As young children we were largely under the control and influence of others, but as adults, what we consume tends to match our emotional state.
My primary substance right now is food. I crave refined & processed foods when an emotion pops up that I don’t want to face or feel.
As children we are all trained from the beginning that many of our feelings are not acceptable. In reality they are, but we are taught that they are not. We have been conditioned by others’ looks of disapproval or words of ridicule and shame. For most of us, also by physical violence (euphemistically called “discipline”).
So we learned to suppress our feelings, to hide them, to lie about them. We felt much grief and fear from the way our parents and the rest of the world responded to us feeling our feelings and we learned that many of them were taboo to feel.
So we turned to many various methods of suppressing, ignoring, denying and hiding our true feelings (our true selves) as a method of survival. We began engaging in many emotionally co-dependent relationships and interactions with other people, and we began using various physical methods to cover over our true emotional state.
My physical addictions have been food, soda, coffee, alcohol, cigarettes, illegal drugs, lots of parties and nights at the bars.
I eventually got sick of all the partying and gave up alcohol, drugs and cigarettes.
Then I noticed the unpleasant effects of coffee and soda and gave those up too.
Food is the last holdout for me. My diet is far healthier than ever (mostly whole plant foods) but I still sometimes feel needy for unhealthful refined and processed foods, which by now I know is an unerring indicator of avoiding an emotion.
More so these days, I’m willing to experiment, to go ahead and feel, to be uncomfortable, to cry and feel the pain that arises in my gut or heart or throat. I notice that when I do this, the cravings don’t pop up. There’s no need.
I’m learning to have compassion with myself when I don’t want to feel but at the same time I’m interested in growing a will to feel more.
I believe that the more we are willing to feel, the more we can heal, and the less we feel desperate to indulge in unhealthful, fleeting pleasures in order to avoid feeling. I believe it’s our best method for becoming able to be who we really are, the very best version of ourselves.