Many experts agree that the slippery slope that leads to addiction of all kinds is heavily lubricated with the desire to escape from realities and truths we are not prepared to accept or face. There are not many of us who cannot relate to at least one mini-vacation during which we took a breather from the status quo and slid into an alternate reality stimulated or fueled by any number of mood altering substances. As we grow older and wiser, however, we tend to moderate or discontinue such habits as we learn them to be a hindrance to our health and personal growth. Unfortunately, just because we aren't shooting heroin into our veins, drinking ourselves silly, popping pills, amped up on stimulants or smoking enough pot to think we are an Oompa Loompa from Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, doesn't mean we are not still regularly disengaged from reality. You see, without the readiness to meet life head on or deal with certain issues, we simply create other ways in which we "numb ourselves" or "take the edge off" or "give ourselves a boost". In fact, many of these coping mechanisms we construct are even more debilitating because we are oblivious to their true function and we integrate them into our daily lives.
Whether we veg out in front of the television for hours on end watching imaginary people live or keep ourselves so busy and distracted with tasks, errands, work and serving others that we "don't have time" to pay attention to ourselves, we are still, in essence, disconnected. Whether we splurge on purchases we don't need or cannot afford or engage in explicit behavior, we are still looking for a quick high to make us feel better, even if for a moment. When we do things simply out of the need take the edge off of a feeling we are experiencing, the truth is that we are still self-medicating, just in a different way.
By embarking on the expedition toward self-awareness, however, we can discover what lies beneath. As we excavate the inner terrain and look deeper, we will find that we have created a whole well of intoxicating and mood altering thoughts that we draw from regularly that in turn lead to like behaviors. We must remember, however, that no matter what we do...that which we desperately attempt to avoid, cover up or ignore will never go away until it is acknowledged and addressed. If we can muster up the courage to explore our own depths and understand what sources we have gone to great lengths to buffer ourselves from, we can learn how to walk right through them...giving ourselves the freedom to explore every acre of this mystery called life.
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