Tuesday, June 14, 2016

More about the problem

The illusion that we can wrest happiness out of life by changing our circumstances drives us in ways that draw us deeper into our problems. The more we strive to gain control, the more isolated we become. As we redouble our efforts, we cross boundaries with others that we should not. The stories we tell ourselves to explain our lack of success are unfair to those around us. Eventually, we internalize our failure to find happiness, and we begin to question our worth. Our relationships deteriorate. We find ourselves on the outside looking in wondering how things went so wrong.

As dysfunction sets in, we look for an escape. Here are some of the ways that we have tried:

  • Drinking
  • Drugging
  • Overeating
  • Undereating
  • Trying to control those around us
  • Gambling
  • People pleasing
  • Cheating on our partners
  • Overworking
  • Binging on television
  • Obsessing over politics and social issues
  • Obsession over pornography
  • Spending to feel better

The list can be extended indefinitely. All of these hedonistic cures for dissatisfaction are like putting bandaids on deep wounds that require stitches.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Introduction to the 12 steps—The problem

Most people have areas of their life where they lack self-control. In those areas, the excesses of their instincts drive them to do things that damage their lives. Despite ample rational evidence that their behavior harms them, they do it repeatedly. The consequences for these lapses grow and compound. In time, a crisis arises around the behavior often pushing them to confront themselves. For those who have not gone too far, a sheer force of will may be enough to put a permanent stop to the behavior. Others cannot marshal sufficient will to stop because obsession has already set in.

Once obsession takes hold, these unfortunates find themselves in a tightening downward spiral where their behavior becomes worse, and its consequences escalate. Eventually, such people find themselves enslaved to their desires and mystified by their inability to stop. Moreover, nobody else seems to be able to make them stop. Disillusionment, desperation, and demoralization are their frequent companions. Hope becomes something that only other people have.