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Therapy Session

One Stop Shopping Addictions

Until age 12 I watched my father use alcohol as his “One Stop Shopping” addiction.  If work wasn’t going well- take a drink, if the marriage was struggling- take a drink, an uncomfortable social setting- take a drink, got a promotion at work- take a drink.  For my father, the answer to many of life’s extremes was alcohol.  And then one day my father stopped drinking!  Of course I was elated, through sheer will power my dad had stopped drinking, but his addictive behavior wasn’t gone.

As a person relies on their addiction to manage the highs and lows of life, they end up avoiding the development of critical life skills that are applicable to relationships, problem solving, productivity and unity with self.  Instead of investing in a balanced life, synthetic happiness is pursued.  And, even if an addiction is conquered the potential of seeing the old addiction manifest itself in some new form is high.  The person quits one addiction and simply starts another; smoking is traded for food, exercise for porn or work for drugs.  It is as if the need to rely on an addiction to manage life is so strong that as one addiction ends another takes it place.

So, where should addictive energy be directed so that old addictions can be terminated and new addictions avoided?

When we look at a person with addictive behaviors we typically see a life underdeveloped in the areas of healthy relationships, meaningful endeavors, constructive problem solving skills and unity of body and spirit.  By choosing addiction instead of life, a person forfeits the opportunity for happiness while creating an external dependency.

But don’t despair, happiness is within your grasp, but it means you must be committed to a life of purpose.  You need to be willing to invest in healthy relationships, seek out endeavors that have purpose, be committed to solving problems now and have a vision of yourself that reunites your physical and spiritual being in to one.

When my father overcame his drinking addiction, he didn’t know that a parallel effort was needed to create a balanced life.  He assumed, as many do, all of his problems would be solved if his addiction could be overcome.  But what he didn’t understand was that once his addiction was over, he now needed a fully developed set of life skills to deal with the struggles that lay ahead.  Without this, a new addiction for coping was just waiting to be adopted.


If you are struggling with an addiction or know someone else who is, it is important to find your local 12 step addiction program and get enrolled.  Additionally, you need to take the appropriate steps to add the needed life skills so that you are ready to handle upcoming struggles and not be susceptible to a new addiction.  By enhancing your relationships, engaging in meaningful endeavors, solving problems in real-time and reuniting your spirit and body, happiness is possible.

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