Habits – shades of a society symptom
The word ‘addiction’ gets bantered about indiscriminately in society and without any thought to its meaning whatsoever in reference to daily life. What we really want to call our over-indulgence and self-medication is ’coping’ and we create ’habits’ around it. Ergo, because that’s precisely what is happening within us.
We often use something outside ourselves beyond moderation as a coping mechanism in an effort to satisfy a perceived need, to avoid conflict, to rebel, or block out physical/emotional pain in one or more forms, but why?
Could it be right inside our own bodies?
Adrenaline is a powerful hormone and clearly an active element in addiction as we use our own adrenaline as a drug. We use adrenaline in unwarranted fears, or an attempt to escape bad feelings within ourselves, but at the same time forget to instill the good ones with our other hormones, our endorphins.
The adrenaline rush pushes a body into a frightened state with extreme discomfort or high anxiety and beset a wide variety of symptoms and diagnosis. There are the panic attacks that can stop you in the middle of shopping or keep you at home, in a state of terror, as if you were in a war zone.
Let’s look at the many outlets that people use beyond moderation to offset the effect of adrenaline (fight or flight) hormone and create the habitual coping component in their lives.
- Alcohol – the social aspect in commercials is over-rated; although it keeps changing, two drinks per day seems to be acceptable at this point, more than that and you could have a ‘drinking problem’, and more still, you could have more problems; watch for hidden alcohol in medications
- Crime – stealing from others involves the risk aspect and living on the edge of getting caught; it may indicate that you believe you can’t earn money honestly or it may be an attention getter
- Dieting – obsession with diets is a way to feel we are in control of our life by controlling our body
- Drugs – caffeine; nicotine; soft and hard, prescription and non-prescription.
- Food – sugar; junk food; comfort foods; chocolate, etc.
- Gambling – bingo; lottery; casino
- Sex– promiscuity; homosexual tendencies in heterosexuals; when traded for marriage or money is a sign of insecurity and low self-esteem
- Violence – lack of anger control; suicide (self murder); murder of other people
- Work – an all-time favourite driving force and sadly a socially accepted escape from problems
Our over-zealous habits advertise our weaknesses as we:
- Drink to make other people more interesting (slogan on a bumper sticker)
- Test others to see who cares how bad we can be
- Get rid of the fat until those awful feelings are all gone with it
- Wake up life so we can go back to sleep and pretend we are awake
- Stay fat or unkempt and dare others to ‘like us the way we are’
- Feel like a winner by selling ourselves to high-risk chance
- Hide from low self-esteem by showing that somebody does want us…anybody
- Force the hand of someone to save us from ourselves
- Dive into our job because we are good at that…and bad at relationships
When you study behaviours in people enough, you learn to recognize the signs in the body language, voice, and sensitivity or indifference to certain subjects. These tell you if they are troubled by something in their life, either submissively or aggressively. It’s like they are wearing a big sandwich board that advertises their problems to the rest of the world and they don’t even know it.
Consider the nature of a domestic canine: a dog will shy away from the broom that is used to beat him, but still crave affection from the one doing the beating. People are much more complicated than dogs and can choose to leave the abuser and sweep our home without being spooked using any broom we want and with our own affection.
The instigating factor in the release of adrenaline is fear…fight or flight
Self-medication as a coping mechanism
Sometimes we react to stress or trauma by burying our true feelings so deep that we are numb to them and adrenaline becomes a way of feeling anything at all, period. Self medication habits often start out by using the narcotic component to relieve tension built up by adrenaline when going through a crisis. It works for a while, but over time a self-perpetuating crisis cycle emerges. Remember to work out your issues rather than trying to escape them before it becomes crosses that line into addiction, which is more harmful than the issue itself.
Further more, when even more stress such as death and disaster strike, you will be need to be able to cope.
From the point you are at now, could you handle it if a close family member died? And over the course of the next 2½ years, five more died? And then, two more near deaths? Death is clearly beyond our control and you’d just be picking yourself up when WHAM! another punch in the gut and another truckload of pain to dump somewhere inside yourself until you can get to it.
If you think that you are hurting now, where would you put more? If you think that you can pile up the pain and deal with it when you get around to it, you will become very aware of how it factors itself into all other aspects of your life until you do. You will also get to really feel how much more pain your body will not tolerate.
Be very mindful of how the addictive component in your habit of choice affects your personality and relationships with other people as well as your body. Try to take a break from the dependence, especially alcohol and the drugs for a week every so often if they have become a problem to let your body recuperate.
