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Shifting Values II — Moving Beyond Addiction

Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

From my own experience with addictive behaviours such as smoking, over-achieving, co-dependency and pursuing money, I recognize how obsessive dependency on any thing or person enslaved me and distracted me from a healthy whole life. In coming to understand my addictions, I discovered these limiting habits were a visible ‘wake-up call’ from my consciousness or if you prefer, my authentic self. Each time, I lit up a cigarette or moved a mountain to achieve a goal or chased after a higher ROI (return on investment), I was attempting to serve a need within me. These overt symptoms of addiction were a signal of my inner neediness.

In order to counter my dependency, I also knew attacking these external symptoms (smoking, etc.) would only make room for other symptomatic behaviours to appear in their place. What I needed to discover was the source of my neediness, which is an inside job. Thus, I posed this question to myself “What do I so desperately need that I would sacrifice my well-being for it?”   The answer I received was “Self-nurturance.”   And thus began a journey of discovery in which my primary means for self-nurturing emerged as peace, love and joy.

What is true for me is true for everyone.      Anonymous

As a society, we are slowly recognizing and relinquishing our enslavement to addictions like smoking. Even though many people continue this habit, they understand it is to the detriment of their and others’ health. Fortunately, this awareness is beginning to generalize into other aspects of living. For instance, we know constant over-achieving or ‘chasing the almighty buck’ fatigues the mind and body until disease becomes our primary experience—anxiety, fibromyalgia, obesity, depression, bipolarity, etc.—as well as that of the planet—pollution, climate change, species extinction.

The ever-increasing incidence of stress leave in today’s workplaces is one indicator of the neediness for and dissatisfaction with over-achievement’s pursuit of wealth when it is to the detriment of overall well-being. Indeed, many people have already opted out of the rat race and opted in for a gentler, kinder lifestyle. A measure of a return on this investment is obvious in this story of ecologic and economic sustainability in which Sweden runs out of garbage

In order to continue fueling the waste-to-energy factories that provide
electricity to a quarter of a million homes and 20 percent of the entire
country’s district heating, Sweden is now importing trash from the
landfills of other European countries. [… Furthermore,] countries are
paying [Sweden] to get rid of a source of fuel they themselves produced
so that Sweden can continue to have the energy output they need. You
don’t have to be an economist to know that’s one highly enviable
energy model.

Therein signals a clear indication of our globally shifting values. Some people and some nations are steadily moving away from competition and manipulation toward collaboration and adaptation. However, in order for all of us to thrive in the ever-shifting uncertainty of living, each of us must come to terms with our neediness.

You cannot get sick enough to help sick people get better. You cannot
get poor enough to help poor people thrive. It is only in your thriving
that you have anything to offer anyone.     Esther Abraham-Hicks

Start your own journey into thriving by completing this free copy of my value clarification tool published in From Now to WOW: An Invitation to Transformation.

Or, you can begin by asking yourself the following question —

“What do I so desperately need that triggers me to choose addiction and sacrifice my well-being?”