Dr. Gabor Maté on Attachment and Addiction

When it comes to addiction, I’m going to introduce the word ‘attachment’ to you. Attachment is an interesting word, because it has two meanings. If you want to talk in terms of negatives and positives, it has the negative meaning of clinging, or craving, or grasping onto ideas, behaviours, substances, relationships, or situations that are negative for us. In fact, that’s the definition of addiction; any behaviour that gives you temporary pleasure, relief, that you crave, that you cling to despite negative consequences, is an addiction. In other words, addictions are a form of what the Buddhists call attachment. We’re just too attached, or we’re attached period. Whenever it talks about clinging or attachment, it’s to everything; our form, our bodies, our flesh, our ideas, our perceptions, and our relationships. It’s …

Dr. Gabor Maté on “Life is a Conversation”

Life is a conversation. Life is a conversation that begins the moment you’re conceived, and as soon as you’re conceived the world sends information your way. The nature of that information, how it’s delivered, how you receive it, how you interpret it, and how you respond - that’s your life. So life is a conversation. We tend not to perceive that; we tend to think that life just happens to us, when really it’s a responsive, interactive process which we create. But we don’t realize that we create it; we don’t realize that we’re the source. There’s a good reason that we don’t realize it. We don’t realize it because how we create it, what we create it from, is determined by so many influences that predate our conception, so it’s much …

Dr. Gabor Maté Speaks About Trauma

  The essence of trauma is that, as a result of the overt abuse or neglect, or because of the relational trauma, we lose the connection to our essence. That’s what the trauma is. The trauma is not what happened; the trauma is not that I was raped, the trauma is not that I was abandoned, the trauma is not that I was hit, the trauma is not that my parents didn’t know how to listen to me. That’s not the trauma; the trauma is that, as a result of that, I lost the connection to myself. Hence, I lost the connection to my essential qualities: my joy, my vitality, my clarity, my wisdom, my power, my strength, my courage. That’s the trauma! The good news is, THAT can be healed, because if …

What is Addiction and How Do We Stop?

What is Addiction? Perhaps, like me, you've indulged in some unhealthy habits over the holidays that were or still are difficult to stop. Does this mean you are addicted? My nemesis was the shortbread cookies. Thankfully they are all gone. What was yours? When we are addicted, we surrender a piece of our autonomy to a substance or behaviour that then has power over our feelings, thoughts and actions, with negative consequences. Addiction is the strong physical, emotional and/or psychological dependence on a substance or behavior (such as alcohol, drugs, sugar, coffee, gambling, sexual obsession, shopping, overwork, exercise, the internet, Facebook, video games or television) that has progressed beyond voluntary control. All addictions arise from uncontrolled thought patterns and unmet needs. Addiction can be a chronic and progressive condition, with genetic, neurobiological, …

Goodbye, Addiction

  When we have a dependency on an addictive substance or habit, we often romanticise this relationship. We confer power and affection to the substance or behaviour. We make up excuses why it is good for us, why we should continue. We might say, “It helps me relax,” “I am more creative when I use”, “It helps me connect to my spirit”, “It is there for me when no one else is”, “It takes away my pain”, “It gives me energy”, “It is my best friend”, “It soothes me”, “It helps me forget”, “It allows me to escape”, “It fills the emptiness inside”, "It gives me a sense of control". While this may be our experience in the moment, addiction is not a true friend. The feeling or relief doesn’t last. The …

Teaching the Beyond Addiction Program at the Vitanova Foundation in Woodbridge

I love Monday mornings … I hear excited and happy greetings from clients at the Vitanova Foundation addiction recovery facility where I teach yoga, while I am still in the driveway getting out of my car. Their smiles, excitement, and anticipation of another subtle or great shift in their awareness, welcomes me … what a rewarding way to start my day. I feel very blessed to be able to share Kundalini Yoga with people who are working so diligently on their recovery. Vitanova is a long term addiction recovery facility located in Woodbridge, Ontario. I have been privileged to teach the Beyond Addiction program there in the format of weekly 1.5 hour classes since 2011. As I interact with Vitanova clients each week during their six month residency, I gratefully witness the positive …