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Tough Question: What is your addiction?
I was recently talking with a woman about addiction–specifically gambling. We spoke more about the other four well-known addictions: alcohol, drugs, sex and food. She went on to say that she did not have an addictive personality and there was nothing that she was addicted to. I know from my work with people that EVERYONE has an area in life that addictive behaviors manifest or have the potential to manifest.
I know people who work very hard to mange their food addiction or offset it with exercise. There are lots of people who are alcoholics who only regard themselves as “social drinkers” or as someone who just drinks every night to relax from a long day. From smokers to nail-biters, addictions seem to be part of our human experience. But more than the food, drugs, alcohol and sex addictions there is another category of stealthy addictions that seem to not be as heavy–but can be just as destructive as the infamous five I just named.
It is possible that many people do not regard this group of addictions as addictions at all–but they generate patterns of action or behaviors from us and also impact what we think of ourselves and how we fit into this world. What are these lesser known addictions? Caroline Myss names an interesting group of “subtle addictions” in the description of a workshop she gave this summer. Those included: Power, glamour, fantasy literature, attention, money, shopping, negativity, propaganda, complaining, relationship crises and a computer social life. I would even add exercise to this list.
Did one of these point to you?
Where the conscious mind may quickly answer “No,” your spirit knows differently. Sit quietly with this list and think of the work you do. Do you love it? If you don’t, why are you still doing it? Think of how you spend your spare time. Do you spend hours gaming–watching negative news, shopping? Do you have a repeating daily regret? One that you swear each night you’ll do better with tomorrow, only to disappoint yourself day after day? Is there a relationship that you know is toxic for you, but you maintain it for what it affords you? Maybe security, connection, status, money, or social status? Do you dive into the weekly tabloids to get info (contrived or fact) on so called famous people?
This kind of life-review is what creates epiphanies that put you mindfully in the driver’s seat in life. These epiphanies help you to ask why you do the things you do—-and call on you to empower yourself to name it and address it. I am not an addiction counselor and I am fully aware of my personal sink-holes. I get better everyday at stepping around them too. These strategic side-steps happened when I asked these questions that I’ve put to you in this post, of myself.
So the question is not “Do you have an addiction?” but rather “What addiction do you have?” It may not be as severe as, say, Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan or Amy Winehouse whom we lost in 2011, but it is worth asking.
Why? Your happy place lies on the other side of this question.
All the best!
Rena M. Reese
Founder, Soul Salon International