We are a society of addicts. Alcohol, drugs, gambling, shopping, TV, food, iPhones, music, pornography, exercise…you name it and we can find a way to abuse it. Why the rampant epidemic of OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder)? To dull our pain. All addictions achieve the same goal: they push those things we find threatening out of our conscious awareness. This might be childhood trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, or stress from a variety of other sources, like relationship issues, health problems, or unemployment.
Of course, addictions feel good, that’s their conscious claim to fame. Unconsciously, they keep you from moving forward. You might be thinking: “This isn’t the time for me to tackle my addiction. Alcohol (drugs, shopping, over-eating) keeps me standing. Without it, I wouldn’t have anything reliably pleasurable.” Yes, but at what price?
Right now, you’re going through one of the three worst experiences you can have, the top three being: death of a loved one, major illness, and divorce. You can look at this cataclysmic life shift in many ways. Here’s how the Chinese language construes it: their symbol for crisis is composed of two smaller images. One means danger, the other means opportunity. You are definitely in touch with the danger part, but what of all the opportunities? How will you be able to even see them if you’re preoccupied with your addiction?
Think of all the added support you could be enjoying if you joined a 12-Step group. You would make new friends, have a destination for those times when you felt lonely, and probably gain invaluable insights into your addiction. One of the primary injunctions of all 12-Step programs is to take it one day at a time. Great advice for the divorce process, too.
There are free 24 hour hotlines to help people quit smoking, and support groups for many other addictions at religious institutions, and wonderful sobriety apps. If you think you have a drinking problem, and are not fond of 12 Step programs, you might want to read Jack Trimpey’s: The Small Book and check out a S.O.S. meeting (that’s secular organization for sobriety). Take advantage of these resources. Now is as good a time as any to get your own house in order. It’s another challenge, but one you will see as a blessing. Have you ever met anyone who is sorry they quit gambling or smoking?
Working your way through to the other side of an addiction is one of the most loving gifts you can give yourself. Allow yourself to get high on life. Millions of people have done it, and you can do it, too.
Copyright Nicole S. Urdang