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Dare To Be Stupid

Addiction is about stimulation, and fighting is stimulating. That includes fighting with ourselves. How many times a day do you get into an argument with yourself about something you sort of want to do but don’t really? Or argue with yourself about something you think you “should do” but would rather not?

“Should” is a bad word, by the way. It puts the responsibility for our decisions and behavior on an external entity, such as society, a parent, a religion or just “them.” I “should” exercise, I “should” pray on Sunday, I “should” be nice to my Aunt Sally.  We use “should” to control other people, which then alleviates our own insecurities, as in “You should bring me flowers,” “You should call me every day,” or “You should want to have sex with me five times a week.” “Should” leads to guilt or resentment and who says? Change it to “want” or “would like” and you can change your mood
and attitude.

When we argue with ourselves, there is a “should” involved, which leads to increased stimulation for the addict brain. When we really dig deeper to find the meaning underneath the surface “shoulds,” we find that special button that gets
pushed so easily and leads to anger, resentment, and overall disconnection. That button is whatever message you have taken in about yourself that is not rational but was ingrained at a young age when you weren’t even aware of it. That button is the one that says “I’m a failure,” “I’m not important,” “I’m worthless,” or “I’m stupid.” You argue with yourself because you know, cognitively, that it’s not true, but deep inside your limbic system, you fear that it is.

There are various ways to heal from the traumas that caused you to create that button and there are many interventions to change your responses to events that push the button, but meanwhile, how do you not engage in the mental conflict that is so stimulating to your addict brain?

You say “So what?” So what if I’m worthless, so what if I’m not important, so what if I’m a failure, so what if I’m stupid?

So what? Float above it like you float above the rip tide.

Dare to be stupid
(Weird Al Yankovic,)

Corporate Addict America

The U.S. Supreme Court decided last year that corporations are people and so, to some extent, they are.

Corporations are certainly run by people and those people often think and behave addictively, as defined in my book Addict America: The Lost Connection.

“Obsessive, compulsive, out of control behavior done in spite of negative consequences to self and others” is the simple definition of addiction. At its heart, addictive behavior is driven by the need to feel good about oneself and to overcome those messages from early childhood which we have internalized – “I’m not good enough,” “I’m worthless,” “I’m a failure,” and “I’m not important” to name a few. When parents are critical, when we are compared to our siblings and found lacking, or when we are simply ignored, we take in these messages and carry them into adulthood and all subsequent events are filtered through them.
So it’s no wonder that corporate CEOs, presidents, and board members continually need more and more external validation to prove their worth. They reach their positions of authority because of their continual striving for self worth, but nothing is ever enough because they are trying to fill an internal emptiness with external gratification. Therein lies the addiction.

When we see a corporation that is already making billions yet refuses to pay its workers a decent wage, we ask what is that all about? In terms of addiction, though, it makes perfect sense, because the people in charge are trying to drive their profits high enough to make the world see that they are important, good enough, worthwhile and successful. The problem is, that doesn’t work and so the negative consequences are that these people still carry their negative messages and everyone around them and under them suffers.

We do have some heroes in the corporate world – Bill Gates and Warren Buffet quickly come to mind. These are men who built their worlds by doing something they enjoy and at which they naturally excel, not from a compulsion to beat everyone else and prove their own worth.

We need to personally define success as it relates to our own quality of life, which is an internal value, rather than success as defined by what we think others admire. When we enjoy what we are doing and we are being creative or helping others, we will not be focused on what we don’t have. We can be in recovery, be in the moment, and feel fulfilled.

Let’s pray for that light to come into those corporate souls and shine on everyone whose lives they effect.

Be In Light

Addiction Loves a Vacuum

You’ve heard the expression “Nature Abhors a Vacuum,” right? Basically, a vacuum, or empty space, cannot exist in nature. Something has to fill it. If you sucked all the air out of an enclosed space and then opened up a hole, air would be sucked right back in.

The same is true in our lives. When we say “I am not going to….. (take drugs, watch online porn, get angry) we create a vacuum. In the absence of anything else with which to fill that empty space, whatever it was we tried to remove from it will be sucked right back in. That is how Addiction Loves a Vacuum. No matter how hard we try to NOT do our addictive behavior, if we leave a vacuum, the addiction will fill it again.

So we need to frame our desires in a positive way. What do we want to do instead of our addiction? Pretty much everyone is able to do whatever they put their minds to, as long as it is framed concretely. “I will eat dinner with my family,” “I will go to a meeting,” or “I will take an hour-long yoga class.”

It is about Intention – the Intention to live in Recovery, the Intention to do those behaviors that are prosocial and health-promoting.

Start each day with an Intention for how you want your day to be, rather than how you do NOT want it to be.

Use the Intention for a Good Day from Addict America: The Lost Connection to make this day a good one!

INTENTION FOR A GOOD DAY

The power of intention is strong indeed. Begin each day with this pledge:

This Day

Will be a good day

I will be present and mindful

I will smile at everyone

I will listen to others and understand their world

I will nurture myself with good food, exercise, and fresh air

I will be nurtured with hugs and smiles

I will trust in the good intentions of those who love me

I will send Light to anyone from whom I perceive harm

I will be the person I want to be

I will be Connected

Addict America: The Lost Connection can be found at Amazon.com.

Can We Connect With Fast Food?

There’s a lot of talk about fast food and its effects on our physical health. Certainly, when we eat a lot of bread, animal fats, and drinks with either sugar or sugar substitutes, we are not nourishing our bodies. Sugars in any form and especially sugar replacements become quickly addictive, leading us to crave more and so we eat more sugar products.

But many fast food chains promote healthy foods like salads, lean meats, and whole grain breads.  Can these really be bad for us? What’s wrong with healthy fast food?

I believe there are addictive aspects to the whole fast food lifestyle. The mad dash to the drive-up window, eating the food in the car or at a desk, and eating as part of multi-tasking are all partof a mindset that keeps us Disconnected and not in the moment. It is this, more than the actual
food, which feeds our addiction.

No matter what you eat, try to give it your attention. Whether alone or with friends or family, take time to be in the moment, attend to your food and savor it, pay attention to who or what is around you, and slow down. If you are on a lunch break, go for a walk, then sit down and take inyour surroundings. If you have a car full of kids and are off to soccer practice, take 10 minutes to enjoy the food and each other’s company. Teach your children that Connecting with each other is what life is all about.

A New Working Definition Of Recovery

A new working definition of Recovery (SAMHSA):

“A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.”

While my book’s title seems to focus on addiction, the real message is about recovery, which is a state of living and way of thinking that applies to everyone.  Addiction is what keeps us from living in recovery.

This new definition of recovery from SAMHSA is in total congruence with not only the message in Addict America: The Lost Connection, but with many books and movies and music from around the world.  We are all Connected, and these universal themes manifest in so many ways because of that Connection.  Someone once said “There is nothing new under the sun” and this is true because no one has a thought that is not part of that higher consciousness that is available to everyone who opens themselves to it.

This SAMHSA definition expresses so beautifully what it takes to live a fulfilling, satisfying, and joyfully challenging life.  We don’t need money or power or any of the addictive substances or behaviors that we use to fill our emptiness, escape our pain, or to feel important.  We need only to be present, turn our energy outwards to engage with others and make the world a better place, and to fully express our creativity.

Recovery is for all of us.  Make a commitment to this “process of change” and experience the joy of Connection!

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