The Thing We Crave More Than Addiction
by Z Zoccolante
Zig Ziglar once told a story of how his barber wouldn’t hire a hair stylist who smoked. His reasoning was that the stylist wouldn’t be focused on his client because when he craved a cigarette his mind would be outside, smoking.
The story brings up an interesting point about addiction. Addictions ruin relationships because they steal focus and keep us from being fully present in our lives.
We might be having coffee with our best friend Sue but thinking about the destructive patterns we have and when we can repeat them again.
The other day I had an interesting discussion about our fantasy worlds. We all have them. It’s the one thing we all share and yet it’s the thing we rarely talk about. We have conversations about them at the beginning of new relationships but then stop sharing when we close ourselves off. We stop sharing hopes, dreams, and fantasies.
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If someone asked you, “What’s your fantasy,” your mind may travel to some sort of hidden, sexual taboo. But fantasy need not be sexual. Fantasy is the life we lead in our own heads. We all have these alternate worlds that we live in, where we can be the things we aren’t in real life: hero’s or villains, magic, powerful, etc.
Your fantasy might be similar to Office Space where you long to sleep in all weekend and have it be everything you’ve ever hoped it could be. It might be your excitement to watch Captain America because you see yourself as the lead superhero.
In high school, I stayed up late watching La Femme Nikita. I connected with her world because she was taken from her life and forced to work for an underground organization. (As a kid I wanted to be a ninja). I also connected with her detachment from the real world, the secrecy, and how her only friend (Michael) consistently played a game of loyalty and betrayal.
In case you don’t already know, let’s play “guess that addiction.” Bingo: I had an eating disorder, which fits everything I’ve just named in my attraction to Nikita.
Nikita couldn’t have any normal friends because she was perpetually paranoid the friends were spies. She also couldn’t make friends because she couldn’t tell them anything true about her life. She either lied or the phone would ring and she’d have to leave immediately for a job.
The problem with these fantasy elements is that they played out in my real life. No, I wasn’t kidnapped by an elite government organization, but my eating disorder forced me into secrecy and isolation.
What I learned from her fantasy world was that secrets make us hide. They force us into a place of shadow where we’re having coffee with Sue, but our thoughts are a million miles away.
My theory is that humans suffer most when we lack connection. Prime example is Tom Hanks with Wilson. I was distraught when he lost Wilson in the ocean. Wilson was a volleyball! The irony is not lost on me.
We will force connections (with inanimate objects) if we must, because we are hard wired to crave them, to need them. Connection nourishes us at our core. When we have negative addictions they begin to undo the seams of our connections. Sometimes we are left holding a tiny thread, or watching the thread dance off in the wind.
If we are designed for connection but addictions keep us apart, then it becomes vital that we address these addictions. We must bring them into the light of honesty and love so they can heal.
We must not let our addictions remain secret because they cost us too much. (Tweet this) They cost us the thing we crave most . . . connection with others.
Although it seems counterintuitive to the person with an addiction, I believe that addictions are formed because we are seeking something to connect with. But addictions lie and they don’t provide the connection we crave. Below the addiction, what we want is healthy connection.
If you struggle with an addiction that steals your focus, or joy, or gets in the way of your relationships, do not keep it a secret. (Tweet this) Find someone safe to share that secret with. Take the steps to heal and rebuild your life. It is possible. You can do it. There are people who will support you. And yes, it’s worth it.
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