Anxiety and panic disorders
- Low estrogen
- Be sure to have your annual checkup, especially if you are peri- or pre- menopausal aged as low estrogen can cause panic attacks because it affects the nervous system. Or it could be an imbalance between estrogen and progesterone. You will find this out just by getting an estrogen sample from your doctor or natural estrogen from a health food store and you will notice a difference right away.
- Caffeine has a huge effect on the nervous system, especially the cheaper grade store-brands coffees. Find a better way to “wake up” like exercise, as coffee stimulates and drains the adrenals as well as contributes to low blood sugar. Try a more expensive brand to see if it helps by giving you more coffee satisfaction and switch to decaf for your second cup/pot or mix them. With the bulk-grind water-processed decaf you won’t be able to notice the difference in taste.
- If the cause of indiscriminate panic attacks is an underlying anxiety it may evolve into deeper phobias, mostly involving social circumstances. If your self-esteem is low or has been desecrated, your mind may produce irrational and fearful thoughts and you will need to (re)build your self-esteem and/or find out what dietary changes to include to overcome them, i.e., avoid highly processed foodstuffs.
- Low estrogen
Some steps to help you through the healing process
- Depression will likely beset you, as before you were trusting something/someone else to make you feel good. Consider it a stage to go through until you learn to make your own self happy.
- Fear and guilt perpetuate the addiction cycle, so you will need to stop in your tracks at some point and let go of judging yourself or letting others judge you in order to loosen the foothold.
- Get to know the signs that your body tells you, especially with anxiety and panic.
- Keep track of what events, people, and/or feelings trigger your addictive bursts with journaling.
- Learn to control your thoughts.
- Seek out stronger support methods of healing and regaining inner peace if self-control is too elusive:
- Life Coach
- NLP practitioner
- Professional counsellor
- Laser therapy
- Rehabilitation…use them with pride in yourself.
- Stop feeling guilty, as at that moment you decide to heal, your addiction becomes your past.
- Surround yourself with positive non-judgmental people.
Once you have risen above your pain and have cleared the emotional attachments you will have compassion for that person that went through the tough times, namely you.
You may also find that the people who judged you are really not your friends or true family and wanted to keep you down so that it would make them look good. You’ll find out pretty quick who they are and you’ll see their true nature very quickly as they resist changes in you.
When the addictive quality hangs on as a bad habit even after you resolve the conflict, then it’s a matter of replacing the bad habit with a good one. For example, alcohol for most people is an acquired taste, so by switching to de-alcoholized wine or beer is simply acquiring a new taste. Then it’s just a habit that becomes tedious and boring after a while and you find better tastes in life. There is a great NLP process for this here: Grid Swish Pattern.
You are the only one who knows exactly what you are feeling and finding your way through the maze of emotions may be awkward, confusing, and extremely uncomfortable at times. When you can, be aware and let them surface in a controlled way, you will see them as growing pains and the feeling is of a stretching, expanding, or letting go nature.
You might feel that you are losing something when you break a bad habit, and an emptiness may set in. Start right away to fill any void with positive actions such as reading self-help books or starting a hobby. You will need to maintain a positive energy flow, no matter how small, until you build enough momentum to sustain yourself.
You may find what ailments or residues of illness have made themselves at home in your body during the course of your angers and frustrations. Diseases or cancers may have also been started and now those too can be healed by your newly created healthy cells. You may also find that in the healing of your own wounds, you have the natural flowing ability to heal others without thought or hesitation.
Remember that your health and body are taking a beating in the meantime so at least do the vitamin thing and get some form of mild exercise like walking.
Here are some steps toward healing the hurts and breaking destructive coping habits:
- Recognize the coping mechanism…what form it takes.
- Study its pattern…what or who is happening when it hits you…get in touch with the feeling that comes up.
- Recognize the conflict part…ask yourself if this is something happening to you now or in the past, or if it’s a cycle. If it’s a:
- past conflict, recognize the feelings will be old ones and you are a stronger person now.
- current conflict, recognize that you can control those feelings with practice.
- cycle of conflict, recognize it either way.
- Sometimes you will just have feelings and not recognize where they’re from.
