I’ve been trying to make clear to you that the only worthwhile course of action, whether for a sorcerer or an average men is to restrict our involvement with self image, we must shatter our mirror of self-reflection.
-Don Juan Matus

When we look at the nature of addiction, we are looking at the nature and capacity of human beings to experience freedom and to love. When we speak of healing addiction we are speaking of finding and living through our authentic being. Our authentic self is the true quality of who and what we are as spiritual beings. It encompasses our relationship to the universal energy source- known to some as a higher power. Our authentic self has layers of beliefs and illusions that were created to insulate it from freedom. The purpose of insulating our authentic self was to make it conform to the Book of Law that we have written with the help of family, church, community, teachers, governments and society. Freedom from addiction exists in the ability to re-write our Book of Law.
This is a process that will take patience and diligence on our part because we have spent a great deal of time writing our Book of Law and it is going to take a commitment to change it. We learned many of the rules within the Book of Law when we were very young. When we were children we heard the adults repeat to us the dream of the world. Telling us that things were this way or that way, frequently we choose to belief the dream of the world that we heard the most. As children we trusted what we were told by the adults in our life without question. As children we didn’t have a choice as to what beliefs we were taught. Most of these beliefs were handed down from human to human until someone taught them to us. Each belief we agreed to became part of our Book of Law. Children learn by listening and watching adults. Many of us learned to use drugs and alcohol as a way to self medicate from our parents or older siblings. Others learned more from social or peer interaction. We unconditionally adopted this agreement without knowing what we were doing at the time. We were being domesticated as human beings.
The Book of Law can be understood as the voice of the Judge in our minds. This voice judges everything according to the agreements that we made and published in our Book of Law. We have made hundreds of agreements that do not support the freedom our authentic self seeks to liberate itself from the throws of addiction.
Using drugs and alcohol has been one way that many have attempted to quiet the Judge’s voice. Others have used work or sex, shopping, greed or food. The outcome is the same. The voice of the Judge never goes away. It may be quieted temporarily; it may be sedated or ignored for a period of time, only to come back louder and stronger, shouting the most destructive agreement that we made with ourselves: we are not good enough to “live life on life’s terms”. By taking ownership of this agreement we became lost in this cycle of shame and addictive behaviors.
The truth is that we are good enough. We haven’t wanted to acknowledge that we good enough because we have lived our life through a filter system where our innocence and strengths have become distorted. It is easier to lie to ourselves then discover when we became so uncomfortable or depressed in our own skin.
The payoff for telling so many lies is so that the Judge can remain the ultimate authority. The Judge in our minds is the voice of the agreements that make up our Book of Law. The Toltecs’ call the voices in the mind the Mitote and for our purposes we compare it to a marketplace of chatter, gossip and judgment that run wild in the addict. Those struggling with addiction know only too well the destructive power of this voice. It tells the addict over and over again what a horrible person they are for using drugs, when all along we used drugs to try and quiet the Judge. It is the voice that breeds a restlessness that seems impossible to stop.
The addict becomes a victim of everyone and everything in their life, especially the voices in their mind. Self-pity drives the voice of addiction. It justifies, rationalizes and minimizes the behaviors of the addict. The victim voice lives in self-pity for the purpose of enabling destructive and distorted behaviors. The Judge continually lies to us by fabricating and justifying even the most abusive behaviors. The Judge will say whatever it can to rationalize the next fix, the next sexual encounter, the next 16-hour workday or the next obsessive exercise workout.
Our victim voice is so powerful that we will surround ourselves with those people that support the victim agreements. When everyone agrees that we are victims, then we must be. The Judge chooses our acquaintances by their ability to support the victim voice. The Judge will criticize people who disagree with the notion that we are victims. Anyone who tells us the truth about the victim is gone and not allowed to be part of the dream.
Here is really the basis of what many addicts or those with addictive behaviors have come to understand as the insanity of addiction. We surround ourselves with those that share the very same agreements, we cohabitate with people that believe the same lies and share a similar Book of Law. The Law states: that the only way we can survive is to use our drug or behavior of choice to cope with our illusion of reality. Our dream is the one that we currently choose to live in. If you don’t agree with this Law, this judgment, then most likely we will not associate with you for very long.
We are constantly on the look out for those people that we enable our addictive behaviors. It is not difficult to find someone who will agree that we are better off when we use a mind-altering substance to live life. There are millions of people that know no other way then to self medicate their feelings. They have spent most of their lives sedating the pain that results from the conflict between their “authentic self” and their Book of Law.
The statement “living life on lives terms” means simply that we live life without our Book of Law, freeing ourselves from the constant prosecution of the Judge. The incessant internal dialogue judges our weight, our height, our success, our failure, our clothes, our hair, our color, our car, our home, our lies and our mind. The battle is not real, it only exists within our minds, but the results are obvious in the destructive behaviors that create a need to constantly self-medicate.
As the victim we carry the blame, guilt and shame that our Judge punishes us with. Shame is the toxic foundation that addiction is built upon. We have learned to shame ourselves through years of abuse and abandonment of our authentic self. We may have abandoned ourselves as a child and were left feeling wounded. Some of us were emotionally, physically or sexually abuse. Many addicts were simply abused through neglect.
I’ve observe over the years as a substance abuse counselor that there is a one common thread that all addicts and co-dependents share; that their shame and guilt is built on beliefs and agreements they made and put into their Book of Law when they were children. Many addicts may have abused in their past- abandoned by a parent, a friend, or a partner. These episodes of abandonment only give fuel to the guilt and shame that strengthen the agreement that we are not worthy of love. This is the big lie that most addicts share; that on some level they are not loveable. The power of this lie permeates everything that the addict does and distorts their world dream until they develop a complete set of behaviors that isolates them from everything and almost everyone. The only people that the addict allows close are those that keep this agreement alive and intact. We have become a society where millions of people have become the walking wounded--awake in the nightmare of abandonment of the authentic self.

Healing is a choice.

Peace be with you.

Author's Bio: 

Paul Stiles Randak is currently working on a degree in Social Work at the University of Utah Graduate School of Social Work. Paul works as a substance abuse counselor in Salt Lake City area where he resides with his partner Kristen and their children. Paul is a licensed massage therapist and takes a holistic approach to recovery and healing addiction. You can contact paul@spagyric.org