Taking Off Your Ball-N-Chain And Liberating Your Soul: On Attachment

by Dr. Christopher on August 22, 2013

“Attachment is the great fabricator of illusions; reality can be attained only by someone who is detached.” ~Simone Weil

ball and chain

Allow me to set the scene.

I’d just spent a gut-wrenching, soul-liberating, ego-dropping weekend in Mexico where the fifteen or so other good-life seekers were looking to experience the same.

Phoenix-life transformation not only in our business lives, but in our whole selves.

And then it happened.

“You’re an addict.  And if you don’t stop, you’re going to die” she told me, gazing into my soul with tears in her eyes.   I like to refer to this woman as Guardian Angel #1.

Wow!  I thought to myself.  A ton of sh**-covered bricks just landed on me.  I’ve been labeled an “addict”?  Wow!!

I mean, I have been known to be the person who abuses alcohol for the wrong reasons.  If I was going to a party and I knew girls would be there, I’d drink 5 beers beforehand to remove social awkwardness.  If I was hating reality and crying so much that I didn’t want to experience life at the moment because of a lack in coping skills, I’d finish that bottle of vodka.

But an addict of alcohol?  At the ripe, mature age of 28?  She was selling it, but I wasn’t sure if I was buying it.

Before leaving Mexico in Cancun International Airport, I asked Guardian Angel #2 who witnessed the sh**-brick dropping …

“Why do I have to stop drinking alcohol? I don’t abuse it anymore like I used to.  Am I really an addict?”

“Whether you’re an addict or not is probably irrelevant.  Even if you don’t abuse it, most people don’t realize the attachments they have to things in their life.  Your soul thrives the most when it is free of all attachments” responded GA#2 with gentleness.  “In order to let your light shine the most, you need to be free of attachment.”

“Touche GA#2.”

What’s your Ball-n-Chain?

You know they’re all the same, don’t you?

I’m talking about our addictions.  We’re all addicted to something.  If we’re spiritually savvy enough, we call them attachments because we attach these things to our ego (simply understood as your personal identity in this current life), empowering the ego with a false sense of greater magnitude.

Our attachments act as little ball-n-chains.

Picture your little, yet gigantic, soul moving to higher and higher levels of consciousness, surpassing buildings, trees, skyscrapers, mountains, and birds.  Our wings are flapping, flapping away.  Yet, we’re carrying extra baggage.

Without those ball-n-chains, how much higher would our wings be able to take us?

A Ball-n-Chain is anything that causes your response about stopping said activity is: “You mean I have to give up ______?  When pigs fly, I’ll give up ______.”

You can plug in any of the below words from the Ball-n-Chain List below into the blanks above:

Substances: Cigarettes, marijuana, alcohol, cocaine, heroine, pain-killers, OTC drugs, grains, chocolate, sugar, processed foods, dairy, coffee.

Hobbies: Television, video games, excessive exercise, anything that puts you in a Flow state, sex (not to be confused with the metaphysical, meditative type of sex that comes when you’re unified with another person beyond the physical, instinctual reproductive urge that is inherent in everyone)

People: boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife, son/daughter, mentor, teacher, best friend.

Your Role in Life: “I’m a chiropractor”, “I’m a mentor”, “I’m a musician”, “I’m a mother or father”, “I’m a friend”, “I’m young”.

Regardless of what your ball-n-chain is, they’re all attachments.  They prevent you from experiencing the most in the present tense.  The NOW.  Living in today.  Because the preciousness of today is gone in twenty-four hours.  And we’ll never get it back.

How To Take Off Your Ball-n-Chain

I still drink alcohol and smoke marijuana.

But, I’ve tested myself and gone without for months.

I still eat food.

But, I’ve tested myself by fasting for 60 hours at a time and continue to fast intermittently almost every day.

I still watch television.

But, I’ve gone three weeks without.

I’m a chiropractor and I love to help people live healthier and happier lives.

But, could I exist in this reality without fulfilling this role and be happy?  My heart answers “Yes, I could.”

I see my other roles as “husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, teacher, speaker, author.”

Could I exist today, in the twenty-first century, without fulfilling these roles?  My heart answer “I think so.”

Our spirits want freedom.  Our spirits want to take off the shackles of the ball-n-chains in order to experience the most of this life.  The beauty of this moment, awareness of the way that tree is bending and the flower that took the time to bloom.  To vibrate on such a high metaphysical level that no external condition can affect it.  No divorce, no break-up, no death, no job change, no injury, no disease.

Questions for you, fellow humble observer, my dear friend.

1.   What are your ball-n-chains?  What are your attachments?

2.  What would life look like without those ball-n-chains or attachments?

3.  What type of time period could you use to test your ego’s attachments to those things?

One Last Point

Attachments reinforce our rooting in the matrix.  They can make life seem palatable when we’re not in tune with reality.

Our attachments become less palatable when we strengthen our connection to true existence.

True existence is …

Awareness of the miraculous moment that happens when you wake up and wiggle your toes, the sun shining through your window, the crickets and birds whistling, the flowers in bloom, the purple-pink sunset through the clouds, the ability to walk on these two feet, to give another person a hug, to pet a dog, to hike up a mountain, to swim in the ocean, to feel the rain drops on your head.

Connection to now and to the simple fact that you are alive immediately weakens the integrity of the chain that holds you back.

Life is beautiful.

I find myself asking the question often: “Am I an addict?”

If an addict is defined as someone who can’t get away from something, even when he/she wants to get away, then “No”.  I can go without.

If an addict is someone who can’t get enough of the bright, bold, orange moon that smiles down on me like it did the last two nights, then happily, I’ll reply with a scream: “Whoop WHOOP”!


Dr. Christopher Stepien is a chiropractor, chronic pain specialist (whether physical, mental, or spiritual pain), A.R.T. provider, and clinic director of the Barefoot Rehabilitation Clinic  and Movement Specialist at Heroes Journey Crossfit in Parsippany, NJ. He has been trained under the Integrative Diagnosis system for “clinical excellence”. Please reach out to him if he can be of a service in any way. It doesn’t hurt to ask.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

AM August 22, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Very thought provoking. Awesome article!

Dr. Christopher August 22, 2013 at 6:50 pm

Smiles AM.

DK August 23, 2013 at 12:12 am

Great article Chris. I enjoy when you blog. answer time

1. Its funny to say but my ball n chains or attachments right now are trying not to have any. I want to be a minimalist and live freely, off the land, and in the perfect place. Second attachment trying to find that perfect place. It might be time for me to make a perfect place and not find one…….(don’t tell Kristin she might be right).

2. without those ball and chains I might be content and happy. Hmmmmmm

3. time period to test my attachments? Well I don’t know. Ask me in a year, that sounds good.

Dr. Christopher August 25, 2013 at 11:05 am


I like #1. Your last sentence makes sense to me too. I experienced that when I left Asheville and came back to NJ. Also, do know you’re an inspiration to me as well as far as your freeing yourself from attachments.

Ha, I’ll ask you on 8/25/14.

J.D. Meier October 13, 2013 at 4:53 pm

> Your soul thrives the most when it is free of all attachments”
> Our attachments act as little ball-n-chains.

Beautiful stuff.

It’s funny how deep and daring the dance between engagement without attachment needs to be, to set ourselves free.
J.D. Meier recently posted..37 Inspirational Quotes That Will Change Your Life

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