If we are to reverse addictive behavior, we must begin to challenge the fundamental concepts of the ego:
Guilt: Guilt is the belief that we have done something wrong, bad, and unforgivable. Guilt is based upon the belief that the past is inescapable and determines the future.
Shame: As guilt increases, we not only believe that we have done something bad, we begin to believe that we are bad.
Fear: Because of guilt and shame and resulting feelings that we have done something wrong and are something wrong, we then become plagued with a fear of punishment. For some this translates into the fear of God, for others this manifest itself in the belief that they do not deserve love.
Guilt, shame and fear do a war dance together that leaves us with anxiety and feelings of emptiness, incompleteness, and hopelessness.
The ego keeps us from examining itself too closely by making us believe that guilt and shame are so strong and pervasive that we could not possibly get beyond them.
Because of fear we run from looking within ourselves, and we begin to look to people, places, activities, and possessions for our happiness. It is in this external search for peace of mind that the ego pushes us towards our first steps in addiction.
Guidelines to Follow in Getting to Know Myself Better:
- When I am focusing on differences, it is often because I am afraid of something in myself.
- Dwelling on differences creates distance and increases fear.
- Concentrating on commonalitites develops compassion and understanding, while increasing love.
- When I am judging another person, it is a good indication that it is time to look at what I am denying about myself.
- When I become attached to fixing or changing another person, I am entering into a world of dependency or addiction by seeing my happiness as dependent on another person's behavior.
Lee Jampolsky - Healing the Addictive Mind