Addictions, Habits, and Obsessions: Breaking the Circle

Circular Reasoning
The way out of circular reasoning is to break the circle by exposing the reasoning as false.

Help! I’m addicted to food, drugs, porn, sex, washing my hands, television, cleaning, pleasing people, watching CNN, Facebook, Toddlers and Tiaras, gambling, wearing my wife’s bra…


Addictions, Habits and Obsessions

I often get questions on the topic of obsessions, habits, and addictions and decided it was time to write a post.  This is a long one, but I wanted to cover all aspects of this issue.  It isn’t as complex as people make it out to be.  But it takes some practice to break these old thought patterns, much like learning to walk or riding a bike takes a few tries to master.  On the positive side, our addictions, habits, and obsessions often consume lots of our energy, and healing them can create massive change in many aspects of our life.

While these problems look like different topics and some have different labels in the therapeutic community, they are all the same because the mental pattern (or cause) is the same.

When I was in the sixth grade, an obsessive thought kept popping into my mind telling me to wash my hands. I remember thinking that the thought owned me; I didn’t own the thought. If we perceive that we don’t own something, we don’t feel that we have the right to change it or chase it away.  I felt that I was stuck with this thought.  I had to obey it.  It felt bigger than me.  This is very important to notice.

In truth, I didn’t originate the thought. I had internalized my parents’ and teachers’ voices who said, “Go wash your hands.  You’ll get sick if you don’t wash your hands.” The thought was simply repeating like a tape recorder.

You think your thoughts; they don’t think you.  But often it feels like they’re thinking us when they have gained lots of momentum.

The voice that wanted me to wash my hands was a recording of adult authorities in my life.  I believed what they said, and I didn’t feel that I had the right to question them.  So, I obeyed their voices in my mind just as I would in real life.  You must recognize that if your mother says, “Go wash your hands,” you do it because she is the authority in your relationship (when you are small).  Your mind simply internalizes the voices of your authorities so that you can be good.  We want to obey our authority figures before they ask us to obey so we can avoid punishment.


Voices of the Gods

In the ancient world, the voices in our mind were called the Gods.  People had lots of Gods because they recognized that they had lots of voices in their minds.  They also called them ancestors.  Later all the Gods were merged into one, and the voices in our mind became God.  If we think that God is talking to us, we’re powerless to let that voice go.  Who are we compared to God?  So when people confuse their mental voices with God, they are screwed.  Worst case, they might kill someone like Abraham nearly did.  Best case, they might do a good deed.  But they miss out on a truly creative and perfect solution because they can only behave from memory.

Our inner voice can sound important, strict, critical or loud, like something you should obey.  It can sound like that Old Testament punishing, jealous, angry God.  But that wasn’t really God in the Old Testament; it was the voices in Moses or Abraham’s mind speaking, which they called God in those times.  They were recordings of authorities in their life that they obeyed.  All of these so-called Pantheons were one aspect of the mind; the other aspect was the True spark of God, the Creator from Genesis I, who sees all as good and creates with one powerful all-loving thought.  The ancient people recognized both Gods.  But they were clear, the one God was the loving one.  The pantheon was a royal mess.

The voices are simply recordings of things you’ve heard from others.  They aren’t God talking to you.

Our minds are wonderful machines (but they are machines); we train them to memorize meaningless bullshit so that we can get good grades in school.  They just do as they are told.  They listen to authorities, remember their words, and spit the memorized data back upon request.  A fallen mind is a mind that ignores the Creator God and listens to all those people outside of their mind, their authority figures.

That wasn’t the original plan, our minds were designed to hold and implement creative ideas.  But we started listening to others instead of our True Self because the others scared the shit out of us.

One day, I went to wash my hands; they were so cracked and dry that they hurt, and I got silent and just stared at them. A kind, calm voice inside me said, “This was just a phase. You’ll grow out of it.”  Within a week, the obsessive thinking was gone along with the habit.  My hands were very happy, and my mind was quiet again.

What was that new voice?  It was just a recording too.  My parents often saw me as going through phases that would pass in time.  The helpful thought was still a recording, but it caused me to no longer believe the hand-washing voice.  Once I didn’t listen to my inner germaphobe, it lost power and dissolved.

