You’re An Addict And You Don’t Even Know It
When you hear the word addiction, the first thought that comes to mind is probably a junkie shooting up, or someone living their life at the bottom of there particular bottle of choice (no pun intended). If this is the case then you aren’t alone. The majority of people perceive addiction as an urge or compulsion to continuously do or use something without regard for their well being, or the well being of people close to them.
Though this is true, this is not where addiction ends, or begins. The true nature of addiction stretches far beyond the pills, needles, and bottles. Addiction can and does strike millions of people in the one place they thought they were safe. Their minds.
At First Glance
That current adopted belief as it applies to addiction is definitely not new. It’s also something we see on a daily basis in movies, cartoons, books, and even childrens shows (the Hamburgler, Cookie Monster, etc…). The truth is, there are over 22 million people suffering from some form of substance addiction or another in the United States alone. Over 100,000 deaths a year accumulate just from alcoholism related accidents.
These numbers are enough to scare any person straight right? Unfortunately not. As time moves forward overall addiction is not decreasing. Younger kids are able to get their hands on drugs from medicine cabinets, and even school supplies. Huffing has become one of the major drug issues in suburban America.
To combat these issues we constantly hear about “The War On Drugs.” Well, this isn’t a myth as far as I’m aware. Over $19 Billion dollars was spent to combat the distribution and use of drugs in 2003. That equates to $600 a second! Despite this, the drug market continues to be a multi-billion dollar industry.
In fact, the value for the global illicit drug market in 2003 was counted at an estimated $13 billion US Dollars at the production level, and $94 billion at the wholesale level. This is taking into consideration all seizures and losses into account, and at $322 billion based on retail prices.
So, it’s safe to say that the war on drugs is not being won on either side of the equation. So how to we combat this issue? Awareness. It takes an awareness and constant education to the youth to truly put a damper on the drug issues we face. With more and more substances being consumed to reach that desired state of euphoria, it’s our job to educate the youth and our peers about the dangers of these drugs.
As parents, monitoring what your children are watching, and reading is crucial. On top of this, beginning to educate them at a young age, and potentially before YOU believe they are ready to hear it, can have a monumental impact on slowing this growing trend down.
All this aside, there are still a number of issues we have to face as a community. These issues are not coming from the things we are putting into our bodies, but our lack of awareness to our own thoughts. The major addictions we face are instilled within our own thought processes, and it is most of the time overlooked or pushed to the side. We all suffer from some form of addiction or another, and many of us don’t even realize it.
The Nature of Addictive Personalities
Understanding that addiction is a real issue is the first step. The second is understanding that addiction it self is not limited to substance abuse. It is a common belief that many addicts use to escape their current reality. When you are in that state of euphoria the real world issues no longer affect the person using.
They feel free, and absent. Once this high comes down, they realize that not only are they still living in the “real world,” but they still have to deal with these issues like stress, finances, school work, relationships, etc… So they use again. We see this process continue and repeat until the person in question no longer has any bearing in our daily lives. They fall away from the work force, end up homeless, or dead.
Stopping these issues has to come not from reducing the availability of drugs (couldn’t hurt) but from tackling the psychological issues they don’t even know they have. How do we do this? By first realizing that the possible junkie in the subway, or the alcoholic begging for change on the corner is not a stranger. They are you. Quite possibly, perhaps not to that extent, but the truth is that we ALL have with us the nature to become addicted to one thing or another.
For some this unseen addiction is stress. For others, turmoil, fear, depression, even happiness. We have personality faults that forbid us from realizing this, and because of it we constantly fail because these addictions impede our view on reality.
If someone is complete and utterly addicted to that feeling of blissful happiness, we may see them completely ignore the very real emotional urge to cry. Instead, they may smile and laugh it off. Well, this may seem completely fine and encouraged, but the act of crying to expel feelings of sadness is completely human.
Eliminating this from our lives can have terrible psychological affects that lead to therapy, denial, and even an inability to show sympathy. Understanding that we all possess with us an addiction like this is definitely not the easiest task. I personally discovered that I was innately addicted to being angry.
I grew up in a rather bouncy household (to put it nicely). My father left when I was young and popped in randomly, he was addicted to heroine and alcohol, and when I turned 12 my mother fell victim to alcoholism in a horrible way. This addiction continued well into my college years and she is currently recovering. The situations these issues put me in were harsh, and to deal with my own feelings of resentment, sorrow, and depression, I turned to anger. I was angry all of the time, even if something was completely fine I would find irritants in nothing, just for an excuse to yell, to scream, and to take my anger out in a rage on a punching bag.
All the meditation in the world wouldn’t help me. Why? Because I had no idea that I was addicted to this! No body told me, sat me down and let me know that “Chris, I believe you have an anger problem” and realistically, if they did would I listen? I can almost guarantee you that I wouldn’t. Truth is, we need to uncover these issues for ourselves. Getting someone to help us can be of great assistance, but unless we are consciously prepared to hear another persons criticism, and make the changes we need to make, all the advice in the world will become irrelevant.
Breaking the Cycle
Breaking this horrible cycle of growing into these personal addictions which can sometimes lead to serious life issues needs to begin with a single step. That step being acceptance. No body is perfect in our world today, and understanding that you have faults is step one. I don’t mean just saying “yeah I’m not perfect, I know that,” I mean literally sitting down and consciously naming your faults with no prejudice. I often recommend utilizing a method offered within the Soul Mirror for this step.
It can be somewhat time consuming, even upsetting to do this, but it can have a profound impact on your life. It can bring so much clarity into an otherwise overlooked area of your life it’s completely worth the work. After you have completed this, you need to take one step at a time to tackle these issues.
If you were otherwise afraid of crying, try to cry at least once a week, once a month to start if you need to. I’m not saying you need to sit there and boohoo, crying into a pillow and screaming to the top of your lungs (not unless you want to), but consciously crying can have amazing positive affects on your life.
The same goes for any other issue you may be facing. If you are just prone to a lack of patience, then take steps to developing patience. If you are angry, calm your self. Learn how to walk away from situations that set you off, and if you cannot avoid them take time to think and breathe before you speak or act. I never said it was an easy process, but it’s one you will value and appreciate taking for the rest of your life.
One more vital component in stopping this horrible cycle is telling your peers. Let your peers know the dangers of ignoring your faults and dismissing your own issues. Let them know what kind of harmful affects it can have you their lives. I don’t mean for you to blame yourself for every thing that goes wrong in your life. Just don’t let yourself not take accountability for the things you can consciously work to change for the better. It may take some time, but just work at it. We all need to, and we’re all in this together. So with that, I’ll see you on the other side.
- The “Soul” Mirror
- The Subjectivity of Spirituality
- Healthy Living: An Introduction
- The Road to Success: What You Missed, And What’s To Come
- How To Make Money On Twitter