You may not believe this is possible. It may be hard to grasp, now, that a life without this problem is really waiting for you just a few steps ahead. I wouldn't blame you for not seeing this; otherwise I wouldn't bother trying to convince you that addiction is involved here.
Whenever addiction runs the backstage of what is manifested as a problem, we cannot really conceive of the idea that a different reality is possible for us. This is an important part of the addiction: to live in an illusion that nothing will ever change in our favor. Addiction always presents itself as eternal, not because of the reasonable aspects (and there are some) but because the addiction is based on emotions and pain, and these, when they exist, leave you no room to see anything beyond them.
In fact, coming to realize that a problem can be ended and that what is bothering you now does not have to continue forever is part of the way to stop the vicious cycle between the silent emotional needs and the eventual disappointment.
A young child cannot grasp the concept of a future. For this little fellow, everything that happens now is the whole possible experience. Can you imagine that this kind of state of mind is still influencing you, once in a while, when you start feeling the uncomfortable aspects of your problem? Do you know that it is very hard, when we return to the same conflict and to the same frustration, to actually see a bright future? And do you know why? It is not because a bright future does not exist for you, but because you are addicted. This is a part of your condition that is based solely on an early state of mind which you probably prefer to believe you overcame many years ago.
Your answer may stem from a general approach of having a long (but limited) journey towards the point of "no-problem" regarding a certain issue. During this journey you will work and contribute your share to create a change. You will invest the effort required to learn and practice ways to get out of addiction.
Work will be your main bridge between your current situation and your next station in life, where this problem does not bother you anymore. "Work" can have many different associations and too many people misunderstand the message and the implication that this word should carry within it.
"Work" is something that you do in order to have something that you do not possess right now or in order to create a reality that does not exist at the moment. When we dig a hole we create a new situation, which changes the environment significantly. Work is the way for any change you can possibly think about. With no work, there can be no change to the current cycles with their rigid and old internal rules.
If you want out of your problem, you need to work. This is not a statement that is meant to "push" you or to make you feel like I am your "coach" who encourages you to do hard work. This is rather a pure and simple observation that work puts things in the right order. Your addiction is already "working" inside you, non-stop. If you want it to stop, you will need to create a counter-work that will shift the energy towards a different and more favorable place.
And this is what makes you different from a child. You can work and produce a change and you can also create, in your mind, a vision of a better future. This practice of envisioning is itself a mental work which you must constantly practice in order to keep it active.
Surprisingly, many people stay stuck due only to ignorance and misunderstanding of these two important realizations: 1) we need to work and 2) we need to learn how to clearly visualize a better future free of our problem.
As an experienced therapist, I do not fall off my chair when my clients finally accomplish a significant change. I do share their excitement and feel satisfied, but at the same time I realize that all we did was a work that brought people "home" where their natural ability to deal with their challenges creatively has been restored. An important part of my skills in helping people is based on my ability to visualize their better future and my understanding that this desired place can be achieved and already has been achieved, with many others, through the right work.
This is the most significant change you can go through on your way out of your problem. Once you manage to devote yourself to this learning process, of reading alternated with experimenting ideas in your reality, you will actually begin to sense the possibility of a future state where your problem says "goodbye," never to return again.
This is the optimal scenario and it goes far beyond the scope of this book. This is about you reaching a certain state of mind that looks into a point in the future and starts walking towards it, even if the exact path is not that clear. This is the moment where you say to yourself, "Yes, I am ready to work, even to work hard sometimes, in order to finish this business once and for all."
This desired state of mind is not something you must have right now. You may not be ready yet. However, reading these words is bringing you closer to that point, each time a bit more.
The next time that your addiction rears its ugly face in any form, whether it is a physical craving or mental message, interpret it as a warning flag, like a road sign that cautions you of danger up ahead.
The sign is trying to make you open your eyes to your surroundings, to be aware of the slippery slope you are about to head down. Rows upon rows of bright orange triangles will continue to irritate you, like that stubbornly repetitive problem, until you understand what they are telling you: work zone ahead.
You need to accept that work needs to be done in order to patch the holes in your life and create a better future. Start taking a look around; slow down, read the landscape and prepare for the upcoming work. Be cautioned that rushing under pressure to immediate action will not only yield nothing, but will also worsen the current condition.
All you need to accomplish now, and this is something you are surely capable of, is to put yourself in a state of mental readiness to work and train in visualizing a better future. You should approach this goal as something that can achieved by dedicated practice.
You know the old saying, "When the student is ready, the master appears." So for now, just work on improving your readiness as much as you can. The more you build up a passion to work your way out of the problem and the more you allow yourself, emotionally, to visualize the end of the problem (and this is not simple), the closer you get to a point where you finally meet your "master," the internal knowledge that walks you across that bridge.
Believe it or not, your Right-Brain is working constantly. Despite its vague reputation and its unclear direction, it is a very dedicated and heavy duty machine that has no rest. Your great challenge is to learn how to connect with this part of your mind and learn how to work with it, like two partners.
People who are justifiably proud of having an important change will many times report that they managed to discover, along their process, their own secret "formula," their own "winning method" that helped them make the impossible possible. This new and unique idea is the master you are looking for and all you need to do is to prepare yourself and get closer towards dedicating yourself to do continuous work. To not get discouraged and see how you are steadily approaching your goal, it will be important to periodically pick up an imaginary pair of binoculars that shows you the new kinds of possible scenarios regarding your problem.
Remember: your mental energy is being used, anyway, in some kind of "work" or struggle. All we want to do is to use the same amount of energy but direct it towards the good and the positive in order to yield better results.
For the last time, ask these three questions and forget about them. Answers will be delivered to your "home" in due time.