The kind voice was from an authority as well.  I suspect there was a comparison that happened in my mind that determined that the kind voice had more authority than the germaphobic voice.  This is the normal sort of correction that people experience if they make a doctor, therapist, or coach who believes in them greater than their critical or addictive voice.  Of course it also happens the other way where someone believes the doctor’s words and can’t heal or dies.  When our authority is outside of us, we are tossed by the current of those we consider in charge in any moment.  My problem was solved for now, but I was still listening to outer authority so I created more problems later on to solve.


Circular Reasoning

The obsession started with a thought from another that I believed, and it repeated like a good recording does, and I believed it every time I heard it.  Because I heard it from an authority, I presumed it to be true.  I ignored the fact that the thought didn’t feel good when I heard it.  We all do this with authorities because we are afraid of them.  We believe their words when their words clearly don’t feel good.  We even choose to listen to emotionally charged spiritual leaders.

In the ancient world, those who created using emotions were considered occult — they were not the people you wanted to follow.  Today we call them inspirational speakers because we have lost our natural discrimination.

What I must say here is that I do this with people in sessions and workshops, and they are always amazed the first time they realize that they were getting an emotional signal not to believe someone, and they completely ignored it.  Usually the earliest times were with strong authority figures at a young age.  Later it just became a habit.  So reversing an addiction requires challenging the habit of believing emotionally charged thoughts or emotionally charged people.

Each time I believed this germaphobic voice, I definitely felt emotion.  The emotion was saying, “Don’t believe it.  It is not true. Ignore the hand-washing voice.”  But I ignored the emotional guidance again and again.  I kept washing my hands.  As the emotion grew, the belief gained in power.  So I believed it more.  I kept accepting the thought as true. So it kept giving me the thought.  My false mind was doing its job, and it was caught in circular reasoning; the circle had no end.  It would repeat until I either broke it or died.

I was like Pavlov’s Dog.  I obviously recognized that washing my hands caused the emotion to disappear.  And that was because doing so caused the thought that I should wash my hands to disappear for a while.  Doing the requested action broke the circle — for a while.  But later, some trigger would set off the recording again and I’d go into automatic.  The runaway train was in motion, and I felt powerless to stop it.

When I stopped and listened to the calm voice, I could feel that whole big ball of belief arise in me.  I could feel all the emotions that I been ignoring.  I wanted to stop them by washing my hands, but for once I didn’t.  The calm voice then broke the circular reasoning instead of the action of washing my hands.  As soon as I knew the thought was just a recording, and it wasn’t true; it slowly lost its force and power.  Once I no longer believed the thought, it disappeared. That is just how our mind works.

Our brains work exactly like tape recorders or computers. What you put in is what you have inside until you take it out. People try to make it all so damn complex and that is either because they can charge you lots and lots of money to fix the effects of your problem or they just don’t understand the mind.  You can’t learn about the mind in school.  You learn about the mind by tearing your own mind apart.

Labeling a Problem is the Worst Thing You Can Do.  

It is sad that our health system puts a label on everything.  That is the worst thing we can do when trying to heal a habit, addiction, or obsession.  It makes letting go even harder.  Now in addition to the disempowering belief, we also have a label to let go.  And if we have pride in our label, we are officially screwed.  Nothing is really fixed until we fix the cause because fixing the cause breaks the circle for good.

Fixing the cause isn’t complex once you recognize you don’t have problems, you don’t have whatever you were labeled. You simply have repetitive beliefs.  Beliefs are simply thoughts that have been relabeled as true.

Take the LIE out of Belief, and you can just BE.

People with obsessive minds and addictions all have one thing in common. When thoughts arise that generate emotion, they ignore the emotion and feed the thought. All problems stem from this psychological reversal; it is the architecture of the illusory world. It creates addictions, diseases, and wars.  You can’t create diseases or problems without this psychological mechanism.  It is actually sort of a miracle that we have become so competent at this ridiculous behavior.


Hypnosis and Beliefs

My first discovery around this idea came from working as a hypnotherapist.  They say that hypnosis is going to sleep, but I saw quickly that it is really becoming awake.  What looks unconscious when you are in the beta state of mind or waking consciousness is crystal clear in the alpha state of mind or hypnosis.

