We all operate with a certain template of an addict – someone whose house is filled with needles or bongs, someone who has few pennies to live with and chooses to spend even those on substance, someone who has no loved ones around.
Such an imagery helps us because it suggests how much distance there is between us and these people. Such examples are extremely flattering because many a times they let us off the hook, curtail our identification and make us sympathize with those who reflect the essence of this image.
But in reality, we all are addicts. It may not be cocaine or heroin or marijuana that we find ourselves drawn to but it might be something else, something not promoted by popular culture as an addictive substance. And so we must redefine addiction as the manic reliance on something, anything, in order to keep our dark or unsettling thoughts at bay.
We may not injecting needles into our blood but we might be checking our phones every 5 minutes or stuffing ourselves with tub loads of ice cream or listening to music all day long or drowning ourselves in our work. Either way we are exhausting our body to a level where it does not have the energy to process what the mind has to say.
To think of ourselves with this new perspective, all we need to do is to go back to the memory of a time when we just sat with our thoughts, without any judgement or urge to go back into the past or into the future; memory of a time when we just let ourselves be.
Once the realization hits, we might want to wean ourselves off all sorts of addiction. But the real goal must not be that but to find the least harmful and most beneficial kinds of addiction.