Addiction and Selfishness

addiction selfishness

Addiction and selfishness are two things that go hand in hand. In some ways they can be considered the same thing. It is impossible to be addicted and not be selfish. Likewise, selfishness is its own kind of addiction, one that craves self gratification. Addiction and selfishness are inherently two distinct, separate things, but many of their facets are identical. It is important to understand why these two states of being so closely resemble one another in order to defeat both of them.

It is true that addiction is a form of selfishness. Addiction does not do any good in the world. It has one purpose, and one purpose alone: to gratify its perpetrator. It does not enrich the person’s life, help them grow as a person, nourish them on any level or contribute anything else positive. In fact, rather than do any good, addiction deteriorates a person’s life out from under them. It destroys their character, damages their relationships, hurts their reputation, makes them unavailable to their commitments and obligations and hurts their physical health. Addiction is a totally self serving endeavor.

Selfishness is certainly its own form of addiction as well. We are all familiar with what it is like to be selfish. Selfishness can feel very gratifying. It gives us a sense of control and escape when we desire it. Knowing that we can turn to things that make us feel good and allow us to shut out the rest of the world gives us pleasure. And while it is true that people should be allowed to escape into pleasureful things within moderation, the danger is how easily one can reside in their selfishness and not want to come out. Selfishness is addictive for those who are weak in character.

In order to eradicate selfishness, one must eradicate addiction, and vis versa. The process of growth toward healthy, balanced, selfless ways is a gradual one. Selfishness and addiction are both deeply ingrained patterns that are rooted in a person’s psychology. Transitioning out of them does not mean that one can never care for or think of their self. It simply means that they need to learn to initially separate themselves from addiction and selfishness, and ultimately moderate the self interests and pleasures they allow into their lives.

Selflessness and Atonement

selfless loveSelfless love is a condition that betters everything around it. Agape means selfless love. It blesses the lives of people through its compassionate nature and improves the quality of existence through its service. Practicing selfless love is not only good for everything around you. It is good for you as well. Arguably, there is nothing better for people than practicing selfless love. It is everyone’s better nature, and practicing it does for the heart and the mind what years of therapy sometimes cannot do: it makes a person whole.

The value of humility is taught through selfless love. A humble spirit is a noble one. Anyone who thinks they are too good for any type of service to others can afford to learn more humility. Humility is an understanding that every person is equally valuable and therefore deserves equal amounts of service, support and blessings from others. Exercising selfless love and giving to other people without expectation is what builds the virtue of humility.

Selfless love is character building. It teaches a person the ethic of hard work, compassion, generosity, strength and selflessness. By serving someone else purely for the purpose of seeing them thrive and be blessed, you will in turn be blessed yourself because selfless love comes with the reward of peace and satisfaction. You will be a better person for having exercised selfless love.

Giving to others selflessly is the truest way of expressing your care for them because it is a type of giving that is not expected from people. Selfless love truly makes the world into a better place, and there is nothing more redemptive than this contribution. It is done voluntarily without requirement. It makes the person on the receiving end of the selfless love feel special and cared for, lifting their spirits and inspiring them toward their better altruistic nature. It also accomplishes things that would otherwise not get done – acts of charity and service such as helping people who are unable to help themselves. Everyone benefits from selfless love.

The Meaning of the Word Agape

agape meaningThe word “agape” is Greek in origin, and is found in many places in the original text of the bible. This unique word, when translated to English, means selfless love. Throughout the bible, there are different words used in different instances of talking about love. There is not one blanket term used to describe all forms of love. There is a word for romantic love, there is a word for familial love and agape is the word for selfless love. Studying the bible will reveal to you that “agape” is referred to as the truest and purest form of love.

When comparing agape to other forms of love, one can see why it is considered the truest form of love in the bible. Romantic love is fiery and passionate, but it tends to be self-serving. Romantic love easily takes the course of a lover focused on what their significant other can do for them rather than on how they can serve and bless their lover. Familial love is the kind bound by blood and familiarity, but it can come with some fierce emotions that work against love, such as anger and pride. Selfless love is by nature both permanent and altruistic. To selflessly love someone is to put their needs and their desires before your own. This kind of love is perfect, not fleeting, fickle or deterring.

What agape looks like between people is service. When you agape someone, or love them selflessly, your focus shifts from your needs to their needs. Your joy comes from seeing them happy and fulfilled. This means you will put effort into their well being. You will pick them up when they are down. You will provide for them when they cannot provide for themselves. You will go out of your way to bless them even when there is no occasion. You will even lay down your life for them. Agape is the key to world peace, yet it is the rarest form of love to find because people are inherently selfish. In order to achieve a state of agape, one must literally leave behind their selfishness. It is the opinion of this blogger that this is only possible with God’s help as it requires a supernatural amount of selflessness.