People were so honest under hypnosis when their persona wasn’t running the show.  I’d say, “Go to the causal thought” and they would.  They didn’t lie or try to cover it up; they did what I asked them to do immediately.  It was then that I realized that is how we are when we are born.  We think in cause and effect.  We know we are the cause of our lives.  People take advantage of that purity — some do it knowingly and others by accident.

I was an unusual hypnotherapist.  I never put a belief into my client’s minds even though I was trained to do so.  It felt bad to do that, and I’d seen that putting a belief on top of a belief doesn’t free someone. I would help the clients to see that their beliefs might not be true, and we’d find the cause of their problems.  Then they could let the cause go or not.  I gave them freedom of choice.

I knew I was on to something because of the miracles that I experienced.  But not everyone chose to let go; some felt that the problem was a meaningful part of their life.  My job was not to judge their decision or try to sway them.

Here was the process.  I’d get the client into the alpha state of mind, and then ask them to go back to an event.  They would do that easily.  Then I’d ask them to rewind the event a little more, and they would do it.  I’d ask them what they were thinking, and BINGO there was the causal thought.  Then I’d ask them if it was true, and most would say no.  Often they could even say who gave them the belief.  This was so natural; none of them knew any of what I’ve shared with you about the mind and its inner workings.

I, myself, didn’t yet understand the emotional connection.  I’d ask them if they wanted to drop the causal thought and see if another thought would arise, and most would say yes.  If they did, they would see a completely different outcome in their mind when they replayed the scene to the end.  We’d let go of the cause until we got a causal thought that produced the desired result.

All they did was change the causal belief and allow the change to flow through their mind and into their reality.  When they came back to the beta or waking state of mind, the memory would be different; and the problem would be gone from their life.  Oddly, they still had the old memory as well, but it was more like a dream.  They saw it as an illusion that they used to believe, which is exactly what it was.

Many ask why I don’t do that now, and it was because it was so damn slow.  I did make lots of money, but I wanted to help more people.  I realized that if I worked with one client for years every day, I still could not undo all their beliefs.  I wanted to find a way that people could do this on their own without hypnotism, without an expensive hypnotherapist.

So I had to find the trigger in the conscious mind that allows the identification and removal of the belief.  And that was the recognition that beliefs that are not meant to be part of our life don’t feel good.  They have an emotional part.  It is not that we can’t have beliefs, or all beliefs are bad, they are simply limitations.  If we don’t want that limitation, we get an emotional signal to warn us we are heading off our path.  If we let the causal belief go, the emotion stops.

In other words, when we don’t mind our own business, our own True Self; and we put other people’s beliefs in our mind, we get a signal, a shock from our energy system saying, “Stop, don’t do that.”  But if we believe the thought anyway, often because it came from an authority, and we store the belief in our mind and emotion in our body, we screw up our lives.

Now let me just say a word on what people call “good” beliefs.  All beliefs are either limiting or covering up a limitation.  In order to balance bad beliefs, some people put in good beliefs.  You believe you have a disease, then you believe that wearing a stone heals the disease.  That accomplishes the goal of getting rid of the disease, but the causal belief will manifest somewhere else in your life.  One of my son’s friends told me that Feng Shui is “the art of moving shit around.”  When it comes to beliefs, we are all Feng Shui masters.


Sometimes You Have to U-Turn

One time I was in the car with my family, and my dad made a wrong turn.  My mom said, “Just go back,” but he said, “I’ll correct it at the next intersection.”  But that correction didn’t get back to the right road, so he corrected again at the next intersection.  In theory, his idea was good, but the roads didn’t connect and never would have.  By the third or fourth turn, my mother was screaming with emotion.  You see, with each turn, he was accepting another belief in his mind, and she was giving him the sign that his belief was wrong.  But he didn’t listen to her, and we got to live through an hour of hell.  Eventually, he had to retrace his path and get back on the right road.  We then could continue toward our destination in peace.

