(Catch Part 1, HERE.)
What doesn't kill us, makes us stronger.
There is the kind of pain that hits us from the outside. An illness. A setback. An unexpected failure. Yes, you bleed, but also learn what it takes to heal. The next time you'll be more prepared, maybe you'll navigate around the pain altogether.
But that's not the kind of pain I'm talking about.
I'm talking about the kind of pain you carry deep. The kind of pain that infuses and becomes part of you. The kind of pain you might not even recognize as pain, because you feel its mirror most keenly, the fierce, sweet desire to soothe it.
So, what do you do when you realize such a pain is haunting you, and you decide that you no longer want to be driven by it? To be repeating the cycle of discontent and satisfaction?
Is it enough to see the pain for what it is? Can you cure it by just stopping?
I don't think so. I don't think that's realistic. When you experience a high, sooner or later, you'll be drawn to repeat it.
So what to do.
I believe that the only "solution" is to replace the high with other highs. More healthy ones. I use the term solution loosely, because I'm not entirely sure that it ever goes away, except perhaps with a long passage of time.
Someone can't decide what highs to choose. That's sure to fail. You can't just get religion, or take up knitting, or whatever half-assed suggestion might be thrown your way. You know what highs are close seconds to your delicious pain. Those are the ones you need to concentrate on (assuming they're healthy), at the same time you need to keep reminding yourself of the harms your delicious pain causes when you feel drawn to it.
For example, since my delicious pain ultimately pushes me to rely on other people's draw to me to soothe it, my replacement highs need to be more self-driven. Rather than chase the wonderful feeling when someone is drawn to me, I need to focus on when I feel wonderful highs experiencing something alone--a reflective moment in the forest, finishing a fine piece of writing, playing music. By reducing focus on others, I can then enjoy more healthy relationships with people.
The truth is that both highs come from within. Other people don't really do anything for me. It's me allowing myself to rely on them to drive my happiness that's the problem. When I feel the pull of delicious pain, I try to imagine it for what it is, beautiful on the surface, but easy to see the rot underneath when I turn it over. The joy is barely skin deep.