Addictive behaviors

By Dr. Al Johnson, author of Balanceology: The 4 M’s of motivation, meaning, measurement, mitigation

Addictive behaviors of all kinds including alcohol, drugs, and a wide range of behaviors are also ways to check-out. For Carl Jung, “every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism” (1960) Addictive behaviors of any kind are erratic, impetuous, fractious ways to cope with life. Vitriolic high-risk addictive behaviors inadvertently and frequently make for our own predicaments. In devolutionary times we often discover unhealthy counterproductive ways to cope that run the risk of becoming chronic. At some point in time a person decides to take the entry on-ramp and chooses their addiction <—> ultimately it will have to be their choice to exit the off-ramp. That is, at some point in time a person signs-in to their addiction and only they can sign-out. I view addictive behaviors as selfish, self-centered, and obsessive-compulsive. They take the form of persistent and unceasing behaviors like gathering ‘stuff,’  hoarding, dogmatic religion, sex, gambling, endless work (workaholic),  and even social pathology (crime or domestic violence). There are unhealthy addictive eating behaviors like obesity, anorexia, bulimia, and toxic chew & spit. The eating disorders of obesity  and anorexia are at different ends of a continuum. Obesity (to eat away), and anorexia (without appetite) often transition into each other. This flux originates from the sources of insecurity, low self-esteem, and loneliness.

Unhealthy addictive behaviors are the consequences of a raucous, boisterous, disorderly, and directionless worldview and philosophical path of living. A worldview built on a proverbial house-of-cards will not endure. Addicts haphazardly roll-the-dice, and figuratively and in fact run many red lights. They honor few stop-signs or stop-lines. Addicts are uncorralled risk-takers who go through life with slash-and-burn, and hit-and-run behaviors that reverberate throughout their journey and cause an exacerbation and proliferation of trouble in other areas in life. Trouble follows trouble. I am reminded of the lines from Macbetht hat read, “double, double toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble” (Act IV, Scene1). The great thing about great literature for me is the allowance it makes for different interpretations depending on a person’s emotional and psychological maturity. I interpret this double entendre incantation from the witches as a doubling down and a foreshadowing of once trouble starts it is often the beginning of additional toil coming from karmic calamitous happenings. Addicts find their way into trouble; they just can’t find their way out. Addictive behaviors are the trouble coming from our demons through the perversity of obsessive and compulsive subservience to whatever addiction we are shackled to. In one way or another we all have our demons to fight. The dysfunctional behaviors emanating from our demons will continue until: 1.) arrested development from Limbic Brain trauma (rooted hurt) is addressed by confirming (it did take place), and confronting (challenging it). If not addressed this hurt can last a lifetime and metastasizeto other areas of life, and 2.) unmet needs are being experienced and satisfied, and thus the lowering of symptoms starts to take place. I consider all addictions as impediments that stand in the way of meeting our inborn needs.