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Do You Have an Addictive Lifestyle?

By Mary White

Addiction can be simply explained as the devoted conducting of oneself in a habitual or obsessive manner that causes dependency.

Addicts come in all shapes, sizes and degrees of involvement - from the tragic addictive consequences of alcohol and hard drug use to seemingly harmless addictions like eating only red M&M's. Some of the more well-known addictions include compulsive behavior, nicotine, sex, co-dependency, internet, gambling, work, caffeine, chocolate, money, shopping; to the more recent addiction to texting.

I believe that LIFESTYLES can become ADDICTIVE. And, quite possibly, it is our addictive lifestyles that eventually lead us to other addictions.

Many times throughout our lives we need to sit back and reassess the WHO, WHAT, WHY, WHERE, WHEN and HOW of our individual existence. Unfortunately, what tends to happen is that we wait until things have gotten way out of hand, and the level of anxiety, frustration and anger is extremely high. That's when it all seems so terribly hopeless. The pile of manure has gotten so high that we can't see daylight let alone have the strength to figure out a way to get rid of it.

It may be that the problem is with other people's attitudes about your lifestyle - and in reality - you're fine! However, if you can acknowledge that something is not quite right, then you should sort out exactly WHAT/WHO the problem is! You must resolve to attack the problem head on (and that in itself is half the problem solved). It's a bit like having a huge pile of paperwork on your desk and because you never quite get around to dealing with it, you continually keep putting one piece on top of the rest - eventually, it all seems like too much hard work. Whereas, if you just take one piece at a time and deal with it until that task is completed, you would be amazed at how quickly the pile will disappear!

I'm sure that you are aware of the necessity of laying the foundation before you start building the house. (It is also a good idea to have a plan!) Then you move in and often live in a house for a while before deciding to remodel or add a room. You come to realize that your tastes in design and decorating as well as your functional needs have shifted - sometimes only slightly. Eventually, more decisions need to be considered - where to put the extra room, how big should it be, do you just knock out a wall or two instead, what color do you paint it?

Funny thing is though -- when you get to the stage of thinking about remodeling the house you don't first agonize over what a failure you've become by buying the house in the first place - you accept the pending changes as a normal course of events.

A similar thing happens as we traverse life's hills and valleys, tunnels and open roads. We start out heading for a big city, then for some inexplicable reason take a left turn and end up living in a country town. Sometimes we end up staying in that country town forever living a very contented life. Sometimes we tire of country life and go back to the city. Sometimes we spend our time constantly traveling, never settling down.

Along the journey we can occasionally find ourselves at roadside rest stops wondering why we are heading in one direction as opposed to another, or we just sit there feeling stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic, not being able to see any way to get off the highway. So, we just keep traveling aimlessly along... following the herd.

We can become dependent -- or feel trapped - in an environment or situation and/or surrounded by people that we really want to get away from. We want to change things - but we have no idea how! Even the very thought of making a change can be terrifying.

It becomes much easier to blame something or someone else. We convince ourselves that we are trapped because of money (or the lack of), the effect of people around us (or the lack of), family influences (or the lack of), steady, satisfying employment (or the lack of), education (or the lack of). We feel like we're stuck in quicksand and going down fast!

In reality, we should all take the time to look at where we are and accept that we are exactly where we are by means of our own decisions. There is no one else to blame. In fact, there is no blame; there is no fault. Decisions that we made or directions that we took along the way were what we wanted at the time. Maybe, however, the time has come to accept that we just don't belong 'here' anymore (and it is perfectly all right to feel this way) - and it's time to move on. Maybe, in fact, we are exactly where we belong and just need self-confirmation to restore our belief in the competence of our choices. How do we know the difference?

You've been pretending for so long -- even you're starting to believe your performance!

At the end of the day, it's the same for everyone -- life keeps going on and on; round and round. However, there are times along the way when we need to stop and check to make sure that we really are being true to ourselves and to our own, very individual destinies.

Confidence in our potential, achieving our potential while creating self-esteem and satisfaction coming from the attainment of our potential.

Taking the liberty to combine and paraphrase a line from an overheard conversation and from John Lennon: It is not the problems we face -- it's how we face the problems, and if we have the courage to face the problems head - on, we will find there are no problems -- only solutions!

The criterion for success is listening to and acting on the dialogue of your inner-self.

The motivation to begin is determination. Remember that scene halfway through 'Gone with the Wind' when Scarlett is on her knees in the field digging for turnips? Holding her dirty hands to heaven she says, "With God as my witness, I'll never be hungry again"... and she never was!

Instead of wasting your time being envious of other people or blaming other people for dilemmas in your life, it would be better to spend that time looking at each of your relationships, your environment and the situations you're involved in; then honestly admit to yourself which of these are and which are not compatible with your true self.

You may come to realize how much that surrounds you is truly NOT your responsibility. Once you fade out of your existence what is, in fact, someone else's negativities, your load suddenly becomes much lighter and more manageable.

Your new catch phrase needs to become - "Its not my problem!"

You need to regain control of your life -- it is after all the only one you've got and its well being should be your primary concern! As with all addictions -- you are the only one who can take that first step -- the wanting to readjust a few of the cogs. No one can make you take that step and no one can take it for you. You need to start restyleing your life now!

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