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Overcoming Addiction and Discovering the Spiritual

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Experience submitted by Jon Alswinn

People talk about willpower to overcome addictive habits. As I generally had what I thought was good discipline (when I wanted), I believed I could use this and give up any of my harmful addictions at any point. But there was something deeper that I didn’t quite understand until I read The Peace of the Spirit Within by Belsebuub.

Re-connecting with Divinity

Reading about the divine essence within each of us made me deeply repentant for how I was living my life and the wrong I had done.

Through the simple practice of awareness in the present moment (which Belsebuub explains in the video below) I was able to experience the consciousness and strengthen it. I had spontaneously felt this at various times previously, particularly in nature, but hadn’t really known how to bring it back. With the practices from Belsebuub’s book, now I knew.

Feeling the spiritual within a few times by practicing awareness and praying was enough to encourage me to make the concrete decision to dedicate to the practices sincerely and with discipline. I knew I had to give up all the detrimental things and addictions that had become so much a part of me. So with determination, that’s exactly what I did. I set a day to begin to really go for spiritual change, and essentially resolved to completely give up all my harmful addictions.

Overcoming Addictions

Every time an urge to feed one of my addictions came up, I practiced awareness. I simply came to the present moment through the five senses and began to observe and be detached from the thoughts and emotions associated with those addictions. With many aspects, it was like I had a physical urge to actually go and partake in the addictive activity. Thoughts came up of the pleasurable outcome. The addictions were as strong as ever, and these hooks persistent, but now I was beginning to observe them rather than go along with them.

It wasn’t easy – but I had faith in my divine parents, and having felt what the consciousness was like, it really seemed like it was possible to make the change a reality. Another really important factor for me at that time was reading people’s experiences on the websites presenting Belsebuub’s work. They were just ordinary people who had wanted to change and actually had. In that way, I really wanted to be like them!

The chains of the addictions I had were being broken and replaced with spiritual activities I learned from Belsebuub’s work.

I filled my days with completing duties in awareness, whether cleaning the house, cooking, eating, going to university, reading, and when I didn’t have a particular task to do I would go for long awareness walks, chant mantras (often just the five vowels), do simple meditation practices like concentration on the heart, and so on. My goal with these practices was to be clear of the egos – and they worked. Mantras in particular had a strong impact, generating a very nice vibration and stillness within.

I made sure I kept active with one thing or another, as I found that if I wasn’t doing anything the negative inner states could come on quite strongly.

To my amazement, as the days passed I began to feel this kind of joy simply in being alive. I realized how much of a gift it is to have a body and exist in a world of so much possibility. To have an ordered life, neat and clean house, meaningful conversations – just that made things worthwhile. My general state was also very uplifted as my surroundings were put in order, and inside I felt this kind of positive energy in my whole body.

Of course, the darkness within was still there, and often the heavy emotions got the better of me. Usually this happened through a persistent thought that wouldn’t go away, and if I let it carry on, it would generate more and more negative thoughts and scenarios until my state was very low and depressed. I made many mistakes (and still do!), but I learned one of the most important things which is that mistakes are one of our greatest teachers. It was the hope of correcting them and removing the egos that drove me on.

I knew at any point I could pray to my divine parents for strength, understanding, and guidance to overcome the challenges I was facing, and that help would be given. It’s been great to know that we’re never truly alone! Much of the help was through clear positive spiritual dreams which gave me encouragement, such as flying in brightly lit nice outdoor scenes, being shown spiritual symbols, or meeting spiritual beings. Often these experiences came when I was feeling down and gave me a real boost to keep going.

Through consistent practice I could now see two sides of myself clearer within – one being the peace of consciousness, and the other the turmoil of egos, worries, emotional drives, etc. When the awareness and consciousness was strong, there was no thought or urge to feed any addiction – there was just a nice peaceful feeling. That peace has been the benchmark for my efforts ever since.

