Have you ever know something was bad for you, but you just couldn’t let go?
Those unhealthy things we hold on to are addictions. It could be that you’re a workaholic and can’t find time to spend with friends or family, or you’re addicted to negative self talk (ever tell yourself you’re “okay” looking or that “that’ll never happen”?), or bad spending habits. We all have something (or multiple somethings) we struggle with.
Maybe you’ve realized that bad habit isn’t working for you, and you want to make space for something better in your life. If you do, then read on.
Tommy Rosen, someone who’s experienced a myriad of addictions including drugs and alcohol, is an addiction recovery expert. He says that, first and foremost, we’re all addicted to the belief that we’re separate from each other, and that our actions don’t affect the whole. In other words, we don’t recognize that our actions affect other people.
Rosen believes that this false idea rules the Four Aggravations, which are thought addictions that we all have. They are:
- Negative thinking,
- Self doubt,
- Resentment, and
He defines addictions as disease because dis – ease is any behavior that we continue to do despite the fact that it brings negative consequences into our lives.
It’s the definition of insanity: continuing to do the same act over and over expecting a different result.
If you’ve been in a relationship that caused heartbreak and then went back despite knowing that you may be hurt again, then you know what I mean.
Or have you ever continued to work late despite knowing negative consequences (poor health, rocky relationships) will result.
Rosen calls the 5 addictions, the “Big 5”. They are,
- Relationship (to ourselves or others/sex),
- Money (these include gambling and overspending),
The Big 5 are guided by the Four Aggravations.
So what do we do when we have a pattern of behavior that’s hurting ourselves?
First, pick your battle.
When our focus is diminished, we have a difficult time retraining our mind. That’s just the nature of our brain. Pick one habit and work on that. No need to set yourself up for failure.
Second, find your person.
I have a great group of friends I rely upon. I text one of them when I feel like breaking my resolve. They give me a “stay strong” text or quick pep talk over coffee to keep me going. It works wonders knowing there’s someone in your corner.
Third, remember to breath.
This is the easiest tool in our toolbox. Our breath is always there for us. When you come upon a situation where you’re challenged to do what you’re trying to give up, focus your attention on your breath, and begin to feel at ease. Count 10 breaths, then move on.
Lastly, remind yourself of the why.
Why are you breaking this unhealthy habit?
Rosen speaks about evaluating your “why.” He breaks it down in terms of long term gain versus short term gain. He uses marijuana as his example. Marijuana provides the short term gain of calming the mind. The long term losses are memory loss, lower IQ, depression, lost time, and as he phrases it, “dims the human spirit.”
For me, the short term gain of an unhealthy relationship was an ego boost or a feeling of being superficially valued. The long term losses were feeling guilty for not valuing myself more and not allowing myself to be valued substantively.
Evaluate whether the long term loss is worth the short term gain. Focussing on the why fuels your willpower.
By confronting our addictions, we make space for positive change in our life.
It takes discipline and support, but it can be done.
And remember, part of recovery is relapse. If you stumble, that’s normal. Pick yourself up, and start again. You will kick your addiction’s butt.
Lots of love to you,
P.S. If stress is one of your addictions, click here to check out 10 Quick Mental Tricks to Reduce Stress Instantly. It’s absolutely free.