Summary of some of Gabor Mate's Wisdoms on Addiction

In Latin, the word addiction means slave. And we all know in some way how we can easily becomes slaves to the object or substance of our addiction. Addictions happen when we are out of touch with our inner selves.


An addiction is anything gives momentary relief and satisfaction from our suffering, however it creates more pain and suffering. Then we become caught in a cycle that takes us deeper into self soothing with the addictive behavior or substance and deeper into pain. We lose our ability to stop this cycle. It is usually trauma based and or insufficient bonding and attachment, leading to cravings that is the foundation for addictions. By creating an attachment to a substance or a behavior we cannot possibly satisfy our deep needs for true relationship with self and other.

All substances of addictions are pain killers. However, both physical pain and emotional pain the suffering is experienced in the same part of the brain. So when people suffer emotional rejection, the same part of the brain will light up (become activated) when there is emotional pain as if the person had been physically assaulted in some way.


Ekert Tolle: Addictions begin with pain and end with pain.


All addictions are attempts to soothe pain. When wanting to understand the addiction, the question to ask is where has the pain come from…. A loss or a trauma of some kind.

Sexual addictions, internet, relationship, shopping, work, gambling or others. These are all attempts to get away from distress….food addictions.


All the contortions we can go through just to not be ourselves, why would we not want to be ourselves? Usually, we are in too much distress and pain.


Tibetan book of Living and Dying…. “whatever you do don’t try to escape from your pain… but be with it… “ The attempt to escape pain is what creates more pain.


We can step out of this cycle basically only in the vessel of compassion. “Only when compassion is present, will people be able and allow themselves to see the truth”. Then it becomes possible to experience your pain without having to run away from it.


Our society is always about instant relief, quick satisfaction, distraction… the quick getaway. Being with our pain enables us to get to know what our pain is actually about and then to receive the needed support to bring resolution to it.


The more adverse the childhood experiences/traumas, the more likely that a person will experience an addiction later in life. However, even seemingly less traumatic experiences can also pull someone to addictions.

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