Addiction – Everyone’s Addicted to Something: Your Conscious Challenge

Addiction – Everyone’s Addicted to Something: Your Conscious Challenge

Author: Sue Mazur

Dry July is a fundraising campaign that challenges people to go alcohol-free for July to support and raise money for people affected by cancer. The promotional spiel motivates by sharing: not only will you make a difference in the lives of those affected by cancer, but taking a month off alcohol also comes with great health benefits. Better sleep, higher energy levels, potential weight loss and better immunity, just to name a few.

It is a campaign that benefits society. At the same time, many who have started down a path to alcohol overuse or addiction have used this month to look at how they want to show up in their lives and focus and challenge themselves with positive outcomes.

The focus is on alcohol. What if we took the opportunity during July to expand this and challenge ourselves to become aware and give up other types of addiction – not just the classic type, but different types you may not have thought are affecting your life or those surrounding you.

According to research out of Texas A&M University: “Drug addicts and non-addicts may have more in common than ever thought, and to some degree, everyone’s brain is ‘wired’ to become addicted, and they show up in people seen as normal, healthy people. Further, we all have addiction-like tendencies in how we perceive the world and where we look - and what we pursue is not always a reflection of our conscious intentions. Rather, automatic biases are a normal part of life that we need to work at consciously”.

It might be helpful to abandon the idea that addiction is drug or alcohol-based. Addiction has many definitions and professions, and definitions by nature, provide ‘labels’ that we stick on people. Much like walking into a clothing store looking for the label on a piece of clothing that will suit us best. Why could we just not grab any piece of clothing from the rack? It is because different manufacturers have different sizing standards. Medicine, psychology, psychiatry, chemistry, physiology, law, political, science, sociology, biology and even traditional medicine all have manufactured different sizing standards of what it means to be addicted. Explaining addiction can be complex.

In general thought, the basic reason people take drugs is to vary their conscious experience. It may be avoidance; loneliness; expressing forbidden impulses; cope with emotional pain; escaping negative emotional states such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress; to experience euphoria and pleasure; functional impairment at work, social relationships or other social situations.

Of course, there are many ways to alter consciousness, such as listening to music, dancing, exercising, daydreaming, and participating in rituals. The list is endless and suggests that changing consciousness is something people like to do. 

Particular concerns have developed in society around problem behaviours besides the classic addictions such as alcohol and drugs. They challenge us to look at habits of the heart and make conscious decisions for our lives.

Behavioural Science experts believe that anything capable of stimulating a person can be addictive, and whenever a habit changes into an obligation, it can be considered an addiction. 

The problem is that the groups we move in and the people we surround ourselves with can help us to ‘normalise’ our behaviours. When the activity becomes one we become dependent upon, it brings on problems, and can also fall into the slippery slope from thoughts to overuse to addition. We often see the result on television when someone has been ‘caught’ in their addiction, moving in circles that support their pathway. Still, we don’t see where it started and how insidious thoughts can illuminate that path at the beginning. It is crucial, therefore, to explore where our thoughts are leading us.

Smoking and gambling are obvious ones that society has recognised as public health concerns. Still, recently in China, for example, boot camps are being used to “wean off” excessive online habits among teenagers, marking the start of addressing new forms of addictions today.

Behavioural scientists today state that addictions are preoccupation with:

  • Video Games
  • Social Media
  • Internet Searching
  • Sports and Physical Exercise
  • Excessive Working
  • Eating Disorders
  • Gambling
  • Smoking
  • Television
  • Media Use
  • Drama
  • Conflict
  • Sex
  • Lust or pleasures
  • Relationships
  • Continual searching for something to fix you

Your Conscious Challenge

So here are the questions to ask yourself to explore whether some behaviours in your world are starting as thoughts, becoming or have moved into addiction. This month is a great time to look at how you consciously want to show up in your life. Do an honest exploration of what you have started to excuse or normalise in yourself, your family or your children. Ask these questions:-

  1. Is there an activity or thought that becomes the most important thing in your life, and dominates your thinking, feelings, cravings and behaviour?
  2. Are you using a coping strategy that has a consequence – a feeling of escape, an arousing “buzz’ or ‘high’?
  3. Is there an increasing amount of thought or activity required to achieve satisfaction?
  4. Do you have withdrawal symptoms and unpleasant feelings such as moodiness, irritability, or physical effects?
  5. Are you experiencing interpersonal conflict between you and those around you?
  6. Are you experiencing intrapsychic conflict between the need to engage and the desire not to give in to the tensions created by the addiction?
  7. Do you have a tendency to revert to earlier patterns of a particular activity after a period of abstinence or control over the addictive behaviour?

A Space To Explore – Personal Growth

There are many clinics offering services for epidemic and classic addictions like alcohol, drug, gambling and sex addiction that do brilliant work, and more recently, a lot of awareness is starting around the internet and online addictions.

But what do you do if you find yourself at the top of a slope with other things on the list, or you don’t have a full-blown problem yet, but you know one is niggling? Where do you get a sense that you are not being your best self, living your life authentically, or to your full potential? And you’re ready for answers.

Finding a safe space to explore a sense that you are starting down a pathway to addiction can be very difficult. To find a group that holds space to exchange ideas, share experiences and offer encouragement around the topic, healing and personal growth.

Spiritual Development

Spiritual development cannot be separated from personal growth. As a discipline, it is rooted in the belief that the spirit is connected to the mind, body and soul. One of the main goals of spiritual development is to help you reach a state of awareness or self-realisation by connecting you with your soul-based resources. A state where you can become aware of your thoughts, behaviours and motivations and start to make conscious decisions to live a life that is authentic, nourishing and inspiring to you.

We offer spiritual development courses and services intended to enhance your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being. We provide support to help you find answers to the challenges you encounter, enabling you to realise your strengths and abilities and enhance your relationship with yourself and others.

You will always be treated with respect, confidentiality and supported to make your own choices in life. We bring integrity, experience, competence and a desire that you achieve inner peace.

Call us: 1300 718 257

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