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Being addicted to suffering is not a thing.
As many a mystic and sage have pointed out, suffering is our resistance to our pain, to our human experience.
What we become addicted to is trying to find our way out of our pain because it’s natural for us to not want to be in pain anymore.
The more trauma we have, the more likely it is that we suffer because part of suffering, part of being caught in loops of suffering, is living in a trauma culture that feeds off of itself.
We can become addicted to substances, shopping, scrolling or binge anything, even spiritual teachings or teachers, programs, books, tools, and methods that promise to take the edge off.
Until they don’t; then we think it is some personal failing on our end and we go in search of another way to sooth the pain, to take the edge off.
Our defensive strategies, like addiction, come when we need to, out of survival or out of the need to cope, build walls around our pain because we don’t know how to be with it, or we don’t feel safe to metabolize it.
Addiction (and codependency) is an outward focused thing. What outside of me can solve the problem of the pain inside of me? It can be a behavior, relationship dynamics, substances, teachers, beliefs, or ideas.
This is suffering.
To go within to find peace, often first we encounter our pain. So it’s not such a simple thing to just go within to find happiness or God or everlasting love.
When we land in our inner world, in our bodies that carry our subconscious mind, there is often pain.
Grief is what liberates us from our pain. It is what metabolizes our pain. It is what heals the trauma loops we unconsciously maintain out of a desire to find a way to relieve the root of our grief.
Grief frees us from our suffering.
Not spiritually transcending our pain.
Not repressing it.
Not affirming it away.
But, grieving the roots of our feelings of not having been loved; for what happened that we survived; how we survived ourselves, our disappointments, and mistakes; and our old identities and beliefs and defensive strategies that don’t work anymore.
When we use the word addiction to refer to our suffering, it gets into murky territory because our collective unconscious shames addicts and addiction, while at the same time, perpetuating it to profit off of it.
If we start to announce our “addiction to our suffering,” we risk repressing our pain and grief even more, seeing it as an aspect of ourselves that is a “victim” or such things—these things make us more wrong because we’ve internalized a lot of negative attitudes about grief and trauma.
We then become a victim to our repressed pain that is longing to resolve itself.
No one is addicted to suffering.
We are, as a collective though, addicted to trying to find our way out of suffering.
Grief liberates us not only from the shackles of our suffering, but metabolizes our pain and restores our connection to aliveness, truth, freedom, and what matters the most in this one wild and precious life.
It seems more compassionate to feel curious about the nature of our suffering rather than shaming it and shoving it aside, as though we need to rise above it.
There, in the suffering, lives a part of our Self that has been carrying our pain and the power of our genius for a long time.
It’s why we have such a mixed relationship with our power. It’s one of domination to avoid pain rather than beloved partnership with our total self.
When we feel curious about our suffering, we may discover a hidden grief there that opens us up to that thing in our lives we’ve been tirelessly efforting over while repressing the exact part of our nature that could fuel it endlessly.
We each have a hard thing.
We each have a wound that never heals.
It’s in the pain, in that grief, we endlessly resurrect ourselves more whole, more vital, more alive, and more and more of ourselves. Encountering this place frees us from our addiction to seeking relief—because what gives us the most relief is God.
We find God in the ache that never goes away.