When I look for myself, I find that my main addiction is to taking thoughts as true. Any other (apparent) addiction seems to stem from this basic one.
And when I look at my own more conventional addictive tendencies, I find what seems to be a common dynamic, a set of thoughts taken as true.
(a) This memory / emotion is unbearable. It’s too much for me. It’s real / it points to something real.
(b) It’s easier / more comfortable to escape it / distract myself.
(c) I feel better by…. (eating, going on the internet, watching a movie, talking with friends etc.)
I remember a relationship disappointment from my early twenties. I have the thought it’s unbearable, too much, or even just uncomfortable to think about it or feel the emotions it brings up. I think it’s easier or more comfortable to distract myself. I have a thought about what would help me distract myself, and/or feel better. And I take each of these thoughts as true. So I eat something, go on the internet, watch a movie, talk with a friend, go for a walk, or listen to a podcast. If I tend to chose the same activity for comfort and/or distraction, it may take the appearance of an addictive tendency.
Even if I vary my strategies, there are several addictions or addictive tendencies here. There is an addiction to seek comfort, and to seek distraction from uncomfortable images/emotions. And behind that is an addiction to taking my thoughts as true.
Why is there an addiction to taking thoughts as true? It’s still not very clear to me, perhaps because this addiction is still running, to some extent. I suspect one explanation is that when this human self is born, consciousness does as is the habit among humans (right now). It takes thoughts as true because that’s what’s common here. In Rome, do as Romans do.
As soon as this happens, it sets up a self-reinforcing (self recreating) dynamic. As soon as the mind identifies with a thought (aka a viewpoint, an identity), there is a sense of me/I. From this follows thoughts that this me/I is born and will die, that it’s unsafe, that it needs comfort, and so on. And from this follows the type of life lived through many human lives, including this one.
Addictions are often uncomfortable, or – at least – our thoughts about them make us experience discomfort, so there is a natural tendency to wish to do something about them. Here are some things I have found helpful for myself: Doing The Work on mother, father, sister, brother, as Byron Katie suggests. Another related form of inquiry is to explore the sense fields. What sequence of images come up prior to an addictive impulse or behavior? What do I find when I examine these images and the stories that go along with them? Also, TRE can be helpful to release the tension/stress fueling addictive behavior (this releases the fuel behind addiction, and not necessarily the painful beliefs triggering them).
– main addiction, to taking thoughts as true (any other, it seems, from that basic one)
– The Work on father, mother, sister, brother
– TRE to release some of the “fuel” behind addictions (although not the basic beliefs behind it)
– sense field explorations, noticing the images leading to addiction, examine them
I have considered exploring the inquiry approach of Scott Kiloby a little closer, and don’t know much about it other than that it includes a way of doing inquiry that can help with addictions.