The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master.
-Robin Sharma

An often overlooked quality that underlies the promise of addictions is its calming effect on our minds. There is nothing that will determine the quality of our daily experience of life more than the relationship we have to the never-ceasing stream of thoughts that underlies our consciousness. The potential of the human mind is vast and is ultimately the source of our emotional comfort level at any given moment. Addictions are an attempt to control the mind, acting as a short-cut toward mental comfort. Simply taking away the substances or changing destructive behaviors in our lives is not the key to leaving our addictive patterns behind. If our mental lives are still uncomfortable after we have discarded our addictions, then we must learn about the nature of the mind and figure out ways to create relief through changing our relationship to it. The mind is the ultimate source of great pain, great joy, and everything in between, whether we temporarily manipulate it with mind-altering compounds or learn to change our relationship to it through exploration and practice. But whatever we do, we must honor the fact that if our minds don’t serve us, we will inevitably serve them.

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