Breaking Addiction to Heal True Connections
Herein lies an important reminder about addiction: All addictions are to something external to you. It doesn’t matter if you’re addicted to alcohol, opiates, or cocaine, your “drug” is a chemical substance released in the brain, just as a meth addict craves the drug. The amount of pure methamphetamine in the bodies of drug users is minute, and it’s in the form of crystal meth, a fine white powder often sold as meth or crystal meth.
Whereas drugs can be toxic, a substance like nicotine or alcohol doesn’t kill you but it may inhibit your daily functioning. It makes you feel good when you smoke a cigarette or drink a glass of wine, but it may make you tired and lethargic if you drink excessively. It also may increase your chances of cancer and have other unintended negative consequences.
Be the prism
We begin to free ourselves from addiction to online porn, gambling, and so on when we detach our attachment to the object from our individual relationships, and then join other people in examining those relationships. Only when we realize that online porn, or online gambling, or online dating sites and apps are not the actual source of our needs is the tunnel vision finally shattered. That’s when we can put our focus where it belongs, inside ourselves and on those precious, finite human connections.
This detachment from the object of addiction has two critical benefits. First, by starting with “I,” we detach ourselves from a sense of victimhood.
The ideal is above the real
As I explained to my son, it’s important to replace your quest for external pleasures (even if it’s a game, app, or fake connection) with things that are real and true to you. He is recovering from depression and fears that there will be something missing after rehab, so it was important to me that he develops ways to fill his daily life.
So what are those things? Well, first off, he will have lots of people in his life to talk to. He’s reconnecting with old friends. And I plan to ask him to draw more—he draws well, and he’s a wonderful artist. “Drawing is the perfect balance between fantasy and reality,” he tells me, “like what you find in my comic books. You don’t have to worry about the fact that a character can’t really fly, or that you can’t make a flame with wax.
Be kind to yourself
Our fear of missing out (FOMO) makes us constantly check our phones and inboxes, fearing a text message, tweet, or Facebook post will ruin our lives planned out for the evening.
Here is a reality check for those among us who look forward to the next big event to land in our social feeds. There is very little that is going to be a “disaster” in your life in the immediate future—you’re just allowing your mind to create these scenarios because it’s something we’re used to.
For instance, if you have made a dinner reservation with friends and a friend invites you to join them for that evening’s hang, good on you!
And if you have an event to attend and all your friends have RSVP’d for it, that too is fantastic!
Put your phone down, have a great time, and do something great with your life.