Everything I write or do in sessions is about telling people to U-turn.  You aren’t going to reconnect to your path as long as you keep fixing the same belief with another belief.  People don’t like when I say, “You are going down a road that will never, ever get you to where you want to go.”  They keep insisting that if they just visualize what they want or go on the diet or take one more class or get one more therapy session or buy one more rock, the problem will go away.  Sometimes it does go away only to appear as a new problem somewhere else.  Fixing the effect will get rid of a problem, but it won’t get rid of all problems.  To get rid of all problems, you’ve got to U-turn, fix the cause, and go back to your True Self’s path.


Erasing the Addiction Tape

Let’s say you have an addiction to candy. Your mind has played a tape, a pattern of thought for a while when the urge comes up for the candy.  But most people only hear their mind when it gives them something to do.  They ignore their mind the majority of the time. If you begin to watch your mind 24/7, you’ll find there is nothing unconscious. There are thoughts you pay attention to and thoughts you ignore.  There are thoughts you identify with and thoughts you think relate to someone else.  All of your thoughts combined form the world you see, the life you live, and the body you inhabit.

Now before I say more, the goal of this mental technique is not to get you to not have the candy bar. It is simply to reveal and let go of the series of beliefs that are causing you to be stuck in addiction to the candy such that you feel you can’t say no. The reason you give in to the addiction is not for the taste of the candy. It is to stop the thoughts and emotions from driving you insane. You are stuck in circular reasoning.  Eating the candy stops the circle.

So the goal is to take back your power from your false mind (that is stuck in circular reasoning) so that if you do have the candy, you enjoy it. When we do anything from addiction, habit, or obsession, it is never enjoyable. That is important to notice.


Become the Witness

In any moment, you can witness your mind and see what thoughts are playing. You just watch your mind like you watch television.  To find out why you want the candy, you must find the causal thought. You have to discover that need or want the candy is fulfilling since it is clearly not the taste of the candy.  You don’t have to be in hypnosis to do this, you can simply relax and watch your mind think.

Be an observer of your mind.  One way to do this is to get quiet and focus on your body.  Put your attention on any place in your body that is uncomfortable.  Notice the emotions in your body that you want to stop.  Some people pretend to open a door in their body and direct the emotion out (that is fine).  However, the purpose of the emotion is to lead you to the causal thought.  If you continue to witness it, thoughts will arise.  They will be causal thoughts.

Whatever thoughts arise are causal thoughts.

If you watch your feelings without labeling them a craving or addiction, without trying to figure them out, then you will eventually hear other thoughts and those are the causal thoughts.  Don’t dismiss them even if they seem unrelated.  Simply recognize them as untrue.  Your job is to let go (not believe) whatever thoughts you hear in your mind without judging them.

When I do this in my mind, I merely acknowledge that the thoughts don’t feel good, so my emotions are telling me they aren’t true.  I’ve learned to trust that my emotions aren’t lying.  It isn’t always that easy.  Some people’s emotions have been twisted and turned in strange ways by the authorities in their life.  If I’m unsure, I ask myself, “Is this thought win-win? Would it be fair and helpful to everyone on the planet?”  You have to get truthful, and sometimes it feels like lying at first because you’ve been told the opposite for so long.  Sometimes I have to say it more than once.  Sometimes I have to repeat it for awhile. When I don’t believe the thought anymore, it will disappear.

The reason this is not easy is because our minds really believe the thoughts every time we hear them.  We have to break that cycle.  Be persistent and patient, and you will succeed.

Human beings have problems because we’ve all lost our natural discrimination.  Now I’ll warn you, those thoughts that arise out of the body sensation or emotion will seem to be true. But the biggest ah ha moment of my life was when I realized that any, and I do mean any, thought that arises along with emotion is a belief. It is not true. I don’t care who told you that it was true.  They only thought it was true because they believed it and then saw evidence in their life of it.

To the mind, truth is what you say it is.  If you believe it, it is as good as true.  When I realized that, I realized how crucial my thoughts were.  I realized that I didn’t want to have thoughts that were not win-win.  I didn’t want to mold another’s life based on beliefs I held in my mind.  That intention pushed me to let go and let go.  It simply gave me back my natural discrimination.  I’m not a magical channel or psychic; I’m far from it.  I simply let go of anything in my mind that is harmful to me or others.  People don’t realize how much they harm they do until they do this work.

