We’re All Addicted to Something!
I had an episode. I’m not proud of it. My daughter watched me, freaking out. “Where is it?! Why can’t I find a stupid chapstick when I need it? Have you seen it?!”
“Uh, no, mom. Where did you last see it?”
Now escalating… “Yesterday, of course! I keep at least 4 in every area of the house and car! And I need it NOW!” At this point, she began laughing… very softly, so I wouldn’t lop her head off, but I could tell she was finding this humorous. “I know you’re addicted to chapstick, mom, so I would never move it.” That sounded like a true statement, so I calmed a little, at her acknowledgement that this was an emergency.
Years ago, I made a vow that I would not be addicted to anything. I had experienced addiction personally, and seen its devastating effects on friends and family. I wanted to be in CONTROL, and have all my choices COUNT for something, so I was determined not to let addiction back into my life. When I took my Core Alignment Coach training, I learned that this decision was actually fueled from a belief that I needed to be perfect, and not make any mistakes – ever. Making mistakes meant being under the control of something or someone, and this felt like bondage to me. But this effort was like everything else I had tried to control: it was based on a need to look good to others, to never fail them, and to keep my fragile ego from cracking.
Is it possible to keep ourselves from addiction (defined here as ritualistic coping behaviors)? Perhaps only if we are no longer human. As we look at the One Month in which the world focuses on starting over, how can we give ourselves permission to choose a focus for the year/month/week, without choosing a resolution that will soon be broken, and result in feelings of defeat? As I look at coping behaviors from the past, and my efforts to ‘conquer them,’ I know it is a perpetual battle! What if I were to choose a THEME for the year, or an INTENTION for 2018, rather than a list of Perfect Behaviors to Attain? It already feels like freedom.
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As I’ve left behind crippling and destructive addictions, others have crept in. My resolution to have no addictions in my life has fallen flat; this year, I resolve to tell the truth. I use coffee to stave off sleepy mornings, which is pretty much Every Single Morning. I ‘need’ to light candles in the winter, in a ritualistic way, to raise the dark ambience with light and good smells; otherwise, I’m absolutely sure that I will fall into a dark hole and never come out. And if my lips are dry, I may actually appear to be hyperventilating until I find an argan oil chapstick! While these are not deal breakers to me, I know the rule: when a coping behavior interferes with a relationship – breaks communication, creates isolation, pushes others away – it’s time to take a closer look at it. Any behavior that stops us from being in relationship, from connection with others, is not a healthy pattern. Simple.
What theme can you adopt for 2018 that will draw you into healthy relationships, establish new ones, or restore old ones? Just because I’m addicted to coffee, candles, and chapstick does not mean they are taking over my life?! I resolve to give candles as gifts, share coffee with friends, and keep my favorite chapstick nearby. You understand…it’s just to keep me calm, right?