinks, shopping, thrill seeking, news, advertisements, novels, Cars, pornography, smartphones, social media, TV, gambling, gaming, attention, even fighting!
What all these addictions have in common is that it brings the user to a state of “pleasure”.
I love eating, cooking, and food. So much so that I sometimes can’t control my diet. I’ve been on-again-off-again with my diet for over 20 years!
I used to think that food was the problem, but then I found a research study that changed my point of view:
It was a study in which rats were isolated in a space and paired off with other rats. The purpose was to provide an environment for repeated ejaculation in which the scientists analyzed the number of ejaculations and brain activity of the rats.
The rats that experienced repeated ejaculation showed hypersensitivity to dopamine and drugs, as if they were already addicted to drugs, and they also sought only sweet and fatty foods.
I also seek out sweet and greasy foods, and there were many times when I couldn’t control myself, just like the rats that were controlled by repeated ejaculation. Even though I don’t do drugs, drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, play games, or go gambling, I showed signs of addiction.
It got me thinking about what other things I might be addicted to.
I reflected deeply on this in meditation. Here’s what I discovered about myself:
Whenever I felt tired or felt like putting off a task that I didn’t want to do, because I thought it was hard, even with the minimal stress that I had going on in my life, I still opened up the fridge or checked the pantry for a box of cookies. The moment I ate the food, feelings of relief, comfort, and pleasure would wash over me. And when the pleasure of the moment ended, I felt bad, overcome with a sense of futility and guilt, scolding myself and promising myself I wouldn’t do it again, but inevitably, the cycle would repeat itself.
Fighting the substance of my addiction didn’t work. I had to go deeper within myself and find the root cause.
Slowly over time, my perspective changed, and I began to see my habit of craving foods and not being able to control myself as an addiction to the feeling of pleasure, and I began to look objectively at the negative and anxious state of mind that led to the pursuit of pleasure. With this deeper understanding about myself, I could find more self-compassion, which ultimately led to the self-control I needed.
I hope that sharing my own story is helpful to you. I also want to share a video that helped me on my journey to self-discovery, I hope it helps you understand yourself and look at the problem with a loving heart and a practical method: