Choose Your Addiction

Last week I attended a class about addiction. It was fascinating.

The Law of Attraction dictates that you get more of what you are focused on. The Law of Addiction, according to our instructor is: stress = cravings. Once the cravings set in, your reptilian brain (the one that reacts without contemplation) sends a thought to your cerebral cortex (the thinking brain) that it’s definitely a good idea to use what you are addicted to whether it’s food, alcohol, drugs or your credit card. Once that happens, the addict has no reasoning ability to say “no.”

If you’ve ever done something or put something into your mouth that caused negative consequences and afterwards wondered, “What was I thinking?!?” then you have uttered the addict’s lament.

Addiction counselors will tell you that there is a road to recovery but no cure. Once the neural pathways in your brain make you an addict, there is no evidence that you can go back to normal behavior in that one area.

So what works to prevent a relapse in addictive behavior? When your reptilian brain is in charge, you can forget about relying on your mind to support you; the best defense is a spiritual connection with a power greater than yourself.

There is always a part of us that is connected to that power—the instructor referred to it as your true essence. I think of that part of me as who I really am or my inner guide. Some refer to it as soul, gut instinct or intuition. When we practice any addiction, that truest and best part of ourselves is buried and difficult to reach.

The good news is that your true essence may be covered up but it remains ever present and you can access it whenever you choose.

Addictions create a barrier to connection which is ironic given that there is a large body of thought that the very thing addicts seek is a spiritual connection. Who do they generally talk to when things get out of control? Who do they bargain with? (“Please, God, if you get me out of this I’ll never do it again!”) It’s their higher power.

If the Law of Addiction is stress=cravings, then what happens if you are addicted to stress? That seems a ridiculous proposition but think about it. When you get stressed out, it triggers the release of the stress hormone adrenaline. The effects of adrenaline cause, among other things, physiological arousal, alertness, energy and it prepares the body for explosive activity.

When you live your life in emergency mode, you guarantee that adrenaline regularly floods into your system. This is the “fight or flight” syndrome we’re all familiar with and it resides within your reptilian brain. Much like speed or cocaine, the immediate effect might make you feel better but the long-term impact can be devastating. In addition to attracting other addictions (coffee, sugar, sleeping pills to calm down), it wreaks havoc with your body. It inhibits judgment and interferes with fine motor control, making the use of complex skills difficult.

We experience the preparatory flow of adrenaline into the body typically as ‘butterflies in your stomach’.

The ability to reduce stress is a compelling reason to learn how to harness the Law of Attraction to your advantage. Rather than focusing on all those undone things that make you break out in a cold sweat, if you can instead pay attention to what you’re accomplishing, that one shift alone will reduce your stress level considerably. Here are some other ways to use focus as a tool:

• Consider problems or obstacles as an opportunity to exercise your

• If you’re competitive, compete against the clock or your last best
performance just for fun;

• Meditate daily. There is no other single tool that is more effective to
reduce stress.

We all have addictive tendencies. Why not become addicted to feeling good? Serotonin, although a much less dramatic hormone, is much more fun than adrenaline. The easiest way to produce it is by focusing on that which makes you happy. Change your focus, change your life!

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