Addictions tell us what to do and when to do it. What they don’t tell us is when to stop. When in the throws of addictions finding the door to liberation feels impossible, you feel useless, there is nothing worse in this life than the feeling of having no purpose. Addictions are goal oriented, non discriminatory in that they want but one thing, and that’s to kill you. They don’t care how young or old you are, where you live, how good of a person you are or what our worth financially, once they bite you it’s on.
23 million Americans are addicted to alcohol- 12.8% to drugs- 12.0% to sex- 8.1% to gambling and 32% are addicted to nicotine. Up to 90% of Americans are addicted to caffeine, 70% of the population considered fat. Well over half that enter a rehabilitation treatment facility for a dependency will relapse, many will go through said program multiple times. It’s a very slow form of suicide for the addicted soul leaving quite a debris field in terms of family, friends and those who tried putting the pin back into the hand grenade.
It was halftime during the game I was watching. My choices were flip through the channels or continue fixing the dryer, flipping through channels was the easy decision. I went to one of my favorite cable channels where the program was just coming back from commercial, and into the Family room where quite a few people were gathered. A young man entered into the room. He was met by Family members, friends, lights and camera’s rolling-certainly appeared to be a “made for TV” ambush. Seated in the center of the room, one by one, people took turns telling this kid what was on their minds, things like- “Do you know what your doing to us?” You’re destroying us, man!” “You are a waste of space!” “Your Mother and I didn’t raise you this way, why can’t you be more like your brother?” Every person took the opportunity to express what they we’re going through as a result of this person’s behavior.
I can’t see how this exercise can be viewed as positive. If the goal is to elevate the consciousness of the addicted soul, using guilt, shame and negative barbs will only reinforce what he already believes about himself, but this is what we refer to as therapy. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe told us “If you treat an individual as he is, he will stay as he is; but if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.” William James reminded us “If we hold a picture in our minds long enough, that’s exactly what we will become in reality.” When using negative means to reach someone, as this exercise was doing, we are assisting in developing that picture, almost certainly driving that person deeper into their destructive ways.
When you hear something over and over again, good or bad, you’re going to believe it. So why should we be surprised when this type of therapy derives poor results? Because it’s what we know. Changing who you are starts by changing how you see yourself. This means dismantling all you have heard, all you have been told about who you are and what you are that come in the way of negative connotations. When you can truly once again see yourself authentically, and live from this perspective, you are well on your way to defeating any addictive behavior. You hear it all the time from those who are attempting to quit anything, they tell you how hard it’s going to be, well you need to change how you view quitting, much like changing how you see yourself. If your looking at how hard it’s going to be to quit, then why bother with it? Willpower is a prescription for failure, it just does not work for most people. I write in depth in my book I may be wrong but I doubt it on exactly how easy it is to quit any addictive pattern, you’ll be amazed and just how easy it can be. Remember; New thoughts create new behaviors!