Addicted To Drugs - Finding Balance In Today’s World- 6 mins
I’m addicted to drugs and I’m going clean!
As I returned from my run today I realized, I am addicted to drugs. I am not sure how it happened, as the slide was slow and steady. I don’t remember it happening, nor can I look back on any specific time which I can point to and say “ah, there is where I veered.” Yet here I am, addicted.
Drugs, by definition alter your state toward an alternative and desired state. We have drugs that boost your mood, cure your sickness, increase your energy, and change almost any state you may be undesirably experiencing, into one which you currently desirable.
It’s like winning the emotional lottery - instant and satisfying with no work or achievement necessary. I have used these drugs every single day, and while I feel great most of the time, I fear I may have skipped something important.
There is real growth and progress when one goes from a depressed state to a content one without the use of drugs. Your mind learns to fight and better control your emotional state. You take mastery over exaggerated emotions and fight initial feelings with a dose of reality and rationality. The more this happens, the more you can achieve mastery over life, rather than having it master you.
Consider its metaphor, the lottery. Should one win the lottery, they will most definitely be rich. However, without the lessons that accompany one who becomes wealthy through prudence, wisdom, mistakes, hard work, frugality, and shrewdness, they are bound to watch that wealth slip right through the fingers. It is the lessons gained in the ascent that allow you to stay. Perhaps an unfortunate event will come upon them and relieve them of that money that burdened them. The individual whom attained it through time and lesson will be able to easily accumulate again; while the winner of chance will be hoping for another stroke of luck.
Would you rather be waiting at the hand of luck, or able to create your own?
While drugs give us what we want instantly, they simultaneously rob us of some of the most important aspects of life including mastery over ourselves, the ability to see ourselves and our reality, self control, and especially persistence. We lose the long term benefit of pushing through and thus gaining wisdom.
We trade the permanent ability to control our emotions and feelings at will, for a temporary taste of the end result.
The thing is, almost everyone I speak with is addicted. Consider this, how many drugs do you take to alleviate the pain of an undesirable state? Let me rephrase that… How many activities do you do to alleviate the pain of an undesirable state?
Yes, I am addicted to drugs, I am constantly changing my state by involving myself in activities which may bring temporary relief, but do nothing except rob me of the ability to harness the power of these states. Perhaps I don’t take a chemical compound on the DEA’s list of forbidden substances, but isn’t this the same. Needing something external to temporarily bring me into a state which I desire?
Boredom can be one of the best planting grounds for great ideas and marvelous creativity - yet I reach for my phone to scan news, check portfolios, and search for instant relief.
Quietness has magnificent benefits on our minds both in the space of thought, but also scientifically and neurologically. Yet, when faced with this state I reach for music to bring me into another.
Loneliness is an initial stage to looking within yourself to find your uniqueness, yet I look to squash it with social media or perhaps even a movie.
My life is filled with mechanisms and distractions which prevent me from experiencing some of life’s most powerful training grounds:
We instead look to alleviate these states instantly by watching a movie, putting on music, or looking for a distraction.
Consider how you feel after watching different movies. Some make you feel aggressive, while others make you feel lonely. They alter your state with varying levels of intensity. Consider music as well, which we use to amplify fitness performance, or as a backdrop to our lives increasing focus or bring peace. To this we then add caffeine which helps us with energy when our natural state feels tired. On this throw your smart phone and social media account with endless ways to alleviate even a hint of boredom. We can go even further adding tools and gadgets meant to optimize our businesses, our fitness, and our lives.
This is why our lives feel like a roller coaster!
In search of constant state control, we have completely removed our own ability to change state.
We jump from distraction to distraction, and have experienced complete atrophy in the ability to moderate ourselves.
The answer to our energy problems, our focus issues, our happiness is not a problem of addition…
Here are some ways which we can start this week:
- Exercise with no music. Instead enjoy the quiet, focus on the breathing, and you’ll be amazed at the change in your performance in a few short weeks.
- Keep your coffee to one cup a day. Let your body natural find its energy from nutrient dense foods and you’ll find the afternoon slump will disappear.
- Heavily decrease the amount of music you listen to. Only listen when that is your main activity - listening to the music itself. Let quietness and nature be your backdrop.
- Keep TV to a minimum, and watch what you allow into your cognitive and emotional space. Remove movies which are dark or aggressive. Also, don’t use movies as a boredom relief.
- Seek spaces of time alone in quietness through walks or breathing exercises. These will quickly become daily times of peace and act as an oasis for you.
- Welcome boredom and stillness. Explore them and see what happens.
- Set a time each day for checking social media accounts. This removes the temptation to use it as boredom relief.
- Drink more water and eat more vegetables. Try and reduce your intake of heavily flavored foods through salts, sugar and fats. Instead let your palette enjoy the more subtle flavors of real food. Soon you will not be able to stomach your current diet as you once did, it will be far too rich and “fake”.
When flying, I used to heavily rely on the instruments. My goal was to achieve perfect balance using the instrumentation. I would check how level the wings were, how close I was to desired altitude, and the amount by which I was climbing. In an effort to keep altitude exact, I ended making 100s of small adjustments, micromanaging the flight. This often resulted in flying in a sine wave pattern for long periods of time, always adjusting and trying to find the center. My teacher, and grandfather, told me “forget about the instruments, just follow the horizon in the distance. The plane wants to fly level, let it.”
I think these words hold true for us. Our body is seeking natural balance and homeostasis at all times. Let it. Stop monitoring every emotional state, every penny, every heart beat. Your life wants to be balanced, so let it.