To this day I still believe any addiction can be given up at any point with enough willpower. But for me I needed something more than just an idea that life would be better without them. It was the experience of the consciousness and love of the divine Father and Mother, which gave me the incentive to make the wholehearted step to begin to change.

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29 comments
  • Thank you for posting this experience. It’s what I needed to read right now. Some of the things you mentioned stood out, especially about the addiction being seemingly a physical need and the stream of thoughts in the mind. I found what Belsebuub says about overcoming lust (not to feed it) useful on how to approach addictions (and egos) in general.

    What you said about activity is something I am looking into now, “I made sure I kept active with one thing or another, as I found that if I wasn’t doing anything the negative inner states could come on quite strongly.” I know that it helps to be active particularly in helping others. Doing things that help others in a spiritual sense somehow goes against negativity, a bit like creating a shield against it.

  • Thanks Jon, I really enjoyed reading your experience. It’s great that you made the effort to shared your understanding with us. I got a lot out of it.

  • Thank you for sharing your journey, Jon. I was really peaceful and reflective to read somehow. I’ve had to give up some things cold turkey before, just with the basic understanding that they’re not doing me good, but I agree with you that having a wider and more meaningful perspective, and a deeper understanding of what’s really at stake, is best in the long run.

  • Hi, Jon. It helped me very much to read your experience, so thank you for sharing it here. Just reflecting on it these past few days has been strengthening.

    I think being single-minded about using the opportunity for uncovering what is, in a way, manipulating us and working beneath the surface is great motivation.

    I wondered if you felt that perhaps you wouldn’t have been able to overcome the strength of the addictions if you hadn’t done it, sort of, cold turkey? You say, “I set a day to begin to really go for spiritual change, and essentially resolved to completely give up all my harmful addictions.” Did you have setbacks and how did you work through them?

    Somehow, somewhere within, I know it’s a matter of willpower. Seems the hard part is mustering enough of it to avoid the hooks. It also feels like guarding thoughts throughout the day is key, because when I miss things, the impulse to give in to the addictive activity comes around so much stronger than before, or at least it feels that way.

    I think it’s something I’m still coming to terms with how learning through mistakes is just such a vital part to overcoming something. Not being down about setbacks but treating them as teachers, like you said. Also learning to be a bit kinder to myself through failure because I see what strength comes from getting up afterwards.

    I think the belief that I can triumph over certain addictions is just not strong enough within me at times and that can really drag me down. The egos love to despair.

    However, I do remember the times when a battle is won and the inner level/standards are raised — at that point it’s hard to imagine wanting to indulge in that addictive behavior again. Almost like it becomes a distant thing. Something to aim towards.

    • Thanks for your honest reflections Zorana.

      Jon might have some good advice on it. Your ponderings did make me ask myself, regarding any addictions I’ve overcome or gained ground on, if I knew intellectually how I did that.

      Some things I remember when thinking of one specific major addiction, is that it was a whole process.
      I wanted to go for spiritual things and put my efforts to that, but this addiction would take my energy/time/focus/inner level away from me, with all the consequences of feeling defeated, yet again, afterwards. Having to work very hard to raise myself up again, only to have the same thing happen again. Shooting myself in the foot, so to speak. This 101th fail, became beyond tiresome, and really made me want to change it.
      Also in seeing the severity of the damage it was causing me, I wasasking for help many times, very seriously.
      I also kept doing mediation practices on seeing how it all worked, all aspects of it, learning more each time. Two aspects for example: – the ways I would slide into it (like the thoughts you mention) – all the negative repercussions of giving into the addiction.
      Belsebuub mentions something which I found to be true, that the knowledge or vision of what an ego/addiction leads to can help us choose not to go with it. So for example somewhere in the afternoon one of those first temptations would arise (which I could recognize beause I had spotted it in my retrospections) appearing like only a small thing. But that something would take me all the way down that long road. In that moment, remembering the end result and all its downsides, I could somehow be a bit stronger and say ‘No!’ This is not easy because behind that one little thing is obviously this whole monster, so after that initial refusal more temptations would come up. Here the power of the technique of elimination really helped very greatly. To get us to pass through the cravings stage. We’ll manage to break through in that fight and this helps us to go along a different, more spiritually beneficial, track.

