Tuesday, May 1, 2018

We want to be free to do what we want to do

Addiction. Abstinence. Smashed. Sober. Fried. Free.

Well, I guess this is some pretty heavy stuff to start off with. And we haven’t even properly met yet. We will, later on, I promise. But we can’t really write a blog about freedom from addictions without first talking about what that means to us. So here we go.

Addiction is depending on something outside of yourself to make yourself feel better; to help you get through your day; to silence the voice in your head that tells you that you’re not good enough, that no one loves you. And when that dependency starts to affect your life in negative ways, when it has more control over you than you do over it, that's an addiction.

The next thing to recognise is that substances are not the only drugs. Dependencies come in all shapes and sizes, and even something innocuous like your smartphone or social media can become an addiction. Work, money, food; the abuse of any of these things can lead to addiction.



We also feel that you don’t need to be shooting up in alleyways or drinking ‘til you pass out to be an addict. We are all on the addiction scale in some way. Some of us have personalities that push us further along that scale, which means that we can’t have just one glass of wine, or the occasional toke of a joint. We have the whole bottle, or spend entire days in a haze of smoke. And maybe some of us don’t even notice that we’re addicted, perhaps because the object of our dependency is socially acceptable, or it doesn’t seem to be affecting our lives in any obvious way. Worse still, maybe we’ve convinced ourselves that we have control over the situation, that we don't need a beer, we just want it. Nothing wrong with that, right?

Except your brain is very good at telling you what you want to hear. Say you smoke weed every day (which we have some personal experience of!). Maybe first thing in the morning you wake up and every cell in your body is screaming for you to have a smoke. This tells your brain to have thoughts, send messages, do whatever it needs to do to make your body get up and roll a joint. So you think “Hmm, you know what, I think I would really like to have a smoke with my breakfast, treat myself a little, push the boat out,” and so on, any and all thoughts you can come up with to justify what is basically your enslavement to your addiction. You think you've had the idea, but the idea has had you.

So if we’re all addicts, and anything can be addictive, what can we do? Having cut out drinking, smoking and drugs, which are the first addictions we’ve identified, we’ve found that the energy previously put into finding and using those things hasn’t gone away. It has to be channelled into something else. Nature abhors a vacuum, so the space you create from giving up one thing has to be filled with another. There are positive ‘addictions’, to things that don't come from searching outside, but from turning that energy inwards and providing the fix you need yourself.

If any of this has struck a chord with you, then maybe have a go at paying a bit more attention to your thoughts and actions and see what you discover. Notice how you feel about certain things if you want them but can't have them NOW, or how it feels to resist an impulse for a little while rather than give in straight away. And start talking to people about it. What we’re really trying to do here is get a conversation going, so talk - to yourself, to others and to us!

-the FREEDOM junkies-


















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