Blogger: JB McCann, “The Phoenix”
Have you seen Fight Club? If not, you have to stop, watch, and pick back up. SPOILER ALERT…Tyler Durden is the epitome of the word “addiction”. He’s the alter ego that seems totally ok with being amazing, high on life, AND having no remorse for any chaos he creates in the process of being amazing AKA addiction. Thanks, Brad. You had to make being bad look sooo good, didn’t you?
But seriously, what is addiction? According to Wikipedia, the most accurate website ever, (that was sarcasm. Stay with me.)…addiction is defined as a brain disorder characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli despite adverse consequences. See, Tyler Durden all day.
Breathe ladies, he’s just a man, a perfectly chiseled man with perfect hair. I’m NOT addicted to the movie because his shirt is off most of the film! Or because even with blood on his entire body, he’s still strangely attractive? Noooo. I’m addicted to the message of the film!!! I swear! His life gets boring. He feels trapped and gets addicted to fighting, but only if he can do it as an entirely new person because he, himself, would never be such a compulsive man addicted to breaking norms, being masculine, and chaotic. Man, it’s a good film. This is only one of a thousand innuendos. I’m gonna stay focused on this angle for today.
Here’s my very basic take on addiction. We are all addicted to something. Some are addicted to church. Amen. Some addicted to parenting. May God help you. Then, there’s our common yet oh so under-served ones, drug/alcohol addiction. There’s now success and fitness addicts. Sports addicts. Sex addicts. Man, bet they are having the most fun!
Whoa. Sorry I’m so dark today! Ok, stay with me…
I tried to find a statistic explaining which types of people were more likely to become addicted to something at some point in life. I’m not a researcher so this is where my theory can probably easily be derailed but I couldn’t find ONE that contained generalized results on such a broad poll. There were the obvious drug breakdowns. There were tons of pop ups telling me to call for help. However, no one seemed to address the basic principle of addiction: this need to boost stimuli. The second half of the definition implies to me that the root of our problem when facing addiction is that we do not know how to stimulate our endorphins without harm to others.
As the daughter of two alcoholics, I confess I still like the occasional whiskey and coke. I think it’s very possible for some people to become conscious of one’s limits and practice moderation of your vices. I’ve become aware of what my body can and can’t take. However, I am not naive enough to think that I am impenetrable to addiction. So, if I start to feel sluggish or in a rut, I start adjusting my routine immediately. One quick step by step. I don’t wait to see how bad it will get or deny my pain. I just start moving.
I’ve started to use this self awareness as a trigger radar of some sort. When I notice the itch of addiction, I change it up. I hit the gym. I run until I puke. I go on a juice cleanse or I purge my house of clutter. Call it what you want, but it works. I know the likelihood of me becoming an addict. I also have times of depression which make me more susceptible to becoming addicted to something harmful. So, I fight fire with fire. ￼
A friend with 13 years sobriety validated my tactic recently. He said that’s the first thing someone in recovery has to accept is that the only thing that has to change is everything. Bam, I felt a rush of adrenaline. I am onto something here.
What I am getting at is that everyone obsessed about something. For me, the secret to keeping it in check is never being afraid of change and everything in moderation. There’s a time and place for everything. When your obsessions start to engulf your progress and that of those around you, it’s time to switch it up.
Too many goals and you haven’t slept in months, you gotta trim the fat. Double up on your top 2 and in bed by 10pm. It’s all about being alert, alive, and ready to adjust as life unfolds.
Now, look, as important as it is to to have moderation, an addict will yawn at this whimsical approach. The very essence of addiction is a need for that overwhelming feeling of bliss. That’s why some smoke cigarettes, some do drugs, some are adrenaline junkies. It’s that RUSH that we crave. Can it really be found if we are focusing on moderation? Nope. Sadly, sobriety and reality will never be as fulfilling as those trips. Or can it?
Have you ever skydived? Travelled somewhere you’ve never been? Sat in a restaurant and ATE ALONE? Oh man, I can give you a million examples of when I felt that intense emotion racing through my body and I was actually sober!
Now, I can’t speak to ANYONE about how to cure addiction. What I hope to do is point out how being an addict has many forms and we can’t be so quick to label one worse than the other. The only way to change addiction is to change everything.
So here’s my challenge for you…make a list of the things you are addicted to. Here’s mine:
1.) my kids
4.) marathon training
7.) protein shakes
Now separate the ones you consider healthy with the ones that only give you instant gratification but leave you feeling drained afterward.
- My Kids
- Marathon Training
- Protein Shakes
I’m trying to enjoy my good list more than my bad list. I swear. But seriously, how can the two even compete? They can’t. That’s the ugly little truth. The scale will always tip in favor of vices. Explaining why life is this way will take waaaaay more time than I have today, but what I will remind you is that moderation is the key.
If I can spend 90% of my time focusing on the good in life that naturally stimulates that feeling of happiness, then the 10% of the time I relapse/break out/give in will hopefully not be enough to claim victory over my entire life. I can learn to change what I am craving to something everyone around me can also benefit from.
I don’t know. I’m just a mom with a big heart. What do I know really? I do know this. Seeing my kids smile always makes my blood pump faster. Going on a super long run makes my heart race. Inspiring people with my insight makes me happy. Giving my time to helping others in need gives me super hero strength. Changing up my cluttered house and dusting off my things gives me hope. So, maybe beating addiction isn’t as impossible or abnormal as it’s taboo reputation? Maybe we all are a Tyler Durden whose actually woken up and evolved into a super human. However, we are taking it to the next level. We are learning how to be truly amazing, high on life, BUT ALSO care how our life touches those around us?
I have faith. I truly do. Someone once told me to write about what you know and someone will find value in your insight. I hope this chat got your wheels turning. That or leave my theory, the intent is sincere. We all are fighting a battle of good vs. evil. It’s not easy. Whatever you do, keep moving. I learned that this week from my friend Julie Slater. She’s a witty one, that Julie. Now, go boost those endorphins by spreading love and good to your world. You got this, Daily Feelers. 😘
JB McCann has worked in “The Biz” for almost a decade, yet she’s somehow managed to keep her feet firmly on the ground. Her altruistic spirit aims to evoke your Inner Phoenix and encourage readers to take the difficult leaps in life, so you can continue to grow.