      But those are only some mentions of some insights. I feel I’ve also got many layers of study to go and need big changes within, in spiritual parts and changed energies etc, to really break addictions on a fundamental level.

      • Hey, Krimo 🙂 Thanks for your response.

        Some points you brought up triggered some reflections for me. You wrote, “Belsebuub mentions something which I found to be true, that the knowledge or vision of what an ego/addiction leads to can help us choose not to go with it” — do you remember by chance where he mentions something like that? I’d be interested in reading more if he delves more into the topic.

        “This is not easy because behind that one little thing is obviously this whole monster, so after that initial refusal more temptations would come up” – this is so true. But slowly you do have more of those “Aha!” moments where you can really see that inner state at work and repeating its usual patters (that took some time to spot, I should mention). But once they’re recognized for what they are, it feels much easier to deal with it because the enemy, so to speak, isn’t this hidden, unknown entity that has power over you anymore. At least then we know what we’re up against.

        What I’ve noticed recently is thoughts about this particular thing I’m struggling with just sliding in when I’m doing something else – something completely apart and different from that activity – and kind of just sneaking in there and waiting for me to be off guard enough to sort of give consent to doing that later. And it’s not like what I’m doing in that particular moment is so unpleasant that I’m automatically searching to do something more enjoyable, but it seems to be more like the cycles of the mind – like it’s used to going down this path and throwing certain hooks until it catches something.

        I recently picked up the book Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis I think because I missed it and felt like I needed a good talking-to, which is certainly what I got the first time around. Funnily enough, I randomly opened to the chapter called “How to Resist Temptation,” and there was a quote in there that I remember really stuck with me before. It’s written: “We must be especially on our guard at the beginning of temptation, for then we can more easily overcome the enemy if we refuse him entrance into our mind and, keeping him outside on the doorstep, confront him at his first knock. Someone once said: ‘Take a stand at the very beginning; it is much too late to apply medicines after the illness has grown worse because of long delays.’ Temptation, at first, is but a simple thought in the mind; the imagination then embellishes it and it takes on the appearance of something quite desirable; then follows a powerful attraction and finally the will’s consent. The depraved enemy gradually gains entrance if he is not resisted at the very beginning. The more sluggish our resistance, the more vulnerable we daily become, and the more powerful does our adversary grow.” I thought he broke down the way desire/temptation infiltrates our willpower really succinctly and clearly. When I read that, it truly felt like the writing was coming from someone who keenly observed the inner workings of egos and how they fight to survive. I find it to be really spot-on advice to put up a fight right from the beginning instead of letting the defenses get weakened slowly. Then there’s some hope 😉

        • Hey Zorana I couldn’t remember where I heard that particular bit of information until I happened to come across it today. I found it in the old e-book of ‘Self Knowledge for Spiritual Awakening’ by Belsebuub which I got at the time when it was still available. I’ll quote the bit referring to it.

          “Information in the mind, which is gained through analysis, gives knowledge with which to combat egos, such as what their consequences are, what they want to do, and what actions they have caused before. Being aware of this you can get a view of the harm the egos cause, and can find alternatives to the actions that they would otherwise carry out.
          ……
          Visualizing alternative future events to those which are being determined by ego states gives an option that enables the substitution of one inferior ego-based action for another more superior non-ego-based action. Without having a choice and a suitable substitute, the loss of what the ego would have you do can seem too high a sacrifice to make at the time, particularly when blinded by an ego in the time it manifests. Alternative courses of action provide choice and new opportunities.”
          Self Knowledge for Spiritual Awakening. ~ Belsebuub.

