Reflections from a Beyond Addiction Support Group

For several months now, after completing the first round of the four month Beyond Addiction program, a group of committed students have continued studying Beyond Addiction, meeting on a weekly basis. We have dug into the process of self-discovery and deep reflection, spending one month on each of the sixteen modules.

In this summary below, you will have a glimpse into the inner workings and musings of this group. The excerpt below is taken from the reflections after a group meeting where the group reviewed Module One and with deep self-exploration, tenaciously pulled apart the material on the complexes as we explored our edges and growth.

Attachment to Our Complexes

Four of us spent an hour going deep into the meaning and the overcoming or transformation of complexes/identities. We discussed complexes such as motherhood, or the struggles of wanting to be a “nice person”, or any of the labels by which we call ourselves. Why do we hang onto our complexes? Why do we have addictions?

Separation from the self is the cause of all addiction, and all addictions arise from wanting to soothe the pain of this separation (as we have heard and read in the material and videos presented to us by Dr. Gabor Maté). The question came up in the group, “Are complexes subtle addictions?”

We did not solve that question, but we explored responsibility.

We may need a radical paradigm shift to get over the label/complex and concentrate on being Love. We believe that we have to start with “myself” or to begin with self-care.

We reached the realization that labels can be more subtle than “I am a father” or “I am a therapist.” “I am not good enough” is also a label! In order to switch from ‘Not being Good Enough‘ to ‘Being Good Enough‘, we have to elevate ourselves into “Being Loving.” We can practice being Human Beings where the “good enough” label becomes redundant or meaningless.

It is entirely possible that our attachment to other complexes/labels, such as “I am a teacher” or “I am a father” can be as addictive and emotionally loaded as our unconscious belief that “we are not good enough.” We decided that this comparison may be worth further examination or meditation.

Not Being Good Enough

Someone confronted me and called me “judgemental”. Instead of reacting or being defensive, I thought about it. I accepted the fact that I am judgemental!

I went through the exercise in Module One with the intention of trying to ‘get rid of’ being judgmental.

Why am I judging others? Perhaps I am drawing a comparison that “I am better than you are.” But comparisons don’t work. Someone is always better than everyone else. By being judgmental, I refuse to see my own demoting habits, negative feelings. Instead, I can only see other people’s faults, problems, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities – all the emotions that make me feel uncomfortable.

What emotion within me does being judgmental cover up? What am I hiding from myself? Since a judgment inevitably implies or even states that “You are not good enough,” and I am projecting that emotion onto others because I don’t want to acknowledge it in myself.

Being “Not good enough” is a belief system. Where and how did I pick it up? I can think of dozens of experiences as a child between the ages of 4 and 6. For one, I wet my bed. That was not good enough for my father, so he punished me for it severely. In another instance, due to an incautious move, I overturned a rack of drying dishes and glasses my mother had just washed and I was drying. It was not good enough for her that lots of the glasses and a few of the plates broke. She lashed out and slapped me in the face, and then beat me. In a third instance I was breaking off twigs from a bush at a country school for an arithmetic project. The teacher ‘caught’ us and it wasn’t good enough for him. He asked us to put our fingers together, nails up in the air, and he whacked each one of us squarely on our fingernails with a ruler.

In other words, I associate “not being good enough” with pain and punishment.

OK, so I am not a child any more. Yet, each time someone criticizes me, these childhood fears of being painfully punished arise in my feelings. The net result is the same: I feel the pain of punishment from childhood and the feeling of not being good enough.

I Am Good Enough

In the Beyond Addiction Program I learned that those words, as well as the meanings and emotions attached to them, have nothing to do with me. I am not afraid of making a mistake – I can learn from my mistakes! I now believe that I am good enough and have a track record of accomplishments to prove it, if needed.

Do I still need to be judgmental? No. But as a long established demoting habit, I will likely persist in doing so. How do I change that demoting habit? By replacing it with a promoting habit! I will look at people and ‘see’ or ‘appreciate’ them as divinities. Or, at least, allow them to be human like me, faulty in their skills, clinging to their personality. Like me, they too are Divine Beings, Souls that are having a physical experience.

The days of not being good enough for others, which have coalesced into not being good enough for me, are over. I am good enough to take responsibility both for my successes and for my failures.

2 responses to “Reflections from a Beyond Addiction Support Group

  1. I find this very fascinating, I have been in recovery from addiction for half of my life. Learned how to stay clean function in society and move on out into the world. I’ve done the work, the steps, the self help. But still it’s always been there. I’ve never fully been successful at loving myself or implementing complete self care. Ive worked hard on myself and understand my esteem is low I struggle with depression and I am vulnerable and terrified to trust due to compounded negative outcomes, this has left me in a state of sorrow. I have found refuge in meditation and yoga but know I need something more. I am fascinated by this work, the little I know about it. Thank you

    1. Thank you for your response, Lyndon, and your candid sharing. I appreciate your honesty and acknowledgement of sadness.

      You might find the Beyond Addiction program helpful in connecting you to a community of people who are actively exploring the underlying beliefs and coping mechanisms that are linked to their addictive patterns, and ways to dismantle those. Upcoming programs can be found here http://beyondaddiction.ca/events/training-programs/

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