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Premise of Commonality

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One basic premise laying the foundation of NINE STEP PAGANS, is that all addictions and compulsive behaviors have certain themes in common, even though in many ways they can look and be very different.
A person addicted to heroin will rightly say that a gambling addict does not know what opioid withdrawal is like, and a gambler, that a non-gambler does not understand the high of laying it all on the line. Yet if they are looking for health and freedom, they have both had the experience of not being able to stop a self-destructive behavior. They will need different kinds of medical attention or therapy, but they can (if they choose) give and receive support from each other in freeing themselves from a kind of slavery.
Here are some of the feelings and themes that cut across a great variety of addictions and compulsions:

~ Emptiness, a feeling of being abandoned by life, people, or God(s).

~ Rage or depression about the same thing.

~ Shame
, or not feeling worthy of receiving love or having a good life.

~ Paradoxical egocentrism
, eg: " Im the piece of garbage that the Universe revolves around."

~ Exhilaration, euphoria, or serenity
upon getting a behavioral or chemical fix, at least in the first stages.

~ Denial that anything is wrong or that one is hurting anyone, or at least anyone else.

~ Struggle and Failure
to free oneself, often very many times.

~ Fear
that the drug or behavior will be taken away, that one cannot possibly live without it.

~ Hatred
of the drug or behavior and/or those who would take it away.

~ Apathy
, the recognition that one is harming or destroying oneself or others with a drug or behavior, while accepting that destruction without any attempt to save oneself or ones loved ones.

~ Hope, when one recognizes that with help, there is a way out.

~ Resentment
, that the process of re-engaging in health and freedom is so damn hard.

~ Acceptance
of the pros, cons and responsibilities of re-engaging in life.

~ Celebration
, on recognition that one has become free of chemical or behavioral slavery.

~ Grief and remorse over what one has lost to slavery, and the cost to loved ones and others.

~ Re-balancing what has been unbalanced, where possible.

~ Letting go of what one cannot change.

~ Gratitude for the gifts of life, friends and faith.

~ Willingness
to give back to the healing and freeing process of others.

The above are just a few of the themes and feelings we share in common. Add your own.