Consciously Addressing Our Addictions
Updated: Mar 10, 2019
Think you don't have any addictions? Think again.
We're all addicted to something. Even though our addictions may not all look the same, the mere fact that we're human means that we are all in a position of practising addictive behaviour.
According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the definition of addiction is as follows:
"The word “addiction” is often used to refer to any behaviour that is out of control in some way. People often describe themselves as being addicted to, for example, a TV show or shopping. The word is also used to explain the experience of withdrawal when a substance or behaviour is stopped (e.g., “I must be addicted to coffee: I get a headache when I don’t have my cup in the morning”). However, experiencing enjoyment or going through withdrawal do not in themselves mean a person has an addiction. Because the term “addiction” is commonly used in such a vague way, there have been many attempts to define it more clearly. One simple way of describing addiction is the presence of the 4 Cs:
loss of control of amount or frequency of use
compulsion to use
use despite consequences."
This page goes on to talk about drug and alcohol addiction, but if you look closely at the definition given above, ANY behaviour that people find themselves craving, lacking control over, feeling a compulsion to do and doing despite the consequences, can be classified as an addiction. Any behaviours coming to mind yet?
Strategic Intervention teaches us that all human beings have six basic human needs (Certainty, Variety, Significance, Love & Connection, Growth and Contribution), and those needs are the same for every human being on the planet. When any behaviour meets at least 3 of those needs, especially at a high level consistently, we become addicted to it. If you think about that for a second, you not only begin to realize both the weight and the truth of that statement, but also what it must mean for us in our lives.
Human beings have all kinds of different ways of meeting their needs. Some of those ways might be positive, good for us and good for others, or they can be negative, destructive or harmful, especially when continued over a longer period of time. The reasons for choosing certain behaviours though, always remain somewhat the same. The place where we get confused is believing that these behaviours only apply to the very obvious physical and tangible addictions like drugs, alcohol, sex and gambling.
But what about things like emotional behaviours, patterns of thought and speech and belief? What kind of impact do these kinds of addictions have on us and our environment? These addictions may be much more elusive and difficult to identify, because they are often hidden or subtle or silent. That doesn't lessen their impact, however, it only serves to give power to them because they remain unnamed.
Let's consider for a moment what an addiction to victimhood does to a person who has become afflicted with it? What kind of impact does this behaviour have on the person and the people around them? What does it really mean and why should we really care?
We should care, because we are all susceptible to it, and more than likely we have all practised it at some point in our lives. Let's look at a worst case scenario for a moment, just to compare apples with apples.
Say you have a person who suffers from victimhood. They believe that everything in life happens to them and that they have no control over anything. They may constantly find themselves in a position of lack and not know why. They may find themselves consistently at odds with other people or may have experienced a string of bad relationships. They may have a history of being mistreated or abused in some way and they may not have any idea about why it is that terrible things just seem to keep happening to them. What kind of stories might they make up in their minds about everything they have experienced in their life thus far? What kind of impact will that story have on them and their future?
Because this person has either knowingly or unknowingly chosen victimhood, it is likely that the story that they tell themselves is not going to be a positive or empowering one. They may look for places to lay blame or guilt or fault for their negative experiences. They may decide that they are at the mercy of the universe because they have no control over what happens to them and they may decide that they need to find a way to numb themselves because they don't know what they can do to change their life or the way that they feel. Or they might even do something drastic and make a decision to end their own life because they feel so powerless and out of control.
What seems to begin as a minor habitual behaviour becomes the epitome of human suffering. It happens every single day - and the scary part is that it seems to be happening more and more often. It's not about judging people because they practise victimhood either. It's about calling it out so that we can figure out how to deal with it and find a better way.
The same can be said of many different behavioural patterns that human beings seem to be afflicted with and suffer as a result of. Refusal to acknowledge or accept the truth of what is; an inability to relinquish the need for control; the habit of negativity or looking for what's wrong or lacking; the constant need to belittle oneself or to gossip/complain about others; the need to project responsibility or guilt onto another; the tendency to treat others with disrespect or callousness; the habit of having unrealistic expectations of others and ourselves; and the list goes on and on.
The key to creating a better future has always been and will always be with yourself. We have the opportunity and the responsibility to look at our behaviours, our patterns and our beliefs and assess them for effectiveness and impact. We have the ability to ask ourselves if our patterns of thought, belief, actions and words are helpful and empowering or if they are taking away from our life and our experience. And we have the ability to change anything that does not align with the person we want to be or become.
How are your thoughts, beliefs, actions or words meeting your needs? How and why are you choosing them? Are they good for you, good for others and good for the community as a whole, or are they more destructive in nature? What about over the long term? Are these patterns really of benefit to you and everyone around you? And are you able to feel good about your choices and decisions?
Anything that we refuse to control we end up giving our power to and it ends up controlling us. The way to begin to take back your power and to control your own life is to take the first step of seeing things how they really are and not how you would like them to be. Make sure you see it as it is, not worse than it is. Consider how you have been meeting your needs and what the possible payoffs have been up to now. Are there other ways that you could be meeting your needs that would be more beneficial to yourself and others?
There is no negative behaviour that can withstand the test of time that will not come back to haunt you if not addressed and dealt with accordingly. If you believe that it is temporary or you've been telling yourself a story about it being harmless or necessary, you may want to think about it again. Not all addictions are the kind that you can see with your eyes - at least not unless you are willing to look closely enough. Judge not the ones that are easy to spot, for those are only the ones that society finds it easy to ridicule. We need to become more concerned about the ones that we suffer from ourselves. That person - the one you see on the street could just as easily be you.
Negative Behaviours can cost us our happiness, inhibit us from having the life that we want and keep us from achieving our ultimate goals. With a focused and effective process combined with the guidance of an experienced professional coach, it is possible for you to eradicate your negative behaviours and finally get to experience the life you've always wanted! Contact me to find out how you can take advantage of my complimentary, one-on-one, Strategic Intervention Coaching Consultation Session. This free session can help you get clear about what has been holding you back and give you the opportunity to create a powerful and impactful purpose driven plan for 2017! Learn more...
About the author
Tamara Dodgson is a Certified Strategic Intervention Coach and Life Strategist, trained by Robbins Madanes. She has spent the better part of a half century studying, researching and learning about personal growth and development, self-help, spirituality, leadership, success, achievement and philosophy. She is a writer, philosopher, life coach, mother, fitness enthusiast, nature lover, book fanatic and divine being of infinite possibilities. She is also the proud author of "Designing Your Life - A Guide to Help You Consciously Create Your Future" and has recently released a new educational program called "2017 - Your Year of Transformation." You can connect with her on Facebook at Forward Coaching & Consulting Services, on her website at www.tamaradodgson.com, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.