Tao Te Ching Day 18: Addiction, Codependency, and Control

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The weather has been so beautiful out where I live lately. I love the opportunity to go outside and run around under a big beautiful sun, while the trees and the flowers bloom and blow in the cool April breeze.

However, each day at about the 45 minute mark of being outside, my nose starts to run, my eyes begin to itch and my skin begins to burn. Then the sneezing starts. The pollen is a wildly beautiful show of the abundance of nature and it is also allows me to remain in a healthy balance with spending to much time in direct sunlight, as my lily white ass would be burnt to a crisp in no time if I remained outside.

But that is the beauty of this world. It is in perfect balance with it self. It is itself perfect, the way it is. And as such, needs no help in regulating itself. The Tao Te Ching puts it this way.

Trying to control the world?

I see you won’t succeed.

The world is a spiritual vessel

And cannot be controlled.

TTC – Chp. 29 (Addiss & Lombardo)

Like any living organism, the world has its very own natural way about it, as we humans do. I thought about this in terms of Addiction and Codependency. In both instances a person is using either a substance or a person to regulate their own feelings and if said person or substance is unavailable or not doing what they want, well then the person becomes what I would call, “A crazy person.”

See, I had to learn this 3 years ago when I entered recovery. There is nothing outside of ourselves that is under our control, if we believe we have control we are spending time in delusion and as I have learned, spending time in delusion is good for one thing, losing your mind.

The one who controls it will fail,

The one who grasps it will lose.

TTC – Chp. 29 (Addiss & Lombardo)

The Tao Te Ching is giving very clear insight here as to what will transpire by our own unwillingness to acknowledge the lack of control we have over things outside of our self. Like with the example of, being outside in the sun. I don’t have to fight against the fact that the world can be both a beautiful and dangerous place. I can either enjoy the time I have in the sun or be destroyed by it.

I can’t control the way nature effects me, I can control the amount of time I subject myself to it. Like an addict or alcoholic, I could not control myself when drugs or alcohol entered my system, no matter how much exercise, religion, or good nutrition I brought into the picture. I had to make a choice, I had to choose to eliminate something from my life that I had no control over if I used it.

Now, before I realized that I would drink everyday, and pray for a new outcome. I would wake up every morning and say today will be different and I would end up drunk and destroyed by the end of the night.

Because all things:

Either lead or follow

Either blow hot or cold

Either have strength or weakness

Either have ownership or take by force.

TTC Chp. 29 (Lin)

This passage reminds me of a saying “I have to accept life on life’s terms.”

The Tao again is showing us that all things have their very own nature, yet there is still a great balance to all of it. Some of us lead and some of us follow. Some of us rely on strength and some on vulnerability. Some are hot headed and some are cool as the breeze.

But they all have their very own way of being.

When I was drinking, I spent so much time denying my own nature. I am an empathetic person and the way I felt about the world and the people in it made me feel sick. I couldn’t save the world or control it and that alone ended up killing me.

I wanted people to be happy, but in my trying to see other people differently and control things out of my control I was denying my own nature. I am supposed to feel the way I feel about things.

I am supposed to hurt as much as I hurt, be afraid when I am afraid. I am supposed to love the way I love and be angry the way I get angry. Yet, I spent so much time denying my own unique nature because I saw it as wrong and I thought I should be another way.

I thought I should be happy all the time. I thought I shouldn’t have to feel pain, because I was a good person. I thought I should be treated better and I thought that life was unfair. I was unwilling to accept the true nature of things and in so doing I was trying to control the nature of things by denying my own nature.

What a shit show. Hahaha. Sorry, I needed to laugh, it was a real mess back then.

But this is exactly what the Tao Te Ching is warning against. We can make a real mess of life when we try and control it and not allow the nature of things to be as they are.

What I have learned is that we are all perfect in our own unique way. We all have our very own nature, and the Sage’s realized this. They lived this by accepting to the fullest extent their own natural way of being. They did not spend time denying their nature.

In this way they were sought after, they were seen as different because they grew and unfolded in the way that we all wish to. This is why the Tao Te Ching speaks so often about unlearning and letting things fall away. It speaks multiple times about doing nothing and nothing being undone. It is telling us to drop our old programming and allow our natural programming to wake up.

We all have the ability to unfold and grow in this natural way. To allow our beauty and uniqueness to be a light for the world. Each one of us can feel the natural sense of our own personal spirit. The spark of the divine in us that wants to express it self through us.

Therefore the sage:

Eliminates extremes

Eliminates excess

Eliminates arrogance

TTC Chp. 29 (Lin)

When we come into balance with our natural way of being, we eliminate that which no longer serves our highest self.

To allow all things to have their natural way, and recognize when something else’s natural way may harm your own way of being. It is ok to eliminate things that interfere with our natural way, whether it be relationships, foods, substances, whatever. To be truly in balance is to listen to the nature of who we are and know when something is taking away from our wholeness.

The Sage’s are telling us it is ok to remove things in your life that no longer serve a function to your well being. I have eliminated, alcohol, drugs, sweets, to much sun, and certain people from my life since getting sober, and all though I have removed almost everything that I used to focus on, my life is actually fuller and better than it has ever been.

Letting go of all things we open ourselves to be filled.

Happy Day.


Published by Matthew Whiteside

I am a writer, a storyteller, a yarn-spinning freakazoid. My life is full of two things today, lessons and blessings. I write fiction mostly but I also love to write about my life and the things I go through on a daily basis. Writing it out inspires and motivates me and that's why I do it. Plus if it does that for me maybe it will for someone else too.

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