We live in a society in which the vast majority of us are addicted to something that fails to support our long term well being. I like to refer to these as unhealthy addictions. Some of the most common unhealthy addictions include, work, drugs, alcohol, sex, exercise, food and gambling. All of these unhealthy addictions (including exercise) hold the potential to dramatically effect our quality of life as well as that of our family and friends. My heart aches every time I hear of a friend or family member who is suffering due to the controlling nature of an unhealthy addiction. Our friends over at Websters define an addiction as “the continued repetition of a behavior despite adverse consequences”. The “habit” forming component of an addiction is characterized by the immediate gratification we feel when we are getting our “fix”. “Just one more spin and I am certain to hit triple seven’s” is the common mindset of an addict. Physiological dependence is characterized by the addicts desperate need for more of something in order to satisfy increased tolerance levels. Using our gambling analogy, physiological dependence explains why a person can begin playing penny slots and eventually work their way up to $5 slots with little regard for how much money they may be losing. These same dependencies occur in sex addicts, drug addicts, food addicts as well as the “workaholic”. Understanding societies propensity to become easily addicted to things, I have come up with an idea. Let’s all join together and get society hooked on a brand new set of addictions, ones that are actually good for us and that present NO adverse consequences.
Our goal (as a brand new addict) is to first develop a high tolerance for each of these new addictions which will then cause us to constantly need a “fix” and thus we will have successfully established a healthy new habit. The next step is to groom our children to get “hooked” therefore ensuring that the next generation will also be comprised of healthy addicts. I am proposing that we all take the plunge and get hooked on 5 addictions right away. They are benevolence, love, gratitude, compassion and faith.
LET’S DO THIS THING…
Benevolence. Benevolence is good will. Benevolence is an act of kindness without expecting something in return. Volunteering to teach someone to read, taking meals to elderly shut in’s, volunteering at a humane society, paying for someones groceries or anonymously making charitable donations are all excellent ways to get our “fix”.
Love. Love is an excellent “drug” of choice. Over time, love eventually softens even the hardest heart. We expend far less energy sharing love than we do expressing judgement and hate. Love is our most natural emotion. Love brings comfort to those who are lost, sick or in deep despair. Unashamedly expressing our love with everyone we meet is guaranteed to fill our veins with some “really good stuff”.
Gratitude. Not only does expressing gratitude send a powerful message to the universe but it also provides us with the “fix” of always getting more than we expected or needed. When we are grateful for ALL of our experiences the universe gladly accommodates our addiction. Gratitude, if expressed consistently is habit forming and tends to leave us on a continual “high”.
Compassion. “But for the grace of God, there go I” is a quote I committed to memory many years ago. My interpretation of this quote is that I am to never turn my back on a brother or sister who is less fortunate than I. Showing compassion for others often requires building up a tolerance level that we never knew we possessed. When we are addicted to compassion we view the world from a more “psychedelic” perspective.
Faith. Of all of the addictions available to mankind, FAITH is the most hardcore. Once we become addicted to FAITH there is NO turning back. A FAITH addict can never be rehabilitated, interventions are out of the question and FAITH addicts graduate to become “dealers” who share samples everywhere they go. FAITH is the ultimate “adrenaline rush”, one that is not for the faint of heart.
Faced with so much uncertainty and turmoil in today’s world, I often find myself asking the life grounding question…What would Jesus call me to do? I believe he would want all of us to embrace these 5 addictions and create a whole bunch of brand new addicts.
As always, I appreciate your thoughts and feedback.