A lot of women question whether or not they have a drinking problem or other addictive issues like codependence, workaholism, and romantic addiction. Unless the consequences of our habits cause us to hit bottom it can be hard to reach a definitive answer. Some of us have a high threshold for pain and the ability to normalize dysfunction which can keep us from acknowledging the truth.
When unhealthy coping mechanisms get out of control we might simply tell ourselves it's time to reign it in. We can bury ourselves in work, take on more responsibility, or focus on someone whose problems seem worse than ours. It's easy to auto-pilot into controlling behaviors instead of getting the help we need. Rather than confront an addictive cycle, we call it a rough patch and retreat into the safety of what is familiar.
To make things more complicated, a lot of addictions are accepted and encouraged by our society- everything from memes glorifying wine to dating apps. We're being set up to look for love and empowerment everywhere but where it actually resides, which is inside of us.
I was taught to equate martyrdom with love, intensity with intimacy. I was told that alcohol and a man would fix everything about me that felt broken. I call this brokenness my hungry ghost, and I thought exerting more discipline would keep my hungry ghost in check when things spiraled out of control. But for me controlling was actually part of the problem... and therein lies the paradox of addictive thinking.
Twelve years ago when I announced that I was giving up booze, a lot of my friends poo-poo'd the idea, assuring me I wasn't an alcoholic. A few years later when I decided to take a break from dating as well, I felt like a killjoy and a prude. I heard everything from "Nooo, I'm having a party in 2 weeks, you can't quit" to "just fuck and get over yourself already."
I talk to women all the time who have a hard time slowing down without drinking or getting high on something. Workaholism is a thing, and I see it being pushed everywhere. #grinding is the new crack. It fuels our self worth and distracts us from the things we're afraid to confront. More women are adrenally exhausted than ever before, and yet we keep going harder and harder.
With all the stigma around the word addiction, it takes courage to dig a little deeper and admit that our favorite coping skills may actually be hurting us. That we, gasp, might have a problem. Keeping up appearances is one of the biggest obstacles for women when it comes to getting help. The thing to keep in mind is that when a problem is named for what it is, the solution is easier to access, and the first thing we'll learn about that problem is that we're not alone.
So we've been in the middle of an eclipse sandwich for weeks now, with the last solar eclipse of the year happening today. There are also 7 retrograding celestial bodies in the sky: Mercury, Mars, Saturn, Neptune, Pluto, Chiron, and Uranus. That's A LOT of retrograde energy! And while I don't believe in "good" or "bad" astrology, I do think most aspects are more productive when worked with intentionally.
During heavy retrograde periods like the one we're in, slowing down and cultivating a detached awareness can be more helpful than bulldozing through an issue or conversely burying our heads in the sand. The goal is to observe while reserving judgment. (Notice I used the word goal.) This is an excellent time to look at any uncomfortable things we've been questioning and observe how our lives are being affected.
Asking these questions might be helpful:
Remember that this isn't about judgment. It's not a morality check, it's a reality check.
Eclipses are pauses and reboots. They give us an opportunity to acknowledge what' not working and to surrender. It's not as much about amputation as it is about change.
However you approach this retrograde cycle, remember to hold yourself in compassion and gentleness. Learning is a curve, not an arrow. While the sun is eclipsed by the moon in Leo, put your hand over your heart and say, "I will love myself today by asking the hard questions and seeking the help and relief I need."
May you be free of suffering and all the causes of suffering.
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