Many wonder how Jesus healed, and it is simple.  He didn’t have beliefs.  So his True Self connected with the True Self of the other and together they easily facilitated a cure.  Isn’t it funny that systems of beliefs have arisen based on a man who had no beliefs.  Think about that one.  It will drive you to addiction.  Just joking; don’t think about it.


You Can’t Let Go of Truth

Real truth, like unconditional love, peace, or freedom can’t be eliminated.  You can cover real truth with beliefs, but you can’t let it go.  In other words, you can’t mess this up.  People ask me how I know religions and politicians are lying.  It is simple.  They are not speaking from win-win, not moving toward freedom, and their words don’t feel good.  We don’t need any other proof.  We were born with the perfect discrimination system until someone hot-wired it.

Once you recognize that something is not true, it starts to lose power. It is like hitting the delete key on your computer, and it really can be that easy. The only reason it is harder is because we have all these other beliefs.  Even worse our beliefs connect us to others in our family, friends, and community.  So they reinforce the beliefs in us.

We also have thoughts that relate to the addiction or obsession.  The mind says, “I’ve always been an emotional eater,” “I come from a long line of fat people, ” “My therapists says I have OCD, ADHD, ADD, AIDS, LOL, and WTF.” “I deserve the candy bar.” “I need some energy.” It could even bring up an old memory of eating chocolate and try to turn the emotion into sentiment or love.  I could go on and on with examples of how the false mind creates complexes of lies.  And you will be sick when you see how much you’ve paid doctors and therapists to keep your mind stuck when all you had to do was let go.

The false mind, simply repeats the same old lines and you feel the same old emotion every time it runs its tapes. You’ve heard them over and over, your friend’s all agree they are true, and your authority figures have told you that you can’t cure them. You are a mental slave, and only you can free yourself.


Initiation, The Path to Freedom

Initiation had one purpose and one purpose only, which was freedom. But it wasn’t outer freedom; it was inner freedom. Inner freedom means that you are the gate-keeper of your mind. When beliefs come to the gate that are not true, you recognize they don’t feel good, you turn them away, you give them no attention, and you return to living your perfect life.  Your free will is your gate keeper that has the right to reject any belief that another gives you.  We all need to exercise that right in every aspect of our life.

The process is incredibly easy. The reason it takes so long and feels so hard is that we have trained our minds to accept any piece of crap that we hear. And our minds have become very good at proving the crap to be true. True is what you really are, and no True Self is an addict or obsessed.

If you pay attention to people who are successful in any area of life, they do this naturally.  We all have areas where we simply don’t believe other people; we just know who we are.  We follow our True Self and it works.  If we can do it in one area of life, we can do it in all areas.  We were born to be free and to be our uniques Selves.  Now go free your mind!


Western meditation and the mental delete key are other resources on this topic.



Cathy Eck is a true pioneer always pushing the boundaries of thought and beliefs. Cathy is courageous about exposing the status quo. While her ideas might not be popular, they are effective, practical, and true. They create unity where division once existed. They create love where hate had reigned. They create joy where pain and sorrow were once normal. They are ideas worth considering and hopefully embracing.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. carrita


    Love your work. It is making a difference in my life.

    Twice today I caught myself feeling an emotion,immediately I started to ruminate and then reached for a cigarette. It happened so fast and I was so excited to see it that I have no idea what I was even thinking about.

    I get more determined with each success.


    1. Cathy

      I’m glad it’s helpful

  2. Ashley


    This was a really good article! And it touched on something that I had already started thinking about — and that is what my past experience with OCD has to teach me about what I’m going through now.

    I too had the hand washing obsession at one point, and I too washed my hands until they were red and raw. However, I didn’t hear that calm voice telling me it was a phase.

    For years my “obsessions” only left when they were replaced by a new thing to occupy myself with. I think, on some level, I became bored with them when I realized I was fine after several months of blindly following compulsions.

    Things got dicey though when I had my first blasphemous religious thought. I was raised in the Episcopal church and was even an acolyte. I feared being sent to hell.

    And I actually would say things like, “That’s not true!” It’s a lie. But the more I paid attention to it, even to argue with it, the stronger and more frequent it got.

