6 Things I’ve Learned About Addiction
I have an addictive personality. I know that, you know that, and everyone I’ve ever met probably knows that. If you look up “addictive personality” in the dictionary, I’d be willing to argue that my name is in there. But, I’m sure you have all gathered that by now. Rather than sit here and list off my addictions, I thought I would discuss the core of where my issues stem from.
The root of my addictions is the need for social acceptance. I believe we all want to be liked by other people. We all feel the urge of wanting to be accepted and never being alone. For me, I crave the approval of others more than anyone I know. And that’s my curse.
It originated when I was in high school and hasn’t gone away. I was bullied pretty significantly and I think that’s the reason I’ve always craved acceptance from my peers.
Anyone who has suffered from bullying knows that it’s the most traumatic experience a young person can go through. It usually occurs (but certainly not always) at a fragile time in your life as you are not quite sure who you are yet. You struggle every day trying to find your place with whoever you can, only to be tormented and belittled by the kids who are admired by everyone. It’s a very lonely feeling and anyone who has felt that pain probably doesn’t have the courage to tell you.
When I got to college, I decided to flip the script and mask who I used to be. I made it my mission to gain acceptance from anyone I could by doing whatever I had to.
(This might be actual footage of me doing Hoodrat things with my friends)
I attended mixers with sororities, fraternity parties, intramural football games, and nearly every social event I could. The problem was that I relied on alcohol to fuel my urge of socializing with as many people as I could. I figured that I had missed out on many years of having a ton of friends and there was no way I was going to let any more years go to waste. I met every person I possibly could, and believed the only way to meet those people was to drink and be the life of the party.
I don’t know what switched from when I was younger, but I developed a unique ability to talk to people and make friends. I think the difference between myself and the typical “Frat guy” was that for me it didn’t matter who you were – I just wanted to know you. I didn’t have a motive or affiliation that forced me to only talk to specific groups. I loved talking to everyone.
I developed a passion for people, and that particular part of me hasn’t changed over the years. I still get a thrill out of meeting someone new and learning something that I didn’t know before. Perspective and learning that our way of thinking is not the only way are vital to our growth as humans. People all around us have a story to tell in which maybe we can learn from if we care to listen.
I thank my college experience every day for teaching me about perspective. I just wish I would’ve learned earlier that I didn’t need alcohol to do it. But, as you know, that part of my life is over now and I couldn’t be happier.
Yes, I still struggle with social acceptance and addiction every day, but I’ve learned how to channel those urges into creating the life I’ve always wanted. And the first step was becoming aware of my addictions and learning how to handle them.
Here Are 6 Things I’ve Learned About Addiction…
1. We’re an addicted generation.
My Mom visited a friend the other day and told me she witnessed her friends son (3 years old) walk over, pick up a picture frame from the shelf, and start swiping it like an IPad…
Are you kidding me? How did we let this happen?
The simple fact that you’re reading this right now tells me you’re addicted to the internet (It’s okay, me too). But for the record, THANK YOU…I do look forward to the dopamine hits with every new like on my posts
And isn’t that what it’s all about right there? The dopamine kicks. We all crave it. Dopamine is responsible for a majority of the desire we associate with eating, sexual intercourse, and basically anything good. All addictive drugs trigger dopamine along with gambling, shopping, overeating, smoking, gaming, gossiping, you name it.
But, those certainly aren’t the only things you can be addicted to.
2. You can be addicted to anything
For some humans (like myself), their drug of choice is alcohol. For others, it’s meth, coke, or sex. But addiction stems much further than just boos, drugs, or porn.
Accomplishments can be an addiction. You seek achievements, advancements, awards, etc. and the next big reward that people see you achieve becomes the only thing that matters.
Going to the gym can be an addiction. You want a great bod but the only reason you want that bod is so people can tell you how great you look.
Social media is a big addiction. You post a picture and then wait for the dopamine hits with every new like.
All of these have one central theme though – approval.
3. Underneath any addiction is a fundamental need for approval
The only way to solve an addiction problem is to dig down and find the core of the issue.
You need to ask yourself this question – What problem is occurring in my life that I need to mask the pain or emptiness with an addiction? The cause of your problem lies beneath the surface.
Break the need for constant approval, and you will break your addiction.
4. Substitute the chaos for a different buzz
During moments of chaos, we run to something that promises relief. This is where addictions begin to form. We turn to things we think will make us feel better.
I have a friend who used to smoke for years. Now, whenever he craves a cigarette, he drops down and does 20 pushups. Not only did he quit smoking, but he also has giant pecs now. Win, win.
You need to find a different buzz to eliminate the chaos.
5. Social Media isn’t just an addiction, it’s the reason you’re unhappy
You can filter your face, but you can’t filter your soul.
Society has this image of who we’re supposed to be and what our lives should look like. So, what do we do? We slap on a fake smile, snap the picture, mock it up with a few pretty filters, post it on social media, and wait for the dopamine hits with every new like. Sounds like a recipe for another Great Depression if you ask me.
If you’re addicted to social media, chances are your soul is in constant turmoil. You see everyone else having the time of their lives and wonder why you aren’t there. Yes, FOMO is real.
I recommend doing a social media cleanse for 10 days and learn how to love yourself again. It will help your soul, I guarantee it.
6. An addictive personality will never go away
I’m well aware I have an addictive personality. In fact, I’ve always appreciated my ability to obsess over things. I’m also well aware that it will never go away. Rather than sit here and claim I have control over it, I came up with an alternative.
I channel it into the right things. For years I channeled it into partying, girlfriends, and Jack in the Box tacos (yum). But, not anymore. I made a list of things I actually care about and want to accomplish, and now I channel all my energy into being obsessed with those things.
Now, I’m addicted to loving and being the best version of myself.
So, if you’ve recently found yourself swiping a picture frame or going on a bender for three days (or whatever), then I may know a guy who is just like you and managed to change his life. Give me a ring, I could use a good dopamine kick
That’s all I got for now…stay tuned, friends