Making a Recovery through Altruism

recovery and altruismAltruism, or selflessness, is a quality that greatly benefits the world. However, the benefits to the person exercising selfless love should not be overlooked. People invest fortunes into fixing their mental health problems and trying to achieve perfect peace, all the while the truest path to peace and to becoming whole is through serving others. Putting others before yourself is the only way you can reverse the selfishness that holds you to all your problems. Altruism is a personal form of recovery through the following means:

  • Selfishness to selflessness. Practicing selfishness in life is a dead end road. It breeds isolation and hardheartedness and has no meaningful reward. Changing this practice to selflessness will bring warmth, relationship and the most meaningful kind of reward to your life.
  • Self seeking to service. Self seeking motivation inspires people to only protect their own interests, where as being in the service of others means opening one’s heart to them and meeting a need of theirs voluntarily.
  • Blessing yourself to blessing others. When a person is only looking to bless themselves with good fortune, they become stingy and self absorbed. Putting thought into blessing others makes you a better person and inspires those blessings to ripple out further into the world.
  • Subjectivity to objectivity. Altruism is a form of objective thought because it looks outside the self to gain perspective. Being self serving is very subjective because it keeps a person locked in their own head. Altruism inspires a growth in perspective by placing empathy outside of the self.
  • Self focus to focus on others. Being self focused only protects your own interests and only makes you look into the things that you require. This is not a virtuous way of being. Altruism requires you to shift your focus to other people and helps you be a better person by practicing selflessness, which is valuable, rare and effective in our world.
  • Closed off to open. Being self serving makes you closed off to the perspective of others, which hurts them as well as you. Practicing altruism will open you up to new perspectives, relationships, life lessons and personal reward.

Treating Addiction and Disorder with Agape

agape addiction mental disorderThe practice of agape, or selfless love, offers as many rewards to the one practicing it as it does to the one receiving it. Being selfless is very good for a person on many levels. It actually works to restore a person’s mental health and make them whole. This is why it is a recommended practice to people who struggle with addictions and disorders. These conditions are the opposite of mental health and any practice or way of thinking that fights mental illness is a good thing for mentally ill people to bring into their lives. These conditions also require professional treatment, but practicing agape can do worlds of good for someone with an addiction or disorder.

Addictions and mental disorders are inherently self serving. Their existence is not the fault of the person who has them, but living as a victim to them will inevitably make a person into a self serving individual. By making the choice to practice altruism, or agape, a person who has been contained to their own self serving ways will have the opportunity to break away from them and gain perspective, compassion and a sense of purpose by helping others.

When addictions and mental disorders are permitted to thrive, they isolate the person living with them. They do this by influencing the person to only think about themselves, serve their addiction and remain inside their own head, as well as make them into someone that other people do not want to be around. This is universally damaging to people. Making the choice to be selfless reverses these patterns by bringing them into the company of others and focusing on what they can do for other people rather than what they can do for themselves.

When addictions and mental disorders become severe, they leave in their wake a trail of loneliness and destruction. Their survival can only hurt a person and never help them. When a person does unselfish things for other people, however, they are creating the opposite of destruction. They are giving life and joy to another person. If you or someone you care about is struggling with an addiction or disorder, seek professional treatment and do not underestimate the value of selfless love to their recovery.

Addiction Treatment and Agape

agape addiction treatmentPeople with mental disorders and addictions can help fight their illnesses by practicing agape, or selfless love. Incidentally, agape is something that should be present within addiction treatment as well. People can commit to addiction treatment expecting to encounter agape in their counselors and facilitators because treatment is far more effective when this quality is present. They can also expect to find it within their support groups and meetings with other people who are struggling. And lastly, they should prepare themselves to give it to others to help them in their journey toward recovery.

The counselors and facilitators at a rehab or other type of addiction treatment center are called to selflessness. It is their vocation and their purpose to put themselves second to their clients in order to be there for them and encourage them. It can become taxing on counselors and facilitators to constantly be there emotionally for others if they are not in the habit of practicing agape. This is why addicts should expect to encounter selflessly loving people in the mental health professionals that treat them when they are checked into a quality rehab facility.

The support groups and events that are held in the company of other addicts are yet another place to find agape. Addicts are unique brain types and sometimes there is no one who can understand them except for other addicts. Many addicts form an understanding with one another that helps them support each other through their trials. Addiction is a disease that many people do not understand, and it can be very hard for an addict to find unconditional support and positivity in people. This is why it is so important for support groups of addicts to practice agape with one another. Addicts have had more than their share of rejection, judgment, criticism and misunderstandings. It makes a world of difference to be able to lean on one another and know that they will find acceptance and love among other recovering addicts.