Learning from Our Inner Demons

One of the things we learn in recovery is that our addictions and mental health issues have caused us to create a very disconnected, disharmonious relationship with ourselves and our inner thoughts and feelings. We resist our fears. We don’t work to heal our wounds. We don’t resolve the deep relationship issues and recurring life patterns we’ve been grappling with for so long. We feel disconnected from ourselves, from our purpose, and from the truth of who we are. We feel distant and removed from our inner selves. We feel as though we don’t recognize ourselves. When we’re in this place of disconnection, we’re also often filled with inner turmoil and conflict. We are deeply insecure and lacking in self-confidence. We struggle with low self-esteem and have a damaged sense of self-worth. When we’re in this place, our inner demons have the chance to proliferate and take over. We become consumed with the voices of our inner demons, the fears, insecurities and wounds we haven’t yet come to terms with. We feel driven by them, haunted by them and tortured by them. We compulsively do what they tell us to do, which is usually to self-harm and to be self-destructive. We develop all kinds of anxiety disorders and troublesome thought patterns, complexes, compulsions, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, phobias and neuroses. We hate and reject ourselves.

For many of us, our inner demons feed off of our insecurities and make us jealous, envious, bitter and resentful of other people’s happiness and success. Our self-hatred makes us hate other people and feel threatened by them. We aren’t proud of our friends when they accomplish something exciting. We aren’t happy for them when they get good news. We become depressed and anxious. We suffer from debilitating mental health issues and develop addictions. We turn to drugs and addictive behaviors to drown out the painful voices of our inner demons. We’re so consumed by our inner demons that we forget the truth of who we are – interconnected beings of divine light, here to support one another and to walk our journeys together, to give and receive blessings and love.

We associate our inner demons with pain and suffering. We’re so accustomed to their voices telling us we’re not good enough, not smart enough, not beautiful enough. We’ve been allowing them to convince us that our limiting beliefs are true, that we are in fact inadequate, inferior to other people, and easily threatened. We’ve allowed ourselves to believe that we aren’t capable of healing ourselves and accomplishing sobriety. We start to believe that happiness and success aren’t meant for us, that our futures are bleak, and that we’ll never be able to accomplish the goals we’ve set for ourselves or reach the milestones we’ve planned. In the midst of this mental and emotional suffering, we often don’t realize that there is a lot we can learn from our inner demons. They aren’t a purely negative thing. Yes, they echo our limiting beliefs and our insecurities. They amplify the self-doubt and self-rejection we’ve been developing within ourselves. Our inner demons also, however, show us where we still need to heal. They show us the parts of us that need the most nurturing and healing. When we make the choice to listen to our inner demons with mindfulness and openheartedness, we learn what parts of us need our love, support, attention and protection.

We usually respond to our inner demons the same way we tend to respond to most of our pain – we resist it. We avoid thinking about it and are desperate to avoid feeling it. We run from it. When we feel our inner demons coming on, we panic. We overreact. We try to suppress and bury the things our inner demons are telling us, and we try to drown them out with distractions, namely our addictive substances and behaviors. We try to forget how our inner demons have made us feel. We try to put it all behind us. What would it feel like, instead, to face our inner demons head on and listen to them, to accept their presence in our lives and examine what they are meant to teach us?

When we become more mindful of our inner demons, we get clear guidance on how to heal. What are your inner demons telling you? Listen to what they’re saying. We know how they make us feel – self-hating, insecure, jealous, envious, anxious, depressed. Why and how do they make us feel these ways? What wounds and trauma are fueling our limiting beliefs? What unresolved issues are creating these feelings? When we pay more attention, when we become curious and start to explore our inner demons with more mindfulness, we get clues about what unhealed pain we still need to address. If our inner demons are making us compete with other people and compare ourselves to them, if they make us feel easily threatened, we want to explore why it is we feel so unsafe, so ungrounded and so unstable, why we’ve lost our inner peace and sense of security. Perhaps a loss, death or separation you’ve experienced caused you to doubt your value and worth. Your inner demons are telling you that you need to learn how to validate and appreciate yourself. They are here to make you see that you are in fact irreplaceable and incomparable, special, unique, strong and beautiful. When we accept our inner demons and choose to embrace them, there is so much we stand to learn from them, so much they can add to our growth and our evolution in recovery.

The community of Riverside Recovery has personal experience with addiction and the feelings of hopelessness and disconnection that come with it. We’re here to help you reclaim the life you love. Call (800) 871-5440 today.