I think I’ve chased about everything there is to chase is hopes of being ‘happy,’ feeling good (or even just better), or trying to forget something I’d just as soon not deal with.
Don’t get me wrong, I love all of life’s little indulgences . . . BUT, there came a time that I had to be real. Whatever I tried, the ‘feel-good’ just didn’t last, and I was looking for something that would.
I didn’t actually start consistently changing my choices until I made the decision to look at EVERY COPING MECHANISM I was using as a DRUG.
So, I’d like to ask you. . .When you hear the word ‘addict,’ what comes to mind?
BEFORE READING ANOTHER WORD, CLOSE YOUR EYES AND SPEND 10 SECONDS LETTING AN IMAGE FORM
I’ll wait. . .
The first image that flashes in my mind is the stereotypical drug addict or alcoholic who’s lost everything because of their addiction to something other than themselves, something other than their life, their goals . . . their value.
But once I thought about it and became very honest with myself, I had to admit that while I may not be a stereotypical addict, I’ve done the same thing—that is, given over to things that don’t reflect my goals and my values. Things like food, shopping, sex, power and prestige, drugs and alcohol, and even relationships. You know, the same coping mechanisms a lot of people use.
It’s really no coincidence that chocolate (or any sugar for that matter) tastes really good. It causes the release of serotonin (a brain chemical that makes us feel happy, although it’s happy is short-lived). So does having something new in the closet or driveway, so does sex, so does receiving an award, a bonus check, or a promotion. So do alcohol and drugs.
In fact, some of these choices cause the release of other brain chemicals as well such as dopamine and oxytocin. And yes, you guessed it, we like these just as much as we like our serotonin.
So I had to ask myself, when I make the choice to indulge in a rush of quick ‘feel-good’ (you know, eating for taste alone rather than nutrition, buying more things I don’t need rather than saving for what I do need, using relationships and physical interactions for self validation rather than for love, working for a bigger bank account and recognition rather than integrity or helping others, drinking to numb the pain rather than facing reality). . . am I really much different than that person I visualized in my mind when I heard the word ‘addict’?
If we want to change the what, why, and how we eat, shop, have relationships, work, or spend our leisure time, the first thing we need to do is accept what these things are to us. Do we indulge in these things because we truly enjoy them, or have we become addicted? Which choices reflect our self-value and lead us to our goals, and which choices do the opposite?
I hope that once you begin to answer these questions honestly, you, too, can begin to live your value, one choice at a time.