Adapted from an article by LORAINE COUTURIER
I have a friend who is an addiction counselor for teens.
She got a tattoo that would be a reminder to her that her compulsion to take on risky behaviors and feed her own addictions were there.
While addiction is a strong word, most of us have some form of this beast ruling some aspect of our lives.
My particular addiction is chocolate. When the addiction wants it, my control is lost.
Even those things that are good for you, when done for the wrong reasons, aren’t that good at all. It is the compulsion to cover up the pain that the beast is responsible for. These things can start as habits and morph into something far worse, like addiction.
This part of our psyche where our desires lie is where the beast lives. The beast is in all of us one way or another. It is often used in addiction recovery as an explanation for why it is so hard for an addict to stop using. We can also use the word “compulsion” to describe what happens to us. Compulsion is described as an irresistible urge to behave in a certain way, especially against one’s conscious wishes.
There are a variety of reasons the beast in us is triggered, but the core of it is a lack of fulfillment.
My Beast’s Appetite
My beast demanded chocolate or sugar of any kind. Whenever the thought of my ex would come up or a feeling of danger arose, I would look for chocolate to comfort me. I wouldn’t even think about it; I would just grab the nearest chocolate concoction in my cupboard (always fully stocked of course) and mindlessly shovel handfuls into my mouth. When happiness felt futile, I would feed my beast instead. I didn’t want to touch upon the true pain of my losses or the past trauma.
I know this now; I am wise to it. I feel the beast in me, and, instead of feeding it, I remain present in my body. I listen to the parts that hurt. I let the tears flow out of me. I allow myself to feel angry and then release it. It helps to meditate often and, even better, to meditate right at the moment we sense the beast needs feeding. Even with this awareness, sometimes the beast wins and a bag of chocolate chips disappear.
Tara Brach says that when we have addictions and attachments, it’s a telltale sign we’ve left home. We fixate on energies outside of us and have moved away from our own heart.
Taking a moment to see where we’re stuck instead of feeding that beast will help to reduce its hold on us. We have to be willing to pay attention. The further we go down our own spiritual path, the more we will find the dark places where we have blocked energy. Do this, and the beast pesters us less and less.
Will we have to go through some hard emotions? Probably, but at least some weird little dude inside our psyche isn’t calling the shots during our times of vulnerability.
Desire: The Root of the Beast
Desire has many different manifestations. It can be food, sex, self-realization, and so much more. Essentially, it can be anything we yearn for. We yearn for it because, ultimately, we want to feel safe and happy. The things we feel when we are “home” are what we’re really after.
When our needs aren’t met, we become more obsessed with whatever we desire. It becomes our focus. The addict lives to obtain, do, and come down from whatever substance they’re addicted to. It’s a priority, and nothing else matters. When our needs aren’t met and we don’t try to find the core of why they aren’t met, it can lead to addictive behaviors with anything.
Quieting the Beast
To admit we have a beast and that it feeds on certain habits, compulsions, addictions, and behaviors is a huge step toward putting it to rest.
Tara Brach has beautifully explained how we can quiet our beast. The things we do under its control aren’t healthy, and we’re never getting to the heart of our issues.
This little beast in our psyche isn’t there without reason. He was summoned because we were hurt, lost, confused, scared, and let the scar remain with us.
Every time it rears its ugly head, we have an opportunity to start looking within to see what’s really going on.