    I eventually just said FUCK this! I want nothing to do with a God who would allow me to have this affliction and send me to hell for it. I realized the whole thing was ridiculous. And the thoughts went away. I broke the cycle. Although, I still had this annoying habit of keeping my mind busy with mantras and meaningless phrases; like I was trying to protect the walls of my mind from intruders getting in.

    I think I was able to let go of the OCD because on a deep level, my true self realized it wasn’t true. Even though before I was telling myself, “No, this is a lie. Don’t believe it…” I wasn’t really sure. And because I wasn’t really sure, it only increased the frequency of the thought when I talked back to it. I was giving it fuel with my attention.

    This made me think about the process of letting go as described on your blog. And how it really isn’t so much about what you say. I can label something a lie until the cows come home, but it doesn’t mean squat unless something really “clicks” within me.

    Then, the question becomes – How do you REALLY recognize something as a lie? How do you get the “click?”

    I suppose the answer would be because it doesn’t feel good, and anything that doesn’t feel good is a lie. Even, this statement in itself is a belief, which requires taking a chance.

    So, it would seem the answer would be to continually remind yourself that the emotional unease is the cue that you’re believing a lie… until it becomes a belief on it’s own. And, on some level, you just have to decide to trust that feeling inside that says, “Life isn’t supposed to be this way. This just isn’t right.”

    It also seems like something “supernatural” happens in that we aren’t letting go with our false self. We are able to let go because we have found alignment with our true self in that moment.

    Back to the OCD… I now see it as a defense mechanism. It’s like — there are thoughts/beliefs that are so emotionally disturbing the subconscious mind doesn’t want them to get out… So this thing called OCD is created that distracts you from really looking at the old emotions and beliefs…

    Which, in my case, I have no memory of receiving them in my formative years. Although, I know it happened because of the family history that has been shared with me.

    1. Cathy

      Hi Ashley,
      The only thing that I would add is that saying a belief is a lie isn’t just a belief. We were designed to experience emotions when we thought something that wasn’t true. We came that way. So it isn’t just a belief that gives us the permission to say, “That thought isn’t true.” This is key because this is where your power is hidden and it is the point of everything I write on this blog. But I’m going up against a big belief system that says that something that generates emotions can be true. People have manifested shit that felt bad over and over again. They don’t realize they manifested it because they believed things that generated emotion. They fell into the illusion.

      Churches want us to believe that the truth has no power; they want us to think we lost our True Self that knows this. They don’t want to be exposed. If we truly get that we all came hard wired, out of the box (womb), with this amazing talent to be a human lie detector system and to know when someone was telling us something untrue, we get our power back. So that distinction is very key. Understanding that might make it easier for you to let go.

      People let go all the time without realizing it. Sometimes it is out of sheer desperation; they just stop fighting and their True Self steps in and causes them to let go. In that moment, they know that what was happening is an illusion even if that knowing isn’t conscious. I’m simply giving words and conscious recognition to something that we all do naturally. I’m explaining the rules of the game so everyone can play in it.

      Practice is what helps with this. Imagine going to a doctor and he says you have a horrible illness. Now you will get emotions when you hear that, and you want to be able to discriminate and know that he is seeing you through his eyes, his illusion. There is nothing wrong with you. Your True Self is saying that with the emotion it is sending to you. Now the battle begins in your mind. He is an authority and he feels so powerful; he has expertise. You don’t. Can you be true to yourself in this moment with this expert. This is what the game of life is about. We all have different challenges that we must defeat. But all of us are fighting the same battle. Hope that helps. Cathy

  3. Helle

    Excellent article, Cathy! Loved it : )

    I am addicted to sweets – cookies, pastries, chocolate, licorice!! My 4 favorite food groups.
    But you are right – I often eat something sweet just to stop that intense emotion that drives me crazy for the sugar. The only thing that stops the feeling is eating something sweet – I can’t relax until I’ve fed the craving! I’ve tried a few times to just watch my mind for thoughts, but the feeling is so intense I can’t do that. Guess the thing to do is to anticipate the emotion and start to observe the mind before it gains too much momentum.

    Thanks – this was wonderful!
    : ) Helle

    1. gatewaytogold

      I suspect that most addictions come about because someone said they are bad for you or you can’t have them. It never made sense to me that something that tastes good could really be bad for you. Food is an area filled with beliefs. Beliefs make money.

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