We can only tell the truth when we cease to identify with the part of ourselves we think we have to protect. -Ram Dass
Addiction is protection. Our addictions develop as a reaction to emotional pain. They serve us both as a surrogate for healthy connection to the world, as well as an attempt to navigate the void created by not having this connection. To properly recover from this dilemma, we must learn to face this void. Recovery is far more than just figuring out how to remove that to which we are addicted from our lives. To recover we must learn to tell the truth about our need for protection. We must learn to look behind the protective layers so that we can expose the underlying vulnerability that our addictions seek to emulate. We cannot simultaneously be vulnerable and protected, but we can learn to feel safe within our vulnerability if we approach it properly. But we can’t escape the need to learn about the parts of ourselves that once needed protecting. And we can’t escape the temporary discomfort involved in learning to safely expose the parts of ourselves that we had unconsciously committed to protecting. But once we learn to embrace this truth, we no longer require our addictions for protection.