Addiction to anything is a gradual process…alcohol, shopping, video games, ecstasy, pornography, sleep, cocaine, sex, power, money, adrenaline…you name it. At it’s most fundamental level, an addiction begins and perpetually thrives on the belief that there is no better way to escape the negative aspects of your life and no faster way to feel good about being alive. And if there IS a better way, why do anything different when the addiction of your preference works so well and feels so good? From a moral perspective, none is any worse than another since they all fundamentally control and dominate a person’s emotional well-being to the point of them taking precious resources from themselves and others to sustain it.
An addiction behaves in a similar way to a weed growing in a beautiful garden…the garden of your mind. It will grow out of balance with the plants around it, obsessively and greedily reaching for the single source of focused energy (the sun) and block out the sun’s rays to all of the plants around it…communication skills, learning to embrace change, resolving a health problem, mastering fear, physical fitness, work ethic, managing one’s diet, developing a new skill…everything else in your garden that needs your energy to thrive and grow. Every moment of your time that you direct the limited amount of precious sunlight (focused energy) you have within your day to that weed (addiction), there is that much less sunlight reaching the other precious flowers in your garden that are barely budding, but you would love to blossom and continue to grow.
There is no judgment in this message. Almost all of us in the modern world have, at some point in our lives, developed and nurtured an addiction of some kind in order to cope with the daily anxiety and stress of living in global economy that capitalizes on scarcity and the fear of social rejection. Some people became aware of their addiction(s) and escaped them before they destroyed every other flower in their garden. I applaud those who did, but this message is for those of us who are aware that the other flowers in our garden are not growing and truly don’t understand why. There is something in our life/garden that we are dedicating far too much time and energy to that is soaking up the precious energy we need to nurture the growth of other things. Examine your garden…examine your daily allocation of focus, energy, and activity, and recognize a weed when you see one. Awareness is the first step. Weeding in this aspect is as simple as directing our time and focus to unfamiliar, yet needed activities and ignoring the powerful temptation to give life to and enjoy the high of our favored weed as it dies.
By: Michael Verdun