There are many forms of addiction: alcohol. drugs, gambling, sex . . . to name a few.
But whatever the means, all forms of gambling have emotional emptiness, and low self esteem at their core. Alcohol and drugs provide chemical transport away from the emotional pain for a while; gambling seeks to fill the emptiness and deny the low self-worth with winnings – but the win is never big enough, and the losses provide a mirror to feelings of worthlessness; sex provides another means of transport away from emotional pain – but like drugs and alcohol, the orgasms are a temporary avoidance of the emotional pain – which remains waiting for the travellers on their return – and may tip them into deeper despair.
Addiction has been described as a “dark angel” which rescues the soul from it’s suffering. But it is really an avoidance of the legitimate suffering required to resolve inner conflict, heal wounds of the past, and allow a different self-defining narrative.
Carl Jung’s psychology was instrumental in the development of Alcoholics Anonymous – which has help countless people overcome their addiction. The concept of surrender to a higher power, comes from Jung’s concept of the Self - which is who we are at depth, and this has a transpersonal dimension to it. It does not require any religious belief.
Looking to overcome an addiction is a courageous endeavour. It means kicking away the crutch of your addiction, which may make you feel very vulnerable. But it is that vulnerability which needs our compassion.