Pressfield talks about shadow careers and addiction in Turning Pro. One of my favorite passages is this:
Addictions are not “bad.” They are simply the shadow forms of a more noble and exalted calling. Our addictions are our callings themselves, only encrypted and incognito.
They are a metaphor for our best selves, the coded version of our higher aspirations.
Addictions and shadow careers are messages in a bottle from our unconscious. Our Self, in the Jungian sense, is trying to get our attention, to have an intervention with us.
In my life, my toughest addiction has been pornography. Secret Self Sex is the inversion of letting my love shine out to the world. It’s the shadow career for sharing my love and my talents with the world. True to Pressfield’s words, it’s like a secret map that tells me what I need to do in life.
In a way, my addiction has been telling me to Turn Pro for my whole life. Or at least since age 11, or whenever it first was that I saw pornography and internalized it. Turning Pro for me means to share my love outwardly instead of inwardly by myself. And I really don’t have to be perfectly beautiful while I’m doing it.
By becoming our best selves, we express our love for the universe. We express our love for God, whatever that may mean to us, by giving directly from the God in us to the rest of the world. In a way, starting our true career in life is nothing more than becoming a monk in living our personal calling.