Pain can be addictive. Science will tell you that your brain releases a tiny amount of dopamine each time you feel pain (perhaps to help you weather it). Dopamine, that pleasure creator that is responsible for our taking action towards a reward. But also the one that keeps us addicted to things we know are bad for us because we’re chasing how it feels when we get hurt. The high of pain.

I think we all know deep down, that labels are painful boxes to stuff ourselves into. Maybe we’re chasing the comfort of a womb or maybe we’re after how good it feels to hurt.

As someone with a certain intelligence, who has consistently made bad choices with people, I can only say. Don’t beat yourself up for this. A love bite is also a bruise. Forgive yourself for needing some pain. Go easy on yourself if you associate hurt with love. Relax when you find yourself chasing patterns you know will cut you. Don’t hate this part of you. Because it is you as much as the intelligence, the sensitivity, whatever fog the dopamine puts you in, even the dopamine itself. And self-hate brings on no dopamine highs. Only despair.

This helps me. Go out into the vaccum, not back in a box. Let the labels fade. Let the sharp words, the defined voices die out. Let it fog, let it mist, let it all blur. Fall into the craving without feeding it pain. Watch yourself hunger but don’t allow yourself to bleed. Feed just enough so the wanting doesn’t become pain either. Find your breathing without the hacking. Your sleep without the dreams.

This is bearing witness to your pain without being caged by it. Pain can be fascinating to watch, even more than it is to feel it. It will pass. The pain, yes and the wanting too. This time.

I can’t guarantee that this will cure your pain addiction but at least it’ll be a time you didn’t imbibe. One day at a time. One nap at a time. One breath at a time. One blink at a time. Choose yourself boundless, over a box of pain.

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