Yesterday I touched on the subject, that motivation is easier to grasp when there is support along the way. Life style shifts are more smooth with like minded individuals.
Later I happened upon an article posted to one of my friends pages, The Likely Cause of Addiction.
Rarely do I read such a lengthy article, and agree with the whole thing, while simultaneously changing my beliefs and admitting I have been doing things wrong.
Johann Hari uses this article to explore that “.. the opposite of addiction is not sobriety. It is human connection. ”
Our Culture has a distorted view on what addiction is, and sometimes it can seem that what is “repetitive” or “habitual” is actually classified to be addictive behavior.
In our current culture, addiction is mutually exclusive and associated to “unhealthy behavior.”
As Johann Hari had his own reasons to explore the truths behind addiction, I was enthralled at how he was able to empathetically articulate the single reason which leads to addictive behavior; environmental loneliness. Lack of support.
He mentions a study on rats. Rats that lived in healthy social environments chose not to ingest drug laced water, where as isolated rats chose to spend much of their time intoxicated; however when the sad isolated rat was returned to the healthy social environment, the rats avoided the laced water.
Additionally Hari mentions that 95% of opiate addicted Vietnam vets, were able to return to America and live productive lives, drug free with out rehab.
He poses the hypothesis that when people feel happy, supported and safe, they have no need to externally stimulate their opiate receptors, which inherently block pain… emotional or physical.
The propaganda and programming we have toward addicts, is that they need to be isolated, and cut off, until they can “get their shit in order.” And by the hypothesis of Hari, this leads to counter productive results, and actually enables an addict to continue their use, in order to avoid facing their isolation.
Our outdated views on addiction, do not take into (enough) account how unique each individual is, in their own chemistry and motivating life experience.
This begs to ask the question, is there such a thing as a “healthy” addiction?
Take for instance endorphins. Also known as endogenous morphine, which actually means “morphine like substance, naturally released within the body.” We all have opiate receptors in our brain, and things like sex, running, chocolate and extreme physical exertion can cause a natural flood of endorphins in to the blood and brain.
If you have ever heard of “runners high,” it is the point where the body becomes so infused with endorphins that begins to feel damn near invincible. The habit of running and naturally releasing the “feel good” hormone can become addicting; yet have you ever heard of Runners Anonymous? You never hear about runners needing to go to support groups for running too much.
Groups of runners are actually quite supportive of one another, regardless of level.
Addictions are often micro analyzed from the aspect of external introduction of chemicals, however it appears addiction has more to do with an individuals own chemistry and environment mixed with repetitive behavior, than it does with drugs.
Ask yourself this; Do you pick at your face in the mirror while talking shit to yourself?
Do you constantly self deprecate?
Do you cut yourself?
Do you compulsively gamble?
Do you binge and then purge?
Do you eat to console yourself?
Do you throw up after you eat?
Do you bite your finger nails, or click a pen?
This, along with a bunch of other drugless activities can be seen as addictive, depending on the individual (to others it could just be seen as annoying or burdensome.)
Depending on the individual, each of these activities can be soothing, and depending on how it all came about, can stimulate the brain to release endorphins. Numbing and soothing the “addict.”
Endorphins are not mutually exclusive to positive triggers. Endorphins are also released in when the brain when we take risks or go into “fight or flight mode.”
It can almost be deduced that all of us suffer from one addiction or another; if we do anything repetitively and find it comforting or get high from it. It is the brains response to seeking balance and to avoid pain.
And while, those of us who are struggling to get in shape, may not consider our previous stagnant lifestyles as “addictions;” there is something to say about the levels of our own hormones and chemistry which can mirror addiction which led to being unhappy with the self. This is how couch potatoes become athletes… they find a new way to trigger natural stimulation, that is easily attained. The perception pain shifts, and physical aches become worth the natural chemical rush.
If you find yourself, unhappy with your current state of things, and filling the void or blocking the pain; I encourage you to find a supportive activity to get those healthy triggered endorphins running through you. Start viewing your own body as a natural pharmacy that can be adapt genic.
Realize if you are being drawn to dissociative behaviors, something needs to change in your life, because that behavior is born from a lack of feeling supported and uncomfortable in your environment. Lucky for you, change always comes from within, and this may be just the reminder you needed…You CAN do this
Can you become addicted to hating on yourself? Yes, you can, especially if you live an unsupported lifestyle. Does it have to be permanent? No. You just have to find the courage to take the first step.