When life sometimes feels so overwhelming and demanding, we can easily be pulled into the dark; wanting to be free to release ourselves from the suffering. We can be tempted by those things that seem like a reprieve, a way to relax, and de-stress. In actuality, it is a means to escape the pain by numbing out, checking out, or dissociating.
There are many ways someone can choose to check out of their life:
Work (Embodied, 2022)
Addiction for many is a hard word to come to grips with. Denial about having an issue with said addiction of choice is a means of protecting yourself. You are getting something out of your addiction. It is serving you in some way. Maybe to not have to deal with the stress, pain, hurt, trauma, or wounds you have experienced or are experiencing.
Feeling helpless and needing a release are understandable, but you are lying to yourself if you are choosing something that in the end is actually harming you more than the initial wound.
The devil is a good tempter. He promises relief and escapism, but his outstretched hand is a trap; one that can take you to even darker depths of despair.
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Sometimes temptation comes in the form of crossing a personal boundary around your values and how you want to be in the world. If addiction takes hold, then you compromise yourself in order to get the high you are looking for. You can’t see anything, but getting your fix. And, that fix, is any of the above. You may compromise on being honest and truthful with others and yourself. You may do things you never thought you would do: lie, cheat, steal, or sell yourself – body and soul.
Here are some signs that your escapism of choice may have turned into an addiction:
The first thing you think of or do when you wake up is reach for the substance/behavior.
You can’t get through the day without it.
It invades your thoughts continuously throughout the day.
You lie to yourself or others about said substance/behavior as not being a problem.
You compromise your values to get substance/behavior fix.
You have a lack of control – you can’t stay away from the substance/behavior.
You abandon commitments, ignore relationships, or decrease socialization.
You engage in risky behavior, like sharing needles or having unprotected sex.
You are having withdrawal symptoms and need more of the substance/behavior to receive an effect.
Everyday escapism and full-blown addiction are both a means to not have to deal with the real issues. In order to heal, you need to go into the darkness, but this is not the darkness of the addiction, this is the darkness of your shadow self, of the stories you believe you are trapped in. These are the places where you have given your power away.
Take time for some self-reflection to see if you are utilizing any of the above modes to check out from your life. If you recognize it is an addiction, seek out an addiction’s counsellor to help you on your path to recovery. If it is not a full addiction, but still affecting the quality of your life, then start to choose healthier ways to deal with life’s challenges. Reach out to people who love you and can support you. Find a counsellor who can help you deal with the things you aren’t dealing with.
Find out more about how trauma can impact your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being in the multi-award-winning book Embodied: How to Connect to Your Body, Ignite Your Intuition, and Harness Universal Energy for Healing.