Some addictions are obvious. Alcohol, drugs, sex, and gambling are the most commonly spoken of but there are plenty of more. What is an addiction? Addiction is defined as “the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity” or “a disease resulting from changes in brain chemistry caused by compulsive use of drugs or alcohol. The definition includes excessive use that damages health, relationships, jobs and other parts of normal life.”
What Is Your Addiction?
These days I find that most people I meet have an addiction. This could be to food, social media, going out, or even attention. These addictions alter the course of their life and damage their relationships. I have found that I am addicted to social media. My social media addiction has left me less creative and less focused. Because of this, I find myself missing out on opportunities I normally would not have. I spend less time with my loved ones because I am constantly in a glossed over state of mind. I go on far fewer adventures than I would like to because some days I spend my mornings on social media instead of planning out a fun day with those that I love. Since coming to terms with my social media addiction, my friend Mo brought an interesting point up. He mentioned that most addictions are bred from unhappiness. When people are unhappy they run from their happiness and mask it with an addiction to numb the pain. You could be running from the feeling of not being happy in your job by numbing it with social media. As soon as your boss is finished yelling at you, you run on social media and mask the pain instead of dealing with the fact that your position is not bringing you any joy. Perhaps you are unhappy with your marriage and the fact that you never eat dinner with your spouse. Instead of dealing with the issue and accepting the fact that your marriage is not what you thought it would be, you eat a hot slice of pizza alone on the couch and distract yourself with comfort food and mindless reality TV. People spend their entire lives running. I found that I was running and did not even realize it. These days, we have so many numbing options. We live our lives perpetually entertained so we never have to feel true discomfort.
What are you addicted to?
Why are you addicted to it?
How To Face Your Fear
A person runs simply because they are afraid. The truth (or the potential truth) is so painful that they would rather consume themselves with their surroundings than face their issue head on. If you are running from something in your life, know that it’s okay. You are not a bad person for running or for having an addiction. You are simply a scared person, like everyone else. We all have fears and concepts that frighten us. Anxiety has become far too common in our world today. Just because you have anxiety or an addiction now does not mean that you will have it forever.
1. Identify Your Triggers
The first step to releasing yourself from the chains of addiction and running, is by identifying your triggers. Your triggers are basically your fears. For example, I hate hearing people argue and yell. When I hear people speaking aggressively I will “run” from the discomfort and soothe myself by eating junk food or scrolling through social media until I am completely distracted. If you can identify what makes you uncomfortable, you can recognize your response and move towards finding a healthier response.
2. Notice Your Behavior
Once you have identified you triggers, focus on releasing yourself from the chains of addiction and running. In order to do this you will have to analyze your behavior and see where your unhealthy habits lie. Take time to analyze yourself and your actions. What do you do excessively and feel that you have no control over? It could be social media, eating food, listening to music, watching tv, etc. Identify what you do when you feel upset. Once you know what your habits are, you can go back and determine whether these habits are helpful or harmful.
3. Remember Why You Resist and Practice Discipline
We develop these unhealthy habits because we are trying to protect ourselves. Our bodies do an amazing job at protecting us from things that make us feel bad, it’s top priority is to ensure that we survive in the most pleasant way possible. Once you can understand that these habits are more harmful than helpful, you can stop yourself from maintaining these patterns. Remind yourself that you value freedom and healthy coping mechanisms more than you value instant gratification. You deserve to be healthy and happy, and you will never reach that desired state of mind if you are never tackling your issues. Once you have that understanding, you can begin to practice discipline and resist the urge to run to your addiction even if you feel that it is the most attractive option.
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