A Therapeutic Post
If you’re looking for an introspective post on a human life, continue reading. If you’re better off not caring, I totally understand.
Is Everything an Addiction?
You’re told by society that if you do something too much, it’s an addiction, and addictions are perceived as negative. How can it be an addiction if it’s not unhealthy? You can have an exercise addiction. You can play too many video games. You can drink too much coffee. These are addictions on the lesser rung of problems. When you start hitting alcohol, gambling, sex, drugs, and Jeffrey Dahmer like status, you’re higher up on the hierarchy. Which is why even if you live like a saint, you’ll still be addicted to reading books, watching TV, or addicted to surviving. Are addictions bad if they don’t harm you? They’ll tell you the magic word – balance.
I signed up for Betterhelp back in February because the cycle of binge drinking on weekends was immature and I wasn’t solving it myself. I progressed past injuries and close calls from my 20’s, but debilitating hangovers were ruining work weeks. Make no mistake that I don’t claim to be out of the woods. If you drink, you’re never out of the woods. My goal was to understand why I drink and is it the root cause of my life woes which I’ll arrive at later.
I started off saying, “I’m a functional alcoholic but I don’t have any significant issues. Actually, I’m doing pretty good. ” We started with managing drinking (this never works if you ask me), finding a spouse, and how my emotional range is non existent. After the 4th or 5th session where he understood my core complaints, I remember asking, “do you think I even need this?” His answer was, “possibly not, but it will help you get there faster.” Now that I’m months removed, and after he started to move me into meditation, the answer is the same every time, it comes down to you.
*I read some comments about choosing of the therapist in Sam’s post and this guy was perfectly fine. We had a good rapport, he was professional, and had tons of experience in the area.
I’d imagine there are some people who genuinely are unable to cope with life. Trauma disrupts their ability to move forward “successfully” by stunting parts of their emotional range where they have trust issues, addictions, or other dysmorphia that is brought on by their mind. That wasn’t my case. I’m not struggling to get by or wake up in the morning. It all comes down to whether I want to stop drinking or find a wife to spend my life with. There is no one stopping me from doing this. The therapist can make suggestions for thousands of dollars. but unless you want to change it, it won’t change.
Therapists genuinely mean well, but after many sessions if you need them over and over to pat you on the back or guide you, I’d say you need to have more trust in yourself. Therapy is a business. You make life happen the way you want to. That’s what I learned in therapy.
I used to think life was all about being happy. That you should make decisions that increase your pleasure because life is short, and if you’re going to spend it miserable, you’re doing it wrong. Happiness, at least defined by pleasure, is an emotional rollercoaster that can be fueled with the 7 deadly sins. These sins move you up and down while giving you a wider range of experiences that are helpful to navigating life, but they don’t fulfill you inside. Akin to the feelings wheel, adjectives to describe joy are excited, sexy, energetic, playful, creative, and aware. When you’re happy adjectives are hammered, enthralled by a 6 team parlay, and golf trips, you may be missing a bit. This is what therapy aims to teach, that there is a better way of living a fulfilling life. As much as a agree that happiness can be taught with a PHD *sarcasm*, I’m developing my own stance.
Here is a quote that has moved by brain forward and my general philosophy of life.
Our favorite author is a hero and a genius until we meet him in person and learn the sad truth that, after all, he is only a man. “How often must we learn this lesson? Men cease to interest us when we find their limitations. The only sin is limitation. As soon as you once come up with a man’s limitations, it is all over with him.”-EMERSON
Leading your life on this guy from 1857?
I’m a believer in human achievement and individual accomplishment under the baseline of meritocracy. That you deserve what you can achieve. You’re goal on this Earth is to never stop growing as a person. I’d use this as an excuse why I’m childless at my old age because getting married and having children is the perfect rationalization to stop growing as a person. It’s much easier to cap yourself and say, “my job is to dedicate myself and provide for my family.” Clearly that’s simplifying the process but I don’t want to stop being better. It’s dumb to think lowering a golf handicap, increasing a bowling average or chess rating, or building a better business is my only resolve in life but you can’t do that with 3 children. Once again, you can, but sacrificing being a dad while your children are raised seems the worst of it all.
So I sit here pushing myself forward with no problems. It’s a lonely life but I’m not lonely. I’m actually great. I have money to do whatever I want with no limitations to the average qualifier. I’m healthier than I’ve ever been with the modest problems of binge drinking on weekends and gambling on football. Am I satisfied? Are you? Is anyone? Once you’re satisfied you might as well throw in the towel. I look at this inflection of my life as a mid point and I’m poised to strike at whatever opportunity suits me. Travel the world? Sure. Settle down and start a family. I can. Sell the business and retire? May be boring but peaceful. Through a tedious work ethic where I wake up every morning, work on making money, I’m here to leave whatever imprint I want. That’s a good feeling. Filling my heart thinking I’m a unique snowflake who is going to change the world by ignoring the fact that everyone else, literally billions of other people think exactly like you, I don’t buy it.
The moment a man ceases to cherish the vision of future achievement he is through. Nature has built man so that his greatest and only lasting Happiness is that which he feels in the pursuit of some yet unattained object. Anticipation is sweeter than realization. That which is at hand does not satisfy. The only enduring satisfaction is that which comes to the Person who keeps alive in his heart the HOPE of future achievement. When that hope dies write Finis across the human heart.