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For when you can't seem to escape your addictions

In this video, Dan and Casey talk to a Support Wall user who is stuck rotating through several different addictions. Watch below:

Next Steps:

  1. Often, deep personality struggles can manifest themselves in addictions to “surface level” habits, like drinking too much or spending a lot of money on shoes. We could call these symptoms of an underlying disease. What are your symptoms?
  2. Jot down your “cycle”, if you’re familiar with it. For example, some of us might find ourselves on a “diet” cycle because of body-image issues. That cycle might look like (eat too much --> feel guilty --> exercise for 3 hours --> becomes stressed because you haven’t lost weight --> eat too much from the stress). You may have several different cycles that you find yourself on, no shame here.

In the video above, Dan uses the phrase “elephant in the room” to talk about the addictions we might find ourselves in. But, he instead suggests ignoring that elephant for a second, and looking instead at what led the elephant INTO the room. It may feel like it sometimes, but no person wants to be addicted to something harmful. But because we don’t want to struggle and wrestle deeply with the root cause of that struggle, it feels easier to stay on the surface.

As Casey talks about in the video, of course the answer to all addictions is to just stop. Easy right? Well, we’ll probably shut down HeartSupport, as we’ve solved it all now. No - as we all know, it’s really hard. Identifying, tearing out, and keeping out the root can be among the hardest things we can undertake in life. But, it’s also the most rewarding.

Deeper Questions:

  1. Look at your cycle again. In between each addiction you’re wrestling with, there’s a “–>”. Now, write down what those arrows represent. For example, for this arrow: (become stressed that you haven’t lost weight --> gorge yourself to ward off the stress), the answer would be “food is comfort”.
  2. Now, take each arrow, and write what you may be avoiding or running from by using that specific thing. For the example above “food is comfort” - you’d write what’s uncomfortable. Complete the sentence: “Food is comfort, and I’d rather dive headfirst into this cheesecake than deal with that one time my mom called me ‘blimp boy’.”
  3. For each arrow, you’ll have a deeper struggle that you may be covering up with a surface level addiction. Write them separately - are they maybe one thing? Or, are these all indicative of one struggle you have?
  4. Now, we’ll rewrite our arrows. This time, instead of writing why we run, we’ll imagine what it looks like to stay and fight. For our food example: “Food is comfort, and it’s really good. But, I’m going to remember that it doesn’t solve my deeper issues.”
  5. Once you’ve determined that your surface addictions can’t solve the deeper problems, separate those deeper problems as well. Set aside time to dwell and meditate on them, and when you are comfortable identifying them, find resources to help you in your recovery from these deeper problems. For example, “Man, I’ve got some body image issues. My mom used to antagonize me and call me fat, and as a result, I run to food for comfort. Time to do some research on support groups or books I can read to help navigate this issue.”
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Next Steps

  1. I struggle with laziness - usually this manifests in watching way too much TV or playing video games for too long.
  2. Be confronted with something difficult or complex --> “I don’t want to deal with this” --> escape into a tv show, movie, video games, or just the internet in general --> the thing I didn’t want to deal with comes back, and now it’s an emergency --> become stressed --> run back to tv/video games/etc

Deeper Questions:

  1. My arrows are
    –> “I might fail”
    –> I can’t fail if I don’t try, let’s go do something else
    –> Laze around for hours
    –> Oh no! Now there is a fire
    –> The fire is even bigger now, now I’m REALLY gonna fail, I’m out
  2. For me, failure is uncomfortable. I would rather not try than fail, because I have experienced a lot of failure in the past, and it was uncomfortable for me. I’d rather not be uncomfortable, so I’m just not going to deal with it.
  3. ^^^
  4. You cannot escape from life. You can, for a little bit, mute it or avoid it, but it’s going to come crashing back stronger if you do so. TV and the Internet are fine, but more than an hour or so of spending time there puts me in an irritated, bad place. I need to confront hard complexities before they confront me.
  5. I’m going to express my fear of failure to people I trust, like my wife and boss, and set up bumpers so that I can take this thing head-on as it comes, slowly and patiently building strength.

Watch too much TV

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