For the most part, the feeling is described as pain or anxiety or panic. The underlying emotion may be anger, fear, resentment, guilt, etc. The feelings can’t hurt you in themselves, although it may feel like your heart, your gut, or your head is in a vice. If you stop to study it, you will find the underlying emotion, which may or may not trigger a memory. How you react or respond to this event and how much you keep pushing back down is what causes degrees of physical discomfort.
Once you are aware of the cause of undesirable feelings and emotions, you can decide how you are going to deal with them. The important thing is to accept it as a part of you and see it as a part that you can now grow beyond.
The opposite of fear is love…
turn to the love within you when unwarranted fear strikes
We have an enormous emotional range that is much like an elastic band inside. We feel it when we are growing and letting go of old destructive emotions and learning healthy new ones. Continuously suppressing our feelings, bad or good will eventually lead to an explosion if not released in a timely manner. We are much stronger than we often give ourselves credit for when it comes to dealing with deep-seated issues, but until we do, we hold ourselves prisoner with our own thoughts.
We can choose to be in touch with our feelings, let go, and grow…or not
Getting Help from Your own body
‘High on life’ endorphins are one of our body’s neuro-hormones that give us the natural high that we get with meditation, deep/yogic breathing, robust laughter, chocolate, chili peppers, certain music, etc., that are good for our health and can assist in releasing the hold of bad habits. It is what creates that euphoric state of feeling joyful along with a sense of well-being that many people are missing in their lives.
Euphoria is the state that you find yourself in when you have overcome a narcotic dependency, as the more you have a euphoric high, the less you want the addictive high. It is what gives you your second wind and you can train your body to produce it thereby creating your own happiness as well as a long and healthy life. It is nature’s pain reliever when injury strikes and our body’s defense against disease by boosting the immune system and killing cancer cells.
The four key effects that endorphins produce on the body/mind:
- enhance the immune system
- relieve pain
- reduce stress
- postpone the aging process
Relief from chronic stress, anger, and depression and is what nature gives us when we learn how to release it into our system with: meditation, hypnosis, acupuncture, massage, electrotherapy, chiropractic, hydrotherapy, hydro-massage, alternating hot and cold showers/baths, hot and/or cold compresses, steam baths, colonic irrigations, to name a few. Endorphins are also released into our system when we do enjoyable things, think enjoyable thoughts, have short-intensity workouts, as well as blissful sex and orgasms.
The down side is that too many people only use sex or ‘fall in love’ over and over to get that high and go through life not knowing that it is a natural body function. They truly are missing out on opportunities.
We can take control of our life in many ways
Holics judging holics?
A rage-holic will attack another person who drinks alcohol as a way to relax after work with alcoholic put-downs at the same time they have their own addictive personalities that are all too obvious and with more disastrous consequences. The fact of the matter is many people are not alcoholics in the true sense of the word, but when they drink around certain people, the underlying resentment between them is bared and emotions escalate into arguments or fighting.
Although the ‘sober’ one was usually the instigator, the so-called ‘alcoholic’ would be blamed for the scenario. It seems that in imbibing certain spirits or taking certain drugs, one’s underlying emotions emerge and depending on the company, the topic of discussion, or the atmosphere, the defenses may be down or up.
Compare the docile bank teller having a friendly cocktail after work with mates at the local pub to the volatile piss tank having bitchy brew with the spouse and/or children at home. Same person…different scene.
It’s time to face the facts and one of them is: a true addict that society likes to label as alcoholics, pot heads and pill poppers want only to drink, smoke and swallow narcotics – they have no interest in anyone or anything else…period.
But, don’t write them off either – they are running a bigger gauntlet.
This is the line that you do not want to cross.
When you don’t take good care of the deep-seated issues your life, you will have a harder time taking care of the ones that come along in day-to-day life. There is good news and bad news in going here. The good news is that you will finally be taking care of all of the issues, but the bad new is that it will be all at once. It will release a shock-load of adrenaline where you will have to draw on every bit of positive energy within and think every possible good thought so that you can to get through it. It will feel like a battle for good and evil when you release the pain and anguish that you have been pushing down for years. Afterwards you will feel an extreme peace and inner strength, and somewhat victorious.
Addiction & Dis-eased Lifestyle
When you live for your habit above everything else, you have tunnel vision and lose touch with the rest of your life and the ability to live it. You will become a great actor/actress in relating to the rest of the world, but you will soon discover that more is missing than before. You will lose interest in your life and those lives around you and feel that you are living behind a heavy veil. It is hard, but not impossible to regain your life by remembering to not feel guilty when you are seriously trying to heal.