Opposite of Addiction Is NOT Sobriety
This is one of the most important videos on addiction in the last couple of years. In it Johann Hari shares the new evidence on addiction. His research on addiction has radical implications for how we as individuals and as a society should relate to addicts.
Here’s the take away:
1) Have greater compassion towards yourself (if you are addicted) and other addicts
2) Understand that an early environment where isolation and negativity occurred was most likely the birthplace of your addiction.
3) Learn that the opposite of addiction is not sobriety but healthy connection to others.
4) Be inspired to change your environment so you can be more connected to others.
Watch this great 15 minute video. It is worth every minute.
Here are 3 implications from the video you can apply to your life now:
1) Understand that it takes a long time to undo the programming that led you to feel isolated and ashamed. Even though your environment has changed, a part of you will still view the world through the lens of the past. Have compassion for yourself as you learn to heal the ways you inaccurately view yourself and the world.
2) Stop the shame cycle through honesty about your struggle. Know that you’re acting out pattern is designed to reinforce the old programming that you are alone, unlovable or worthless. Here’s how the old programming creates a destructive cycle: feelings of worthlessness lead to isolating, isolating leads to acting out and acting out leads to worthlessness, which then leads to more isolating and acting out.
You can stop this destructive merry-go-round by sharing specifically and fully the nature of your acting out with a safe person. By sharing with someone, you are connecting and by sharing specifically something you feel shameful about, you are allowing yourself to experience love and acceptance. This combination of courage, vulnerability, honesty and connection create a powerful antidote to addiction. By rigorous honesty, you are giving yourself a chance to see that despite what you think about yourself, you can fully be you and be connected to others at the same time.
3) Do something everyday that makes you feel like you have intrinsic worth. I hear a lot of addicts talk about their acting out time as “me time”. What are other things you could do that would scratch that itch of “me time”? Is it regular exercise, hikes, more vacation or more outings with friends? Notice that as you think about doing those things you may feel some sense of internal resistance. You may also notice excuses or procrastination when it comes to planning those “me time” activities. That’s that old messaging probably telling you that you “don’t deserve it.” Whatever you decide to do, tell someone about your healthy “me time” activity that way you are more likely to follow through on it.
Here’s How To rTribe-It
Use the broadcast messaging function to let all your friends know what activities you consider “me time.” Just make a list and let them know you want to do at least one of those activities a day. Then, go into your To Do’s and add your activities in and when you want to be reminded to do them. Boom, there you go.
Until next time…