Freedom, that's what I want...
A major difficulty we all experience is addiction. "I don't drink", or "I don't take drugs" you may say, because these are what we usually think of when someone mentions the word addiction. But do you get upset when you aren't able to watch your favorite TV show? Do you feel like you have to check your email several times a day? If your girlfriend doesn't call do you get tense waiting for her? Do you get upset if your dinner isn't on time? These are all signs of addiction. An addiction is something that isn't physically necessary, but leads to negative emotional states when the thing we are addicted to isn't supplied. Some of us are addicted to schedules, some of us are addicted to being in control. Some of us are addicted to reading. Some of us are addicted to watching new movies.Are these addictions bad for you? In the short run most people would say no. In the long run are they bad for you? Yes. They limit your freedom, decrease awareness, lead to negative emotions, and decrease happiness. Is it easy to get rid of an addiction? No, its not. If anyone tells you otherwise they are lying or unaware of what they are talking about.
When you are addicted to something, you believe it is necessary to your well-being. To get rid of the addiction, you have to change this belief. The first step in this process is to detach yourself from the negative emotion that the addiction creates when it is not satisfied. We all have thoughts and emotions. That is part of being a conscious being.
Unfortunately, we also identify with our thoughts and emotions. When we feel tension when our desires aren't satisfied, we say "I am tense" rather than "I feel tense". If we feel fear we say "I am afraid" rather than "I experience the emotion of fear". The difference may appear to be small, but it is not. When said the first way, we identify with the emotion, making it a part of ourselves. When said the second way, we see the emotion as an experience, but not as part of us. We detach ourselves from it. We still feel it, but since we are not identifying with it, we have gained in awareness and freedom. So whenever you feel a negative emotion, tell yourself "I feel anger", not "I am angry". "I feel tense", not "I am tense". I am not saying that you shouldn't feel the emotion. All emotions are valid, and we experience them. We are not our emotions, though.
The second step is to detach yourself from the positive emotion that the experience creates. This is even harder than stopping the identification with negative emotions, but it is necessary to stopping the addiction process. Yes, we all feel happy at times, we feel joyous, we feel contentment, we feel comfortable. But we are not these feelings They are experiences that enter and leave our awareness, but they are not us. Again, they are perfectly valid experiences and you don't want to repress them, but don't identify with them.
As I said earlier, this process is hard, but it is worth it. For every addiction that you are able to release, every belief that you need something you are able to change to the belief that you enjoy something, but don't need, you have won that one more bit of freedom and self-awareness. You have attained that one more bit of true happiness.