Deliver yourself from self sabotage

As we have come to the conclusion of the first quarter of the year, it is necessary for all of us to audit our daily routines and pay special attention to areas where we are slowly becoming enslaved by anti-progressive habits. If these habits are not nipped in the bud in this early part of the year, chances are that these destructive practices will become strengthened and converted into formidable forces against our own progressive goals which we have developed towards a fruitful and significant year. Whilst many of us humour and make jokes about our some of our adopted addictions, we fail to recognise the power that these seemingly harmless affections can have in our lives in the medium to long term. Habits that we pick up and fail to let go can very easily sabotage our health, relationships, careers and general well-being. They may seem very harmless at first until they begin to grow and begin to overwhelm us.

The addictive process and addictive behaviours

According to psychologist William R. Miller, in his writing on The Addictive Behaviours, an individual can become addicted, dependent, or compulsively obsessed with any activity, substance, object, or behaviour that gives them pleasure. Several researchers imply that there is a similarity between physical addiction to various chemicals, such as alcohol and heroin, and psychological dependence involved in such activities as compulsive gambling, sex, work, running, or eating disorders. The reason for this is that these activities may produce beta-endorphins in the brain, which makes the person feel “high.” These and other reports suggest that if a person continues to engage in the activity to achieve this feeling of well-being and euphoria, they may get into an addictive cycle. In so doing, they become physically addicted to their own brain chemicals, thus leading to continuation of the behaviour even though it may have negative health or social consequences. There are a variety of activities, behaviours, or even hobbies upon which some individuals can become psychologically dependent. Some of these activities may not be as life threatening as chemical addictions or eating disorders, but they can have profound negative effects on the individual and society. In general, any behaviour that is compulsively done by a person to the extent that it causes physical, social, or psychological problems to the individual, their family, or society would be considered to be an addictive behaviour for that individual.

Addiction to work

Our society rewards hard work. Society implies that the person who spends much time at the office or studying, if it brings more money, job promotion, or better grades, is “being productive.” In fact, many individuals who have spent most of their time working have made extremely positive contributions to society and have often changed history because of their dedication. On the other hand, if the “work” becomes an obsession to the extent that family, friends, other interests, or hobbies become unimportant and ignored, the person is then thought to be a workaholic or work addict. Complete devotion to work, to the exclusion of close relationships, often leads to family problems and divorce. It can lead to loneliness in old age, when the person realizes that all of his or her accomplishments really “do not mean much or were not rewarded properly.” Workaholics who become “absent parents” can cause psychological problems in their children. Workaholics find it difficult to relax and just “do nothing.” When “relaxing” they often feel guilty because they are not being productive and will spend their free time becoming more and more anxious because they are doing nothing until they are back at work again. Certain people use smartphones to lift their moods. For such people, losing a phone or having its battery die could cause anxiety or panic.

Love and Relationships

In my recently published book, The Connection Factor, I discuss the subject of understanding when to connect, disconnect and reconnect. It is possible for an individual to become obsessed with another person to the point that other areas of their life are neglected. The person focuses all of their attention and energy on the “love object,” to the exclusion of friends, family, and other life commitments. Even when the person knows intellectually that the obsession is causing harm, even thinking about breaking up the relationship will bring on an anxiety attack. When the relationship is finally terminated, by either party, withdrawal symptoms of sleep and eating disorders, shaking, confusion, weeping, and feelings of failure, depression, and hopelessness occur. There are two basic forms of love addiction. In the first type, the relationship is often one sided, with the object of the person’s love not even interested in, or aware of, the obsessed person’s infatuation. The love is based upon imagination and not upon a relationship. Individuals with one-sided addictions sometimes have “attachment hunger”. They feel inner emptiness, incompleteness, insecurity, and anxiety if they do not have a relationship. Some of these individuals enjoy the “chase.” However, if the loved one finally becomes interested in them, they quickly lose interest. This type of person is addicted to the challenge of making an unloving person love them. These individuals will often go from one relationship to another and often never find anyone who is “just right” for them. Sometimes two people are addicted to each other. These individuals seldom interact with others and tend to be possessive of each other and jealous of their lover’s interactions with other people. They are motivated by their own need for security and not by an appreciation of each other’s personal qualities.

In the final analysis, any activity that has become the major focus of a person’s life to the exclusion of other activities, or that has begun to harm the individual or others physically, mentally, or socially has become an addictive behaviour. Weeding out addictive habits takes acceptance and acknowledgement of the addiction before individuals can receive any meaningful spiritually, mental or psychological counsel.

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