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A Radical Approach to Recovery from Addiction

“Freedom from addiction is already contained in the one place an addict refuses to look – the present moment.” Scott Kiloby

An Online Discussion held on Saturday July 8, 2017 

This online Round Table discussion on our approach to addiction in all its forms, featured Scott Kiloby, author of Natural Rest for Addiction and Director of the Kiloby Center for Recovery, along with several experienced Living Inquiries facilitators.

Panellists shared their personal experiences of using Natural Rest and the Living Inquiries to unravel the grip of compulsion. What exactly is addiction? How do anxiety and low self-esteem result in us reaching for ways to self medicate, including drink, drugs, foods, love and sex, binge shopping, gaming or even workaholism? We talked about the roots of addictive behavior as well as the many ways that it manifests and shared our own experience of using Natural Rest and the Living Inquiries to unravel our addictions.

Moderated by Fiona Robertson, Senior Facilitator and author of The Art of Finding Yourself, the panel also included Senior Facilitator Lisa Meuser, and Certified Facilitators Elizabeth Lavine, Melanie Balint Gray, Colm Burgoyne and Helena Weaver. The chat room was hosted by Certified Facilitators Sumitra Burton and Hanneke Geraeds.

Scott’s revised and updated book Natural Rest for Addiction: A Radical Approach to Recovery Through Mindfulness & Awareness is available from all the usual outlets.

On The Panel

Scott Kiloby   My experience with addiction is that it is a very powerful force and somewhat hardwired into being human.  It is also often tethered to shame, trauma and self-esteem issues.  At the core of it is a basic human restlessness, a sense of not being comfortable in one’s own skin and having to constantly fill up the space of now with something.  I know this because I’ve lived it.  The good news is that this force can be unwound and quieted over time through presence work and inquiry.  

Fiona RobertsonFiona Robertson   It’s been a revelation to explore compulsive behaviours – even the subtle ones – using the Living Inquiries. Just this week, I was exploring a life-long identification with being frightened, and an image of the sweet shop I used to go to when I was a kid came up. In that instant, I saw how I’d used chocolate and ice cream as a way to soothe that frightened self. It’s such a gift to gradually release the grip of compulsion in this gentle way.

Lisa MeuserLisa Meuser   Human beings are hard wired for love (or at the very least, attention). When it’s not given and received freely, we innately feel that gap – and we can literally spend the rest of our lives innocently trying to figure out how “to get it,” or figuring out how to cope in its absence. As I moved into adulthood I realized that I had the capacity to use mindfulness and inquiry to study my relationship to “the gap,” discovering along the way that there are other options than numbing myself out, or altering who I am to experience love and wholeness. 

Elizabeth Lavine   Somewhere along this path to higher consciousness, I realized that the one thing holding me back was indulging in negative moods again and again. Yet, what was so compelling that I would indulge in this addiction to negativity? What was so compelling about a negative mindset / feelings of doom and gloom? The Living Inquiries and Natural Rest gave me the answer and the cure.

Melanie Balint Gray    I see my addictions as a tapestry, with brilliant threads representing overeating, iPhone gaming, frequent criticising and hoarding things.   I’ll think I’m doing some inquiry to tackle overeating, for example, and will be surprised to find myself delving into tightly-interwoven, conditioned compulsions of my inner world. These are the finer, less visible threads, like the need for approval, to soothe myself or to be right.

Colm Burgoyne   I was willing to pay any consequence tomorrow, not to feel uncomfortable now.

This short quote magnificently explains my experience with addiction to drugs and alcohol. While inquiring, I begin to see the addictions behind the addictions. The fuel that keeps the wild, uncontrollable fire of drugs and alcohol addiction burning.

Helena Weaver   Over the years I’ve been heavily addicted to cigarettes, marijuana, sugar and work, but the one that has proved hardest to disengage myself from has been chocolate. Even yesterday, while in a phase of not having any, when suddenly shocked by news of an unexpected loss, I was swept by the longing for comfort, to be held warm and safe and happy. Images of chocolate hung before me. Yet fully allowing my upset feelings to be met and expressed in tears, turned out to be all I needed to do. 

Hosting The Chat Room

Hanneke Geraeds   Search for enlightenment. Check. Need to please. Check. Now I’m doing sessions with my dear colleague Melanie. Facilitated by her I’m looking into eating sweet chocolate flakes that I’m addicted to putting on my bread or even eating without any bread… The same core deficiency story still applies: I’m not good enough as I am. I’m discovering an inner bully that doesn’t approve of myself as I am. With the help of Melanie I meet the parts of me that hunger for approval, to just be as they are. Two months without chocolate flakes and without a battle so far. 

The Living Inquiries - Judith Sumitra BurtonSumitra Burton   I feel compulsion in my belly; it grips itself around whatever is “wanting” in my life. Today it’s my compulsion to overeat to create a safe harbor from which to move through life. As I feel into the gripping sensation, there’s a sense of its being acknowledged. I ask if it needs something, and the thought arises, “I just want to be heard.” Welcoming the sensation now, like a lost child wanting to come home, I notice the gripping begin to melt away. With this acceptance comes a deep realization that a full belly doesn’t really afford safety. It’s resting in my inner stillness which does that.

To see the videos of this event, click here