What I Have in Common with a Heroin Addict

I was watching Oprah’s Prime Special on Heroin Addiction a few weeks ago, (can you tell I love watching Oprah yet?) and I had a huge AHA moment. She was interviewing Russell Brand and what he said struck me at my core. Now before I let you in on my AHA moment, I want to be clear that I have no idea what it is like to be a heroin addict. I don’t pretend to understand what it is like but what he said gave me a glimpse into that world and instead of seeing drug addicts as being very different and separate from myself, I now feel a sense of connection.

Here is what Russell said: ” Addicts are sensitive people who are aware that there is a spiritual deficit in our society, that we aren’t connected enough to one another. If there isn’t a conduit for spiritual loss, then you will use drugs because you can’t live with that feeling.” He continues to say that we live in a culture that constantly stimulates the idea that there is something missing in you, like you might feel better if you get a new pair of shoes, or you find your soul mate. Heroin fills that void temporarily. It annihilates all need for anything else. One addict described the heroin high as “God kissing you”.

Russell said that the reasons he did drugs in the past weren’t for indulgent reasons, it was to numb the despondency, loss, hopeless and despair he felt. He looked to solve his internal problems with external things. Does that sound familiar to you? It struck a chord with me because I tried to fill the hole in me with serial achieving and at one point, clothes shopping, trying to make myself feel better and that I was good enough. I didn’t go down the path of drugs. I went down a different path but the underlying reason for the behaviour of looking outside of ourselves for the answer, for the cure, the external thing that will make us feel whole and connected, is the same. Russell also said that addicts relapse if they don’t deal with their emotional problems, their inner gremlins and fill that inner spiritual void. I can definitely see that. The answers we seek are always inside of us. It is just finding our way to them that we struggle with. I would likely still be serial achieving and striving if I hadn’t connected with my true self and started listening to my intuition. I would also still be judging and condemning myself instead of loving and accepting myself. Now I am so fortunate to be helping people connect with their true selves and helping them feel whole instead of empty or broken in some way.

We all just want to feel accepted, loved and connected. I agree with Russell when he said that we should be treating addicts with love and compassion instead of judging them and treating them like criminals by throwing them in jail. The punishment route doesn’t appear to be working so why are we continuing to address the problem in the same way? The root of the problem, feeling alone, not worthy, or important is an issue that is running rampant in our society. The symptoms just look different – drug addiction, alcoholism, over-eating, shopaholism, serial achieving, people pleasing, etc. Please understand that I am not trying in any way to diminish the seriousness of addiction by comparing it to other behaviours. I am only seeking to point out what the similar feelings and beliefs are that are driving those behaviours.

Ask yourself if you are looking outside of yourself for answers in areas of your life? If you are, how does it make you feel? Do you want to change that? How do you want to feel instead? If so, what can you do? If you are having trouble finding those answers within you, I would be happy to assist you in connecting with them. Visit my contact page here and reach out to me.

Be well and know that there is nothing missing or broken in you even if you feel that way. That I know for sure!

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