          For more you’ll need to check out the book. The new and updated version of this book will be released on paperback released mid 2017 apparently.

          • Hey, Karim. I just saw this (maybe I forgot to check the “alerts” box before). And what good timing it is. I do have the older version of that book, and I think it’s the first one I’ve read of Belsebuub’s. Also my favorite. Been on the back burner to re-read it, so I think this is my hint 😉 Thanks very much for letting me know where that quote came from. Helped me more than you know 🙂

  • Thanks for sharing Jon. I also don’t know if I could have overcome some of the addictions that we there with me when I found Belsebuub’s work. I would have probably been able to get a handle on them and allowed them to exist within social norms, but I don’t think I would ever have felt the freedom of genuinely being without their pull. It’s quite amazing when you start to value the clear feelings of the consciousness over the pleasure of the egos, but it seems it takes time to learn the difference between the two and the way the mind and emotions work to bring you to the point of indulging in that addictive behaviour.

  • Thanks for sharing this account Jon. I agree with the point you made that “mistakes are one of our greatest teachers”. Addictions and bad habits can blind us to the consequences of our actions, but once we begin to see and understand the harm those addictions have caused us and others, it can push us to try to overcome them.

    In my experience, I’ve found the process of freeing ourselves from addictions has many layers to it. The initial step is the intellectual understanding that what we’re doing is wrong and then wishing to change our behaviour. But often that intellectual understanding isn’t enough to change, if the drives behind our negative habits are strong. By observing ourselves, we can start to gain an understanding of those drives, which can give us a boost to resist the temptation and not go along with it. However, alongside this, there can often be a tug of war between the drives of the subconscious and our will to overcome them, which you described as a physical urge to engage in the addictive behaviour. Eventually, with persistence and the help of the divine, we can move forwards into new territory, where we can have a temptation placed in front of us, but be indifferent towards it, rather than needing to constantly fight to resist it. This can come as a relief once we are no longer slaves to particular desires.

    There is a lot to uncover and understand about ourselves and the process of self-discovery is an ongoing investigation. But gradually, as we understand more about ourselves, we can start to understand others too, particularly if we have gained experience of overcoming some of the drives that had influenced us for so long.

    You mentioned that if we allow negative thoughts to feed within us, they can self-perpetuate until we find ourselves in a very low mood. This can be one of the most important times to be on guard against addictive drives, as it’s so easy to try and escape those low feelings by indulging in pleasures. However, as Belsebuub explains in the book you mentioned, the pursuance of pleasure is never really an escape, as its opposite inevitably follows, which is pain. Better to try and regain our inner clarity by striving for that peace, which you mentioned you use as your benchmark.

  • Lovely share Jon I think there is a lot that I can take from that. One thing that stood out for me was when you said, “I learned one of the most important things which is that mistakes are one of our greatest teachers”. Too often mistakes are hijacked by feelings of pride of not being what we thought we were, and in reality we never were anyway.

    Giving up addictions like you said certainly isn’t easy, and it took me several goes to finally give up smoking cigarettes a long time ago now. Like you also highlighted you were gaining many things by losing the addiction, and often addictions make us only see that we are losing something but the qualities of the consciousness are so superior that it’s worth aiming for what is being gained and it seems by your experience you gained many wonderful new experiences and strengths.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • It was really tough to realize mistakes were going to keep happening, but yeah by not getting down about it I could learn a lot and not get knocked out. It would have been very easy to make a mistake and just give up.

      • I think you hit another note there Jon, “by not getting down about it I could learn a lot and not get knocked out”. How easy it is to be knocked out by getting down about the mistakes we make, when as you say, “mistakes were going to keep happening” and they are part of learning.

