How Do I Get Rid Of My Addictions?Posted by Psychologist on Apr 5, 2012 in Articles by Ken | 34 comments
“There are addicts in my family, but does that mean I will be one too?”
Addictions are common and new ones are coming!…
Addictions are rampant throughout our species and have always been so. The only real change is in the form they take. They come in many varieties and new ones are emerging as we speak. There is already talk of “video game addictions” among our youth. And, on the news this week there was a report of some people becoming depressed due to their “Facebook” addiction.
Everyone is an addict in some form!
So the answer to the question above is, “Yes, you are an addict…lucky for you!” Let me explain what I mean. Everyone is really a collection of both negative and positive addictions. Every addiction, regardless of whether it is viewed by society as positive or negative, is really both negative and positive since this perception is determined by the observer. So basically I can view anything as an addiction if I perceive it as interfering with my value system.
For example, if you perceive your partner as watching too much television, sleeping too much, or eating too much broccoli you could view these activities as addictions. You have probably heard the saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!” Well, this can be applied to addictions. While society gives special attentions to some addictions which interfere with community values, there are others which don’t interfere and so are not viewed as addictions, or at least not yet. You may know someone who exercises so much that it interferes with their health in aspects of either their physical health with strained muscles or broken bones, or their emotional health in regards to relationship conflicts. To you this may appear to be a negative addiction, but to them it is important part of their life and an aspect of their personality. An individuals’ viewpoint on a specific habit, or addiction, is based on their own personal moral standards and value system.
The seven kinds of addictions!
Since our universe does not permit vacuums, and the law of conservation prevails throughout nature, we really can’t get rid of an addiction. We can only replace an addiction with something else. There are seven kinds of addictions mirroring the seven areas of life. Each of us goes from one to another throughout our life in our quest for self appreciation. It has been said an addiction is simply a tool used to learn there is no pleasure without equal pain…in compliance with nature’s law of symmetry.
Let me offer some brief examples of each type of addiction. Please take note of the ones you have experienced and how you moved from one to another in your evolution to where you are now:
- Physical Health Addictions such as; exaggerated attention placed on food, prescription drugs, sports, or exercising.
- Familial Addictions such as; exaggerated attention directed towards spouse, children, siblings, grandchildren, or parents.
- Social Addictions such as; exaggerated attention placed on friendships, sexuality, giving, or volunteerism.
- Financial Addictions such as; exaggerated attention placed on making money, spending money, saving, or gambling.
- Vocational Addictions such as; exaggerated attention placed on work, career advancement, or dangerous occupations.
- Mental Addictions such as; exaggerated attention placed on alcohol / street drugs, collecting learning credentials, or psychological labels.
- Spiritual Addictions such as; exaggerated attention placed on religious belief systems, scientific research results, or church work.
When the reason is important enough to us we will quite readily change our addictions from one form to another. When the “why” is big enough we will find the “how” to do it part.
Let’s take a couple of examples.
- A woman whose food addiction almost killed her!
I met a woman whose physical health was in jeopardy due to her food addiction. Her physician told her unless she got control of her weight she would die. She was close to 400 pounds and her joints and organs were deteriorating rapidly. She said she wanted to lose weight and now had a clear “why”. She spent some time understanding how her addiction had served her well up to now protecting her from the hurt of rejection. Now she was ready to move on.
When I explained to her that she can’t lose weight because the laws of nature do not allow it she looked at me with a confused stare. I said, “ Albert Einstein proved matter and energy are constant and can’t be created or destroyed, they can only be transformed from one form to another.”
She still looked bewildered, so I added, “I think what you really seek to do is to transform some of your weight to another form. I believe that you are seeking to transform some of your weight into either a new form of mass or a new form of energy.”
She half smiled as her face lit up in this state of new awareness. “Yes!” she said. We went on to identify various ways she could change some of her weight into either another form of matter like surgically removed body fat, or another form of energy like an hour long swim three times a week. She eventually chose the latter and within 12 months had transformed 60 pounds of her weight into energy.
However, some of her friends were inconvenienced by her new addiction which they felt cost them precious time with her. She however much preferred this new addiction over her old addiction because it more closely aligned with her current value of a healthier body.
- A man whose work addiction was killing his marriage!
I met a man whose marriage was in jeopardy due to his work addiction. His spouse and children had been telling him for a long time they felt neglected, ignored, and forgotten. He worked 50-60 hours weekly and while they had all the distinctions of success as defined by society, their marriage and family life was in crisis. His wife decided to divorce him after 24 years of marriage. He said he wanted to bring balance to his life and now he had a clear “why” to do it. He spend some time understanding how his work addiction had served him by helping him to deal with his fear of poverty. Now he was ready to move on.
When I explained to him that he couldn’t get rid of his work addiction without replacing it with a new addiction he looked at me with a bewildered expression. I said, “Albert Einstein proved matter and energy are constant and can’t be created or destroyed, only transformed from one form to another.”
He still looked confused, so I said, “I think if you really seek to work less then you are going to need do some other activity more. I think you are seeking to transform some of your energy you use for your work into energy for your family. Is that true?”
His face broke into a smile. “Yes!” he said. We went on to identify various ways he could demonstrate his addiction to his family that would encourage them to respond. He eventually chose to limit his hours to 40 per week and to start planning regular, specific events with his wife and children. Within months he had transformed his life by moving his addiction from work to his family.
However, some of his colleagues were upset and confused by his new addiction which they felt cost them money. He however, preferred his new addiction much more over his old addiction because it more closely aligned with his values.
So the POINTS to PONDER and REMEMBER:
1. Everyone is an addict in some form. Albert Einstein proved you can’t create or destroy anything, and so you can only transform one addiction into another.
2. Stop trying to eliminate your addiction, and appreciate it for helping you survive to this point in your life.
3. Then, transform your current addiction into a new addiction that is more closely connected to your current value system.
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