We all have our vices. We’ve found that somehow, subconsciously, these vices distract us from feeling worse than we currently feel. We drink so that we can feel more free, numbing those inhibitions that limit us socially, with the unfortunate side effect of a hangover. We smoke cigarettes because they fill the spaces inbetween, like dull moments in traffic. Cigarettes are likely also associated with social connection…like smoke breaks with co-workers, and of course…some special right to take a break from your workday, and a job you might have to do but don’t enjoy.
Then there is food. You really can’t put this in it’s own category as a vice, because it’s necessary for our survival. But indulging in the consumption of certain types of foods, such as fast food, is really no different than our choice to breath smoke instead of fresh air during a break.
So eventually we all reach our point where we see that these things somehow are holding us back. Our dependence on using them for our happiness is a force to be reckoned with. We set the intention of getting over our vices, so we can be happier like those people we see jogging in spandex…looking so chipper. Sure, it’s true that all human beings have issues, even those guys who look athletic and happy. If you’re fighting a sense of inferiority regarding these people, this is a good point to reflect on this point, and your past, and try to work out such reactions to others… making such comparisons. For such issues, which hold you back, I recommend Soul without Shame by Byron Brown. But… still if you’re not fighting a sense of self loathing, you still see the way these people radiate…and you want that.
So this is where I was recently, caught up in all my vices, just giving into them. I’ve been giving into them for quite a while. I’ve learned that fighting yourself just results in even deeper coping. If I try to withhold cigarettes from myself, I just want them more. It’s like I’m acting as a parent with myself, and eventually that part of me (the soul child?) just rebels against me with a vengeance, pitching a fit, and I have no choice but to give in even farther than how I would have before.
I know this seems like I’m appeasing this part of me, and in some sense I am, but I realize that I have more energy to try other methods of combating this within myself if I just let it be. The outcome is bad, sure, but it’s better than if I fight myself. However this pattern has gone on so long, I’ve gained so much weight that I had previously lost… I’m just 10 pounds shy of where I was before. So what must one do in this state? I feel lazy, just want to sit and watch TV all weekend. I realize that part of it is that I feel emotional, sad. So I need time by myself, and when I take that time by myself, I feel like doing these things.
I get the idea that I should honor my emotions, and the vices are just a way of running away from the emotions, so I try to let them be. I watch TV shows that are emotional, so that I’m in a tender state, and they can flow more. But yet this keeps happening. I try to honor them, I be alone, but I do these things.
I think I’ve realized that I’m not necessarily running away. I’m just stuck. If I didn’t do these things, I wouldn’t be lonely. If I wasn’t unhealthy, I’d feel better about myself and feel comfortable and secure talking to people more. I think these things bring me happiness, the junk food, the cigarettes, the television shows, the video games, etc. But they don’t. It’s just coping with this scenario.
So at some point I set the intention of putting more attention into how these things make me feel. It’s worked with the cigarettes in some sort of way once. I let it be, but noticed how it made me feel, and eventually I just didn’t want it anymore and quit. By the way, I’ve found that going cold turkey the morning after your last cigarette is the easiest, because 8 hours have passed and it’s in your system less. Also, you can’t gradually cut down. You want the nicotine out of your system as fast as possible so that it’s influence on your nervous system is gone ASAP, otherwise you’re just torturing yourself.
I’m late for work…To be continued…