In Search of Lost Connections - the homeward journey!

It is impossible to understand addiction without asking what relief someone finds, or hopes to find, in the drug or the addictive behaviour.

Gabor Mate'




In another life, I would often take a day or two, sometimes longer, to make regular retreats to an old monastery, sat high in the hills of the great ranges that overlooked the valley in which our work and life took place. Yes, it was a time to rest; a time of deep silence, to be still and eat well, meditate, walk, sleep, dialogue with dreams and observe the world, my world, from the inside out. From the top of the mountain, so to speak. In short it was a time of renewal. A place for deepening connections, restoring tired mind-body networks and building new ways of thinking and reflecting on the separations that had formerly left painful and vulnerable openings in the soul.

Separations were missing pieces of life that somehow cut me off from myself, others and the world through which I often ran and sometimes limped towards some goal called freedom. Freedom of course, would be a life wrapped in love and showered with an overwhelming sense of security. The monks referred to this feeling as peace!

The particular kind of peace referred to is a state of mind. Not so much the absence of conflict, an unlikely event, but rather the presence of harmony. Psychologically speaking the term may be described as flow'; a state in which a person is fully engaged and immersed in a feeling of energized focus. There is also great sense of pleasure and achievement in this kind of psycho-emotional attention, especially if maintained as a positive state of mind; an intrinsically rewarding way of life.

So what's all this got to do with 'addictions'? Well, if you have ever tried to stop doing something that has a reward in it (pleasure, more pleasure) before the painful bit (the hangover, the loss of money, people, important things) then you'll know how difficult it is to really 'change' on the inside. One of the most difficult transitions to make is to change doing something that we have established in order to avoid painful feelings, hurtful memories and defend ourselves against crippling anxiety and fear.

We start by making connections. Sometimes the person furthest way from us is ourselves. Especially if we have spent years avoiding our traumas and painful experiences. Our addictions are well worn paths of behaviour offering limited benefits until possibly no benefit at all. So start by getting to know yourself . The best way to do that is to spend some time and listen. There are probably others in your life who have valuable insights for you too. If you can't hear yourself or what you and others have to tell yourself is too difficult to hear then perhaps a therapeutic listener, a therapist, is an appropriate step on your path to freedom, your road to home.

When you're ready to make that journey the road home will appear.

Seamus Corcoran