If you have ever attempted to give up something you have become overly attached to you will know what I mean when I say there is tension to it.
Sometimes the practice of simply “letting go” is not available. It is easy to “let go” eating spinach, not so much with coffee. Letting go to me suggests ease. In my experience letting go requires trust. Like falling back onto a soft duvet when you were a child. You know that you will be totally fine without it.
I could not simply “let go” alcohol. I was ensnared in its clutches. I still don't know who had the tighter grip, alcohol or me, but we were certainly a couple.
A nasty couple actually. Sickenly intertwined. Being held captive by anything, whether it is a substance, a behavior or a person is horrible. That was the worst part of my addiction. Feeling trapped. I couldn't bear it, but I couldn't break the chains that bound me.
Often I wondered why? What is holding me in this state of misery? It was a deeply disturbing state to be in, much like being in an abusive relationship. You will know exactly what I mean if you have ever been there.
Years later I have a much better understanding of addiction, and I have my freedom. What strikes me now is how the hardness of that journey still shows up in my life, in much smaller ways, but with the same underlying theme.
That theme is fear of change. Addiction is the journey of change, in a very big way. And it is scary. Fear is a real obstacle that comes up and can keep us in the cage if we can't find ways to move past it. There is something deep within us that seeks security and safety. Even if it’s crappy, it’s familiar which is often where we will stay. Some people stay in hell and lose their life because of it.
Some people just suffer mediocre, unfulfilled lives because of it. We all have the potential to be free. Learning to see life as a journey, and navigating the scary bits, the hard bits, within the context of growth is all it takes. The starting point is always the same. Suffering. When the pain of staying where we are gets bad enough, only then are we ready to venture out into the scary river of change.