If all things can somehow be used for good, what good can come from an addiction?
It’s easy to see the downside of addiction: It can be mind-boggling to overcome because it’s cunning, baffling, and powerful. But what about the power that comes from releasing that addiction?
One answer is obvious: If you manage to extricate yourself from your own addiction, you can guide other people by sharing your story. (Actually, this is true if you escape or not. Some of the most compelling stories I’ve ever heard came from people who were still using their drug of choice.)
A great analogy for me is that of a heartbreaking relationship. What good can come from being deserted by the person you love most?
It happens every day and to everyone. Who hasn’t been rejected by a friend or lover who we idolized, whose good opinion meant everything to us, and who devastated us simply because they didn’t recognize in us the same thing we thought we saw in them?
What results is a perilous loss of self-esteem, as with addiction. Life loses its spark, and we ruminate on what we lacked that would have earned this person’s love.
And as with addiction, we blame ourselves.
For a brief time in my early twenties, I gave my power to someone I barely knew, really. But I bestowed upon him the keys to the kingdom. I decided that he was what I wanted, despite evidence suggesting that this was not a match made in heaven.
I’d been on the other side of relationships, and often wondered how someone could be so devastated after a break-up. Why was it such a huge deal?
I was taught why, as life tends to teach us what we need to learn.
The man who didn’t love me committed no crime except to realize that I was not the woman he was destined to spend the rest of his life with. He was right. But because I had made him the arbiter of all that was worthy, his rejection signaled to me my total lack of worth.
And even though the circumstances were largely beyond my control, I struggled to make sense of what had happened. The mind seeks reasons, which the ego is happy to supply.
To start with, I’d never lost the weight I’d been planning to lose for years. I didn’t have my shit together, and sometimes drank too much. But what really happened is that subconsciously I felt powerless in the relationship. And with this loss of power, I became someone else — someone over-emotional and easily hurt. I checked my confidence at the door, and never got it back.
By having my sense of self shaken, I was forced to confront how easy it is to feel unloved by the world. To give your good opinion of yourself to other people. To let the world tell you who you are.
What I know now is that this relationship was not a failure; it was an invitation. Through it, and other life experiences, I learned to forgive myself and love myself completely.
What took me years to discover — having later given my power to another lover, alcohol — is that my worth comes from a source that dispels all self-doubt. I am a child of God, and my strength comes from a universe blessed by my presence. Seeing this in myself makes it easier to love other people wholly, seeking to forgive their shortcomings as I do my own.
I know absolutely that I am completely worthy of love, and that knowledge has helped me create a world that reflects this love back to me.
And I know absolutely that you are as worthy of love as I am.
“ … I begin to remember the Love I chose to forget, but which has not forgotten me.”
A Course in Miracles, Lesson 60