Avoiding Addictive Behaviors


This past Sunday, I posted 10 Ways to Find Time for Inspiration. This post expands on #3: Avoid addictive behaviors.

Television, video games and drinking or other drug use are a few things that some of us can get carried away with. Hours or days can pass by in what seems to be a blink of an eye. If an attempt to moderate a behavior fails, it is best to avoid it all together. If avoiding a behavior that has become uncontrollable seems impossible, consider a 12 step program; it will change your life.

In yesterday’s post, See the Miracle In Everything, I talked about my personal experience with addiction and how the horror of that experience has lead me to a life of gratitude today. Today’s post talks about turning addictive behaviors around: whether it’s a life imbalance caused by minor obsessive habits, or a life damning addiction that has taken control of everything.

Time Draining Habits

If you have ever habitually spent more time on an activity than you had intended, you know that time management and good planning fail in the face of such habits. Whether it’s channel surfing, video gaming, working or gardening, time can slip by unnoticed. You might intend to stop in a few minutes, but you first notice the time that has passed an hour later.

The Dangling Carrot

The commonality of these habits is that, deep inside, we believe that if we continue the activity, we will reach a point of contentment and satisfaction. If we reach a milestone, we’ll be happy and able to stop. But, the milestone takes much longer than expected, and it only makes us eager for the next one.

This is the same principle that keeps drug addicts going for the next fix even though the last one made life more miserable than it already was. There is always this deep belief that contentment and bliss will be reached and maintained. As the addiction makes life more and more miserable, the thought of replacing the misery with contentment and bliss is irresistible. Alcohol and other drug addiction can drain hours, days, years or even decades from a life.

Find a Different Carrot

When we find ourselves losing control of our ability to manage our own time because we are trying to find contentment outside of ourselves, there is a spiritual disconnect within us.

The best weapon to combat these time draining habits is spiritual growth. Practicing spiritual principles, such as those discussed in these daily posts, brings contentment and satisfaction like nothing in the material world can.

The problem of serious addiction requires more attention than a single daily reflection. If you are struggling with serious addition, find a 12-step fellowship. Addiction, in a nutshell, is spiritual bankruptcy and the 12-steps are a path of spiritual growth. Additionally, connecting with others who are struggling with the same problem is invaluable. This is what turned my life around.

Reverse the Cycle

Obsessive habits are self-perpetuating. The more they are practiced, the more spiritual energy they drain from us. The more spiritual energy we lose, the more we tend to lean on obsessiveness.

The same is true in reverse. Spiritual habits reduce our dependence on time draining habits. Having fewer time draining habits allows better time management and more time for spiritual growth.

Daily Action – Reverse the Cycle

Be conscious of your time draining habits today and explore whether your behavior is following an addictive pattern. Reverse the cycle by seizing the habit today and using the time for spiritual growth, self-reflection, meditation, prayer or the 12-steps.