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How to Let Go of Shame and Addiction | Living with More Simplicity & Presence

Today I want to talk about how to let go of shame and addiction and how living with more simplicity and presence can help us recover.

Something I’ve witnessed in myself and others I’ve talked to is that those of us who get worked up over the details or are really hard on ourselves often struggle with addiction.

I often see perfectionism and addiction go hand-in-hand - in other words a propensity to expect too much of ourselves and to feel very worried about mistakes - I know I’m that way and it drove much of the addiction in my life - maybe you can relate.

So, I want to talk more about how this works - why we get so worked up over little things and how this leads to addiction. And then to talk about how we can stop doing this so we can start working out of addiction.

Because addiction, at the end of the day, is not about stopping the behavior - it is about changing your mental state by working through emotional obstacles, feeling more peace, and becoming closer to God and those around us.

For more addiction help, learn the keys to quit porn with this Simple 8-Page Guidebook.

Or listen to my Addiction Recovery Story or check out my Calming Forgiveness Meditation

Link to this Podcast Episode

How Comparison Drives Shame and Addiction

So, let’s start by talking about how we get caught in this cycle of shame and addiction - how perfectionism can get the better of us, we can get too caught up in the little things, be too hard on ourselves, and this leads us to the behavior of addiction - which is only a symptom of the underlying mental state.

Comparison is one of the main drivers of shame. This is because it pulls on the strings of our perception of self-worth. When we question our self-worth, it can lead us to feel shame and seek out destructive behaviors like addiction.

If we have a healthy knowledge of self-worth - knowing we are flawed and have many weaknesses, but we accept them - then we can be resilient against things like addiction cravings.

When we compare ourselves to others - whether we feel less or more - it brings us a negative mental state. It takes our mind out of our natural state of presence and peace, and into a state of stress and negativity.

When we feel this stress and negativity, we are prone to addiction.

These days, with the internet, media, etc. we are all more connected than ever. But, being more connected, we have plenty of opportunities to compare ourselves to others. It used to be that we could only compare ourselves to those in our immediate community, or people that crossed our path. Now, we can compare ourselves to so, so many people we know nothing about. We simply see their life, their talents, and feel either superior or inferior.

Again, this takes us away from a state of peace and well-being. It also can impair our ability to focus on those around us - the people who really matter that we can actually build relationships with. As long as we are stuck focusing on people we know little about, and comparing ourselves to them, we forget what is truly important and right before us.

How to Replace Shame and Addiction with Simplicity & Presence

There are many ways to decrease the shame and addiction we feel and start feeling more peace and presence.

To get deeper into this, I recommend listening to the podcast episode above. But here are a few ways:

  1. Stop and listen: The addict mind relies on chaos to keep it in fear and craving. Take time to be still and listen. Put your phone down, place everything else on hold, and just breathe. This will help increase your presence and build a habit overtime or slowing down.

  2. Get outdoors: There is a spiritual presence in nature - it connects us more deeply to ourselves, God, and the planet. The addict brain relies on isolation and disconnection. Being outside can help us feel a greater sense of connection to the whole.

  3. Don’t sweat the small stuff…and it’s all small stuff: This can be really hard for a lot of us. But I think that the addict part of us wants us to stress about all of the little things in life. This gives it an excuse to self-sabotage, stress out, and seek out addiction. Simply reminding ourselves that this life is part of an eternal path, and that all things ultimately are small and can be resolved, or let go, can help us feel more peace and be less prone to addiction.

  4. Let go of everything you think you need to be: Again, a hard one. But in order to overcome shame, we need to accept that we are enough. We need to accept that we are who we are, not someone else. We have weaknesses, strengths, and we have a limit of what we can take on. This doesn’t give excuse to give up, but simply to focus on the things that are more important - this moment and the person by our side - and forget about all of the other things our ego thinks are so important.

  5. Pray and meditate every day: To overcome addiction I believe we have to have a spiritual connection to God. Now, I know everyone has a different opinion on who/what God is, and that’s okay. All the same, we need to pray and meditate - get in touch with the spiritual realm and seek to feel the peace that is within us and around us. If we do not do this on a regular basis, sobriety can be nearly impossible to achieve.

  6. Get off of social media: Social media is quite frankly a cess-pool of comparison and “disconnected connection” as I like to call it. It trains our brain to compare more and connect less. If you are on it 2 hours a day, try replacing just 30 minutes of that time doing something else you enjoy such as going on a walk, calling a friend, listening to a family member, or spending time with a hobby.

  7. Watch less TV. Play less video games: I love TV. I also used to play a lot of video games. I watch less TV these days and I had to give up video games. These things teach our subconscious mind how to think, and they are often WAY more stimulating and entertaining than all of the normal, mundane things we experience in daily life. They condition us to pleasure. Again, decrease the amount of time you spend on them just a little at a time by replacing that time with something more healthy for your mind or body. Do this, and more and more you will see your mental state improve.

Now, am I saying doing these things will make life sunshine and rainbows? No. I still struggle with OCD, anxiety, and depression to this day. And that’s okay. The point is that my life is better. I’m sober. And you can have the same thing.

I hope these things help you learn how to let go of shame and addiction, compare less, and live with more peace.

For more addiction help, learn the keys to quit porn with this Simple 8-Page Guidebook.

Or listen to my Addiction Recovery Story or check out my Calming Forgiveness Meditation.

Much love.

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