Habits and Addictions: A Poor Life Exchange

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Three-steps for a currency exchange

Have you ever traveled to another country? If so you may have also made a currency exchange. Converting monies from one country to another is a three step process.

First we recognize that our US Dollars are not as helpful abroad.

Next a decision must be made as to what the local currency is. We chose between Mexican Pesos, European Euros, Rupees in India, Japanese Yens or a hundred other forms of money.

Finally, the decision is made to make the exchange. After weeks of planning a decisive moment comes to “pull the trigger” and convert our Dollars to Pesos or Yen.

Habits follow a similar three-step exchange

Using the exchanging currency just cited, I suggest that most habits and addictions follow a similar three-step process. Let me explain.

First, we experience an “unwanted” currency

Just as tourists believe their native currency might not be acceptable or desirable elsewhere, one with a habit or addiction finds a portion of their personal currency to be unacceptable.  But instead of dollars and cents, these private denominations come in the form of uncomfortable emotions, found in unwanted situations.

Here are examples of some old, uncomfortable emotional currencies:

  • Anger and frustration
  • Anxiety, fear and worry
  • Depression and sadness
  • Feelings of helplessness, powerlessness and hopelessness

And there are unwanted situational currencies, like these:

  • Feeling bored and detached in life
  • Recounting specific life regrets
  • Grieving over losses in relationships, career or life goals
  • Possess a sense of helplessness and unworthiness in find joy

Next there is a hope for a “new currency,” which might not be found in an addiction

It is human nature to not like stress and pain. We all desire a life that is calm, secure and meaningful.  To pursue a better life means we “exchange” our incomplete or distressful moments in life for a currency safety, success and satisfaction.

However, sometimes, the goals pursued and the choices made do not bring about good outcomes. In fact, the very nature underlying habits and addictions actually typically exchanges one form of bad currency (see above) for often a more harmful currency.

Habits and addictions lead to poor exchanges

The final act in making a currency exchange when traveling also fits the sequence of a habit or addiction.  Both are seen as obvious and willful acts, but while a US Dollar exchange should add to a vacations’ success, the monetary conversion in of a habit actually brings a halt in the journey, if not more pain.

Some of the ways a habit or addiction is a poor transaction, include some of these:

  1. A habit is very non-productive. It does not typically add to a person life.
  2. Instead the addiction really just neutralizes the uncomfortable and stress feelings.
  3. Often these behaviors lead to shame, and become private and hidden from others.
  4. Over time an addiction isolates a person and the habit occupies their existence.
  5. Then, there are the negative consequences of most addictions. Delays and damage can be found in one’s relationships, career, esteem and health.
  6. And, over a lifetime, few good memories or souvenirs are held up in pride. Instead, only the loose change of loneliness, regrets, emptiness and despair remain.

Recognizing specific habit exchanges

Now, in light of this writing, consider how many habits and addictions may seem to offer release from a past setting and/or relief in new setting. But now question and recognize the “costs” or letdown the habit leads to.

For example, honestly question the lasting outcome (even 24 hours after the exchange decision) does alcohol or drugs, anorexia or overeating, gambling, pornography or sex addiction, or any other repetitive activity really provide in your life’s journey?      

Help fining new exchange options

I hope this article is of help to you or someone close to you. If a habit, addiction or any other stuck thought or activities is occurring – and a new exchange program is desired –  then please contact me  or at 952-920-2789.

 

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