By the time you read this, Philip Seymour Hoffman will be buried, yet not forgotten. He was a brilliant actor who lived his passion by playing complex characters in exceptional, brilliant ways… and unfortunately died of a drug overdose. He joins Heath Ledger, Chris Farley, John Belushi and a long list of people who are loved and beloved, yet are internally in so much pain and suffering that the only answer is drugs, and the demon of addiction.
At the core of addiction are thoughts – thoughts with emotions that we interpret to mean something. Out of the meaning we make, we develop coping strategies to numb the pain, to seek relief, to find quiet from the internal noise, and to momentarily escape the world we have created.
For the last four years I have been working in recovery centers, doing workshops to help people break their addiction to chemicals like heroin, cocaine, alcohol, and meth. I assist them in their journey to self-acceptance, self-love, and finding themselves as they emerge from the pain of addiction. To do that, they often have to face the “demon” and take their power back. I have sat in front of more than 5,000 people as they get clean and create meaning in life again. The space of healing created is unique and powerful.
According to one of the articles written about Philip Seymour Hoffman, 100 people die every day from drug overdose, and it takes the death of a public figure to shine the light on a dark problem in our society. Heroin may have been the vehicle by which he was dealing with his pain, but the core issue is what he empowered that lead him to drugs in the first place: thoughts.
So where is the solution? It is through healing. Those who are able to identify and heal the places in their mind where unhealthy thoughts are generated create the ability to step into the potential to live without drugs. When they become aware of the stories they have created and see the roots of their pain, their perspective shifts. They learn to powerfully develop mindsets and take the power back from the dark monsters in their head.
As they do this, they step back into their natural space of self-acceptance and self-love. Our experiences in life take us out of that state – and often into a dark space. This does not have to be the place anyone lives; it can be a space to visit. With some work (often hard work), you can return to your natural state: peace, love, and presence.
This week, become aware of where your pain lives: it lives in thought. Just see it there. It sits right next to the joyful thoughts. Remember, you are always one thought away from well-being. The art is in the awareness; through this awareness, you can powerfully choose.
THANKS for who you are!
Contributed by Executive, Life and Spirituality Coach, Jim Pehkonen