“I am too addicted to pleasure, actually to practically everything. I’m worried as the festive season really sets me off. Food, desserts, booze, cigarettes, late nights, gossip, compulsive shopping; you name it I’m in it. Up to my neck. Please give me a gameplan to keep me sane!”
Are you complaining or boasting?
Renowned Psychiatrist Dr. Alexander Lowen, wrote in his book, Pleasure: A creative approach to life that “Pleasure is the only force strong enough to oppose the potential destructiveness of power. Many people believe that this role belongs to love. But if love is more than a word, it must rest on the experience of pleasure”. However, Dr. Lowen also points out “excess comes from a real inability to experience pleasure, and a subsequent desperate attempt to force things”.
I share the view that addiction is about suppression – suppressing our ability to truly feel and enjoy pleasure that leads to the openness of the heart; if you like, and expansion of our consciousness. Even simple pleasures, a walk in a garden for example, or reading a good book while sitting by the beach, can have a positive effect on us, bringing more joy into our lives.
However, from what you are saying, it seems like your addictions serve to suppress your true feelings of pleasure, or love of life, rather than enhance them; and also that they have a destructive or negative effect on you since you are concerned that a joyous occasion or a season triggers your “negative” habits. Every addictive behavior, leads to the next, and enforces further your distorted view of what true pleasure is. So how do we stop?
- Very simply, be present in the moment rather than remain on “automatic” pilot.
- Your physical body is the first to sense and experience any pleasure.
- Stay connected with your body and listen to its needs.
- Check if it still needs more food or drink or cigarettes.
- And if you chose to do so, stay present and sense your body’s needs as you smoke, eat, or drink.
- If you listen to your body, it will guide back to balance. Perhaps your physical body needs to experience simple pleasures, as I mentioned above, which could be denying it.
- Be kind to yourself, your body is asking you to correct a distorted pattern for the pleasures you are experiencing at the moment are not fulfilling its needs; and read the above mentioned book. Take it one step at a time.
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