This article is one of a series on the faces and forms of
addiction. It is a collaboration among Alden Brindle,
intensive outpatient director at Hope House;
his wife Marie, Hope House counselor; and
writer Nancy Jackson.
“Many of us spend our whole lives running
from feeling with the mistaken belief that you
cannot bear the pain. But you have already
borne the pain. What you have not done is
feel all you are beyond the pain.”
– Saint Bartholomew
There is legitimate pain in our lives. Running from this pain starves us of Our Selves (the part of us that knows unconditional peace, feeling of unity with life, joy, fearlessness, no self pity and fullness of love and gratitude). Addictions to drugs, worry, relationships, work, or shopping are all ways of running from pain.
This poem by the Persian poet Rumi suggests that when we feel love we die to our ego and stop running:
Inside this new love, die. Your way begins on the other
side. Become the sky. Take an axe to the
prison wall. Escape! Walk out like someone
suddenly born into color. Do it now. You’re
covered with thick cloud. Slide out the side.
Die, and be quiet. Quietness is the surest sign
that you’ve died. Your old life was a frantic
running from silence. The speechless full
moon comes out now.
Addictions are substitutes for authentic living. Be afraid of small and dry living. Become afraid of the mediocrity of addictions. For those in addiction the feet of their soul have been bound for too long. Cut any addiction cords that bind your soul and start dancing.