Breaking the Chains of Addiction
Free From Destructive Habits
BY: T. Franklin Murphy | January 10, 2019
Chains of Addiction can be broken. Human limitations must be accepted.
We are not an impenetrable force able to achieve anything our heart desires. We have many limiting addictions that curtail what we want and who we will become. The reality of limitation depresses the soul when we prefer to ponder the human ability to soar. We should cry over our humanity. Despite the limitations, we our endowed with power. We can escape binding addictions that interfere with joys and successes. We can become a person of great aliveness and joy. We can break the addicting chains that bind.
In positive thinking circles, the words ‘limited potential’ have a blasphemous ring. If we ignore the existence of human limitations, we are not free. Biology, experience, and culture have their claim, molding and manipulating the details of our life. While many elements strongly influence perception and behavior, we still maintain power to direct our lives, choosing to act in ways that benefit ourselves and the world. Adjusting our perception mitigates the strength of the impact that culture and biology plays in the creation of our being. In many ways, we can transcend the chains, breaking free of the addictions that bind.
See Understanding Addiction for more on Addiction
"If we ignore the existence of human limitations, we are not free."
Denying Our Addictions
Because of the strength of habits and addictions, many prefer to deny their existence, creating an alternate reality. Reshaping the vision of the world through deceptive constructions, perceiving a world where they are all powerful or completely helpless (see All-or-Nothing Thinking). The deceptions operate in the shadows of the mind, slyly bending realities to fit ego-protecting doctrine, guiding and manipulating the meaning of experience. This attitude helps massage reality. The pretend control gives a sense of power; or conversely, the pretend helpless relieves against the weight of choice and guilt. Mindsets provide a sense of security, but overtime, the views that deviate too far from reality create greater frustrations. The world doesn’t turn to our perceptions.
See Fooling Ourselves for more on self-deception
Limits to Freedom
Limits to freedom isn’t the same as no freedom. We have power to choose within the givens. We are not doomed, hapless victims of fate. Our future is not already decided. An awareness of the influences—our ties to the past, culture, and imperfectness—empowers wiser reactions to the world. We can factor in the limiting chains and navigate a healthier, future-oriented response to life within the given boundaries.
Addictions are our habitual response to the givens. Some behavioral addictions are harmless, while other habits wield the power to destroy. We may feel powerless against elements in our environment. Our helplessness motivates a search for avenues of escape. Addictions lure us from productive responses, promising joy but only offering pain.
Painful Trade-offs Necessary for Success
Most people want to succeed. But success comes slow, requiring painful trade-offs. High achievement at work and school can interfere with valuable time with companions and children. We can't expect to excel in every avenue of life without occasionally meeting the painful realities of limitations. Limited time, limited resources and limited control of outside forces all impact the final outcome.
When we contend against addictions, we also discover limitations. The answers aren't always readily available. Our strength isn't limitless. Our mighty promises to self crumble against the weight of addiction. We need a better plan. We need more stable support.
See Planning for a Successful Recovery for more on this topic.
Human intuition, empathy, logic and creativity combine to soften the seemingly unpredictable and ever-changing environment. We can act with greater flexibility, effectively using the givens to build a life of richness. We can respect limitations without delving forlorn into depression. Many, sadly, not only accept limitations but impose greater restraints than the givens life already offers. They pitifully settle for less—much less. They complain about the circumstances that they largely invited through their own actions.
Living life to the fullest, flourishing in the face of the givens, is not something we accidentally stumble upon, but a purposeful path that we create—a continual process. Enlightenment is not achieved in a definable moment in time but a process that begins at birth and continues to death. We most diligently gather knowledge through science, religion, history, and personal observations, using wisdom to guide. By embracing the incompleteness of our existences, the limitations to our powers, we open doors with clearer perspectives, replacing the binding chains of total empowerment and deadening helplessness, freeing us to pursue a flourishing life of enlightenment.
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