Your Addiction Has The Upper Hand When…


We all have those things in our lives that have control over us, even if we don’t want to admit it.  It may be smoking, drinking, chocolate, shopping…or maybe all of the above all at the same time…or many other things that are just not appropriate to put in print.  I had a 350 pound woman once tell me that she just didn’t understand people who were addicted to things because she had never been addicted to anything in her life. Oh really, Princess Denial? Jenny Craig and Richard Simmons would like to have a talk with you about your food addiction.  We just don’t like to own up to not being in control.

The latest bad habit that I am working on breaking is smoking. I have always said that it was my last bad habit and I couldn’t give it up because I needed to keep one. The theory behind this was that if I gave up all my bad habits I would just be forced to go out and find a new bad habit to fill the void left by abandoning all my old ones. For some reason I could never convince my doctor of this, she would always just frown at me.

Every time I have tried to quit smoking over the years I turn into a OCD clean-freak that makes Felix Unger look laid back and sloppy. Some of you are aware that I have been on a clean-and-organise-my-life-crusade lately, but this is something much stranger and darker. One time when I tried to quit many years ago my roommate gave me a carton of cigarettes and told me that I was not allowed to quit as long as I lived with him. If I was a clever person I would have just told him I was quitting every time I was running out of cigarettes, I could have saved a lot of money with him buying them for me.

You know that your addiction has the upper hand when you find yourself after dark, in 30 degree weather, vacuuming the indoor-outdoor-carpet on your front porch. At that point all you can do is laugh at the fact that you have found yourself on the express train to crazy town…and pray that none of your neighbors see you.

If you guessed that I have tried to quit many times you guessed right. This also means that I have failed at quitting many times. Failing used to bother me a lot.  I would beat myself up much harder about failing at quitting that I did about being a smoker. Not a productive thing to do. If you focus on the failure you eventually tell yourself that there is no point in trying…you decide that you have failed every time you have tried and that you will continue to fail.

When you fail here are three things to remind yourself:

  1. Every time you fail at what you are trying to do you succeed at learning something that is not going to work, just remember to not try the same thing next time.
  2. Modern myth says that Abraham Lincoln failed at many different careers before he succeed in politics, so you have good company as a failure.
  3. Laws of probability say that it is very unlikely that your failure rate will be 100%, just keep trying and eventually the odds will play out in your favor.




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