Barefoot discusses addiction and how to free yourself from it if you need to

Transcript of video

Addiction is intrinsic to being alive. All nature addicts itself to its own forms. So like a flower addicts itself to be the shape of being a flower, we addict ourselves to the set of coordinates that we set up in which to frame the story that we’re telling ourselves. None of us really exist as we think we do. We’re collections of thought habits, thoughts that addict themselves into a shape. So addiction in itself is not a bad thing.

Secondly when we look at the substances we tend to addict ourselves to, they are generally poison. Now poison isn’t necessarily bad. In fact it’s quite clear from its use that we need poison to some extent. It’s the thing that gives it all a bit of grit, otherwise it becomes a bit too blancmangy. It’s just how much of the poison you use.

And it develops from a compact you make with yourself and the poison, some kind of agreement that you set up at a certain point in your life that you will devote yourself to the intake of this poison come what may to the level that you decided to do it and therefore begin I would suggest by examining the compact, the contract you’ve made and changing it. Everyone’s allowed to change the compact.  

For example, I used to love single malt whisky. And I made a compact with myself that from now on I am no longer obliged to continue using that medicine because I was over using it and it was poisoning me. And instead I made a contract with myself to find the warmth that I felt in my chest and the increase of self-confidence that that gave me and the love that I feel from everyone around me, I would access that naturally from with him because obviously these were qualities I could find within me.

So whatever your particular poison, or poisons you’re addicting yourself to, look at the contract, change the contract and change it to one where you will either completely replace that stimulus to get the desired effect or reduce the amount you use it to get that effect and rely on accessing the effect from within you naturally just by will, because we can. It just takes a little bit of practice and it’s not as physically spectacular, there's nothing like a sudden shift of feeling that you get when you drink, or take drugs, or do whatever, but over time, which is what counts, it develops the feeling that you've been looking for in the substance.

The Native American style is to talk to the spirit of the substance and pray to it to release you. That's anthropomorphizing things, it’s just words and depends on your mood at the time.

The other thing that the Taoists suggest - and again this is not trying to answer the question in one, this is a huge subject, there is no glib response to it that would satisfy and I wouldn’t trust one that said it was either - you only have so much time and mental focus on any given day and the more of it you devote to healthy addictions, the less of it you'll have available to devote to the unhealthy addiction. So for example, suppose you were to do yoga, tai chi, qigong, something that would change your state naturally as a daily discipline, at least for the time you were doing that, and maybe for a short while after, and maybe for a little while before, you wouldn't be inclined to indulge the other addiction as much. And over time the balance changes. And at the very least, by doing something constructive like that, you’re strengthening yourself to offset the pernicious effects of whatever poison you’re taking.

Right now though, if I was going to be looking at dropping an addiction, I think I would start by talking to the spirit of the substance and having a proper good conversation and negotiating an exit or a change of levels of abuse.

Barefoot Doctor 2020