Beware of the Powers of Passion and Addiction

The word addiction means craving and dependency. The word passion is generally interpreted to mean strong desire but originally, it meant to suffer. Put addiction and passion together and you have a dependency on that which makes you suffer.

The twin forces of addiction and passion often have roots in childhood. People who were sorely deprived of approval, nurturing, attention, security are inclined to develop a passionate desire for those things. The method used to obtain the object of desire can have an addictive effect.


Roger had rheumatic heart as a child. His over-protective mother kept him home after school, treated him as a weak invalid. Greatly frustrated and fighting against the image his mother held of him, he left home as soon as he could. He was passionate about proving his masculinity. Roger took jobs that involved hard, physical labor and risk-taking. He developed an addiction to dangerous adventures.

There are empty places in us that ignite passionate cravings. We become addicted to anything that promises to fill the empty places and ease our pain. We look outside for what’s lacking inside. We develop a passion for power, fame, money, material goods with attendant addictions. Common addictions include smoking, sex, drugs, alcohol, work, food, gambling, shopping, the internet, possessions, but there are countless others.

Passion and addiction are powerful forces. They release chemicals in the brain that excite and motivate us. The lustful passion felt at the outset of romantic relationships releases chemicals that have effects similar to cocaine and heroin, and are just as addictive. So-called love addicts love to be in love but never are. They want the lusty passionate feeling, not the person. Of course, the high doesn’t last — no high does — so another must be found to feed the addiction.

Those who have been deprived of love as children often believe they are unworthy of it. As much as they long for it, they cannot accept it. Some have sexual relationships but no intimate ones. Others drive partners away when they get too close. Some avoid personal relationships altogether. People who were physically abused as children may be addicted to abusive partners because they believe that’s the price they must pay for love.

The problem is not past experiences, but beliefs resulting from them. Our minds seek, find and produce what we believe not what we want. We attract relationships and experiences that reinforce unconscious beliefs — not conscious desires. That is why addictions exacerbate problems rather than solve them. In the case of Roger, the adventure seeker, his risk-taking eventually resulted in injuries that incapacitated him. He was a weak invalid once more.


1. Fill in the blank: I am a _______________aholic.

EXAMPLES: Workaholic, alcoholic, foodaholic, controlaholic, healthaholic. (Anything can become an addiction — family, belief systems, games, hobbies, clothes, books).

2. What need does your addiction satisfy?

EXAMPLES: Work makes me feel important, worthwhile, needed. Alcohol/drugs make me feel happy, carefree. Food comforts me. Control makes me feel strong, safe. Health makes me feel ageless.

Your answers are your passions…what you really crave.

Addictions are deceptive, debilitating ways to meet honest desires and needs. If our means of acquiring what we believe we lack is not self-enriching, it will eventually be self-defeating and diminishing. If we are dependent upon something outside ourselves to be happy or feel good, we forfeit our power and potential for true growth.

Lucy was an alcoholic. Without the inhibition freeing effects of alcohol, Lucy was shy, introverted and, in her words, ‘gutless.’ With a few drinks under her belt, she was outgoing and fun, an adventurer. So she thought. When her friends staged an intervention, she discovered that they didn’t see her that way. What they saw was a sloppy, silly drunk whose behavior was careless and at times dangerous.

Lucy was using alcohol to compensate for shyness rather than face the causes and learn healthy ways to overcome them. With the help of rehab and counseling, Lucy learned that her shyness was actually a mask over an inferiority complex. She didn’t like the ugly facts about herself, but she did have to accept them in order to overcome them.

If a person is to get the meaning of life he must learn to like the facts about himself — ugly as they may seem to his sentimental vanity — before he can learn the truth behind the facts. Eugene O’Neill


Self-discovery is an exciting journey but not an easy one. We are not going to like everything we learn about ourselves. There are ugly emotions within human beings. If we’re honest, we will find them within ourselves. We all have a strong streak of selfishness. We manipulate to get what we want. We can be controlling, judgmental, self- righteous and insensitive.

We try to keep our dark side locked away. Looking at the hidden self is like opening a closet we think holds dark and scary forces. But when the door opens, all that happens is dust escapes and junk falls out.

What do you crave and why? What is the feeling you want or the pain you are trying to kill?

From Healing Feelings

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