In April I read a blog post by Farnoosh Brock in which she names 10 addictions that can cause pain. What I like about her post is that she names addictions that harm the brain and physical body (alcohol, smoking, drugs, junk food and violence), but she also names addictions that harm the heart and mind (negative self-talk/self-sabotage/self-hatred, blaming the world for our problems, complaining about everything to everyone, berating and belittling others, and holding on to the victim mindset). She talks further about facing these addictions in order to be pain free.
It can be really difficult to give up these addictions, and it takes courage to face them. One of the things I’ve seen when trying to give up an addiction is that it has become a habit, second nature, and it can seem overwhelming to change something that has taken a hold of our life. Asking for help is the first step she talks about, and showing gratitude to the person who is going to help hold us accountable. Creating new habits can be difficult. It takes courage to both name the addiction and find strategies to take steps towards giving those addictions up.
These addictions have become engrained in our society and are often part of our cultural and familial history. One of my favorite professors who is in the addiction field, Margaret Fetting, has studied how we tend to whisper about someone’s active addiction and often judge it. We gossip about it, but we don’t really have meaningful conversations about the human need to get high. While she generally is referring to drugs and alcohol, I think we can extend that to the adrenaline highs we can get from our work place environments, relationships, and food.
Facing these things takes time, courage, and a plan. Writing out that plan, talking about the plan, and tracking progress will aid in reaching the overarching goal. Often letting go of these addictions can be enhanced by joining a support group or by reading and studying about how others have overcome their addictions. Generally, letting go always involves the support of individuals who can cheer us on, encourage us when we have doubts, and hold us accountable.