Healing shame, fear and the addictive mind

Many look to drugs, alcohol, sex, money, food, shopping, gambling or even high-risk situations to relieve the nagging sense of loneliness, emptiness and deficiency. Others may feel isolated, alone and disconnected from humanity; their deep wounds seemingly untreatable.

Many look to drugs, alcohol, sex, money, food, shopping, gambling or even high-risk situations to relieve the nagging sense of loneliness, emptiness and deficiency. Others may feel isolated, alone and disconnected from humanity; their deep wounds seemingly untreatable.

by Paul Stiles Randak — 

The journey toward healing and personal freedom requires one to address the nature and origin of past wounds. These wounds, which formed at a very early age, are the result of events and relationships in one’s life where the authentic or artistic self was abandoned or injured. Releasing oneself from past loss, grief and abandonment necessitates the transformation of our shame- and fear-based beliefs.

For many, the internal struggle for acceptance and belonging — the feeling of being connected to something spiritual or fundamental — causes one to look outside of oneself, especially at dependent relationships, to medicate a lingering lack of self-worth. Many look to drugs, alcohol, sex, money, food, shopping, gambling or even high-risk situations to relieve the nagging sense of loneliness, emptiness and deficiency. Others may feel isolated, alone and disconnected from humanity; their deep wounds seemingly untreatable.

Sex, drugs, food and television become close friends, medicating the wounds at the source of internalized shame, loss and fear. The need to disguise these wounds by acting out can be overwhelming; a person will use more and more sex, drugs, food and/or shopping in an attempt to find relief.

We can never heal the original wounds this way because the relief we feel from such treatments is only temporary. On the contrary, this Band-Aid approach actually creates a bigger obstacle. It fuels the judgmental voices of the victim (who blames everyone and everything for their feelings and actions) and the critic (who attacks and constantly finds fault in others and themselves).

The victim and critic voices give power to denial and defense mechanisms. Avoiding responsibility and accountability, these destructive voices are well ingrained into our psyches. They permeate and feed the addictive mind.

For the addictive mind, there is never enough sex, gambling, drugs or alcohol; quieting the critic’s and victim’s self-deprecating inner dialogue only occurs by medicating them. In this state, our options seem few because we were never given a road map out of this living hell.

But there are alternatives. One must journey back to identify the source of the abandonment or abuse that created the internalized shame and fear; one must help the voice of the artist (the voice of forgiveness, acceptance, compassion and love) defeat the critic and victim.

To understand the dynamics that create shame- and fear-based beliefs, one must recognize the stages by which the addictive and dependent mind paradigms were established. Stage one consists of the events from one’s past. This is where the initial wounds or messages of abandonment were created. As discussed above, these usually occur during one’s developmental years through abuse, neglect, abandonment or trauma of some kind.

The second stage is when we internalize the messages of abandonment, transforming them into shame- and fear-based beliefs. These internalized messages become the basis of one’s distorted core belief system.

Finally, in the third stage, one acts out these distorted core beliefs with addictive and dependent behaviors. As previously stated, these behaviors can be acted out through drugs, relationships, sex, gambling, greed, work, shopping or food.

Once the initial wounds are opened, a cycle is created. Fear- and shame-based beliefs begin to create the distorted core —  which, in turn, sponsors dependent or addictive behaviors. These behaviors create more fear and shame, and the cycle starts again. From here, one can see how these core beliefs continually generate addictive behaviors at the top of the cycle or perpetuate the abandonment of the artistic self at the foundation.

The results of maintaining a shame- and fear-based core become evident in the progression of the addictive mind. One continually needs more and more substances or more and more food, sex, shopping or playing the victim. The destructive nature of this behavior becomes clear as one avoids healing the original wounds, thus restricting the connection to one’s artistic self. The more one acts out, the stronger and more restrictive the distorted core becomes and the more we shut ourselves off from our authentic self and our spiritual connection to humanity.

The only way to address the transformation of our contracts, beliefs and addictions lies in our ability to convert the fear- and shame-based lies we have heard over and over again. Moving away from the distortions of the addictive mind toward joy, peace, freedom and love is the process of honoring our authenticity and healing the wounds. The journey toward healing is a journey toward a life of impeccability and integrity, honesty and living through the artistic self.

Tools to assist in this transformational process are journaling, breathwork, meditation, yoga or exercise practices, creating sacred spaces and journeying events to open and heal our minds, body and souls. Most important is the willingness to be patient with the process and accept one’s humanness and connection to the earth. The journey toward healing is the journey toward love.

 

Paul Stiles Randak is the executive program director of Journey Healing Centers and the author of Healing Shame and Addiction with the Four Agreements. His healing and recovery programs have integrated traditional cognitive restructuring principles with the transformational practices of the Four Agreements. 801-450-0199 or paul@journeycenters.com.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 24, Number 4, August/September 2005.

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Web Analytics