    • Thanks for sharing your story Jon. I agree that more things can be gained by losing the addiction and I can certainly vouch for it too. I remember the first time I met Mark at a retreat, I noticed that he was talking to a small group of friends around the sofa and I thought to join in. Little did I know that the conversation would turn out to be on the topic of addictions. We all spoke about our fair share of them and I vividly recall what Mark had said about the power of prayer to our divine parents and how it is through these prayers and call for help that is the first step in getting us out of the distressful situation we’re caught in. He said people will often always remember that very moment. When he said that, the painful memory of the time when I had hit rock bottom with a terrible addiction I had resurfaced. I remembered that desperate moment where I couldn’t stand being in that awful state any longer that I decided to stop what I was doing then and there and started to pray, sincerely asking the divine for help which was something I had not practiced since I was a child. I even recall the exact location, time and date it had occurred, it was that powerful. I recalled the feeling of relief afterwards and the sudden realization that it didn’t have to be this way. I didn’t say a word about that memory as I was recalling it but I noticed during the group conversation that Mark looked at me with deep understanding and great sympathy. It wasn’t until I had taken several of Mark’s courses and read many of his books and online articles that I understood that I had the power within me to change the things I disliked most about myself. I realized that I had the choice to live a completely different life in a more meaningful way that was opposite to the one I have been conditioned to follow.

  • Thank you, Jon, for your very honest personal journey in overcoming additions. I found it very inspiring to read and I’m sure that many others out there reading it will be able to use your insights in starting their own journey to the peace and joy in living free from the hooks of addiction.

    I think your description of the two sides, the “peace of consciousness” and the “turmoil of the egos” is spot on. It’s so clear that the consciousness and relation to the divine is the side to fight for.

  • I like the subject you’ve chosen to write about.

    One aspect I found particularly inspiring is about that way of working/way of being you mention, where one is concentrated on what they’re doing. Where normally someone doing a task could be stuck in low feelings, wanting to get it over with, anything to get away from that perceived discomfort. Or on the other side of the spectrum to be fascinated. Yet this way of working where we work and overcome that tugging of thoughts and emotions, break through and overpower those temptations within and get to feel clear and pure inside, enjoying perceiving beauty around. Really worth remembering to work for. Thanks.

    I think it’s not easy for someone to overcome their addiction to feeding lower emotions, but like you said through the techniques that Belsebuub mentions one is able to experience another way of being, getting a sustenance, fulfilment, “pleasure” of a very different kind out of life. Experiencing this can give someone the choice, glad you were able to go for it! 🙂

    I agree that going to one’s divine parents in prayer is incredibly wonderful.

    • It’s interesting to reflect on the simple pleasures that I concentrated on in order to break the addictions. It gave a kind of fulfillment that the addictions could never give. Every day provides these opportunities.

  • Hi Jon,

    Thank you for sharing your experience. It gives hope to know that addictions can be overcome. I can relate to how much encouragement can come from being able to find order, meaning and this type of ‘simple’ happiness of just being.

    all the best,

  • Loved your experience John, thanks for sharing. The connection with our own divine parents has been something that has helped me many times too. Dealing with addictions can be hard and feels easier when being in contact with them. Also knowing that I’m not alone in the battle helps to take on harmful behavior. It’s like our divine parents give us a helping hand when we ask, even though we don’t see them physically 🙂

  • Thank you for sharing. It is truly inspiring. It’s amazing to me to be able to walk away from addiction, with the help of our divine parents, and live a different kind of life. A happier life.

  • Thanks for sharing this learning Jon. I can also relate to those feelings of being lighter and enjoy life in a simple by when being active internally and really pushing for the awareness. It is very encouraging to see that those strong addictions in you were able to be overcome with the simple yet effective techniques taught by Belsebuub.
    I have no doubt many will benefit from your experience.

    • I would be very happy if others benefited from my experience – one of the big motivators for me when first starting out was reading other’s experiences.

About Belsebuub

belsebuub
Image © Belsebuub
Belsebuub is an author and practitioner of his indigenous spiritual tradition. He withdrew from public life in 2017. Prior to this he had been written about practical techniques for self-discovery for more than twenty-five years. Read more

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