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Addict (Conspicuous Consumer, Glutton, Workaholic--see also Gambler)
Every one of us is touched by the Addict archetype. The only question is how much of our lives is consumed by it. Besides the usual suspects--drugs, alcohol, food, and sex--one can be addicted to work, sports, television, exercise, computer games, spiritual practice, negative attitudes, and the kinds of thrills that bring on adrenaline rushes. In its positive aspect, this archetype helps you recognize when an outside substance, habit, relationship, or any expression of life has more authority over your will power than does your inner spirit. Confronting addiction and breaking the hold that a pattern or substance has on you can impart great strength to your psyche. Discovering the empowerment that comes with perseverance has a life-long impact, becoming a reference point for what you are able to accomplish. In the words of one former alcoholic, "I know now that if I can quit drinking, I can do anything."
From a symbolic perspective, the shadow aspect of the Addict represents a struggle with will power and the absence of self-control. People who are extremely intellectual or emotional frequently have a close link to this archetype, because they struggle to balance these powers. Without this internal balance, the will may give up its power to an external substance that exerts authority, providing shadow order to your life. The shadow Addict compromises your integrity and honesty. Many addicts, for example, steal as a means of supporting their habit.
In evaluating your connection to the Addict, review how many of your life's challenges concern an external substance or a consistent, domineering pattern of trying to maintain order in your life. Although that challenge is a part of all of our lives, the degree to which an addiction controls you and your lifestyle determines whether the Addict is part of your intimate family of twelve. For instance, you can be inconsistent in your exercise program yet quite disciplined in your spiritual practice. Needing a substance or practice or person so intensely or regularly that you compromise relationships, finances, integrity, character, or emotional and psychological well-being, however, indicates that you should look very seriously at this archetype as a possible choice.