Gabor Maté on “What is Addiction?”

I paraphrase and summarize the most important points:

  • All substances are actually pain killers, some are specifically pain killers.
  • Emotional pain and suffering triggers in the same brain areas as physical pain.
  • Addiction develops because of pain and distress. Addiction, when acted upon provide pain killing effects to numb and escape the pain.
  • Quoting Eckhart Tolle: Every addiction starts with pain and ends with pain
  • Because of too much distress and pain one cannot be with oneself.
  • From the Tibetan Book of the Dead: “Whatever you do, don’t try and escape from your pain, but be with it. To attempt to escape from pain is what creates more pain.”
  • Running away from pain bring more pain. Running away is not the solution.
  • Getting the sense of compassion through companionship, one can start to free the self from pain.
  • We have to be with the pain until it passes and know what it is really about.
  • We now live in an age of instant gratification. Our society is not designed to support us to be able to be by ourselves. There’s always the quick getaway.

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