Hello my name is Dana and I am addicted to all distractions that keep me from my purpose. I have mainly been addicted to validation seeking. Desiring approval from others has confused me by tricking me into believing that my self worth is wrapped up into my career and my accomplishments. I have been enmeshed in some kind of dysfunctional relationship, usually work-related, that has kept me sick with low self-esteem and unclear boundaries for 41 years now.
I have been sober from drugs and alcohol for over four years. I just recently realized that when I got sober, I became a workaholic to distract myself from dysfunctional relationships, and engaged in co-dependency to distract myself from my work. I’m laughing as I write this because I am addicted to doing the opposite of what I “should” be doing and justify the heck out of why I “shouldn’t” be doing it, or visa versa.
Welcome to my mind, the breeding ground of juxtapositions, where every shiny new object allures me out of most complete sentences, let alone complete ideas. Have a new business idea? I’m in! Have a new problem? I’m there! Have trouble in your relationship? Leave, because that is what I would do. Need help with anything? Ask me, I will say yes no matter how busy I am because I have zero boundaries, and zero awareness of what I want and need.
No really, I am writing this half out of awareness of my own insanity, and half to try to make light of a very serious situation – one that has left me hopeless at times, because after my futile attempts to fix you or me are abandoned, something else comes along to distract me. Some new “quick fix” solution comes into my Facebook feed, and I am off and running. This behavior is exhausting and exhilarating at the same time. I am sick and tired, of being sick and tired, and then complaining about it, to get your attention and approval.
What if I were able to get to a place of radical acceptance for the way that I am? What if I could stop trying to save myself from myself for even a day? I am not implying acceptance of actively living in my disease of alcoholism, drug addiction, workaholism, or co-dependency. But what if accepted who I am and stopped obsessing over defining my “-isms”? What if I got to a place, where I could laugh at myself and surround myself with people who could laugh at themselves too? What if I could stop taking myself so dang seriously and found some peace in the simple things in life?
In preparation for writing this article, I was researching all of the things that I was addicted to and was planning on breaking down the actual neurochemistry and psychology behind addiction. I decided that my over-heightened sense of responsibility and obsession with fixing myself and being vulnerable to you as the reader, hoping it might help you, was the opposite of recovery for me today.
My recovery right now is to enjoy myself. My work-aholism would love to get me “working” on a fact-filled article to keep me stuck in my head, working my brain until I explode then become overwhelmed and quit. My codependency would have me writing this article again, to focus on fixing you, (Because you are the one with the problem, and if I focus on you, then I don’t have to focus on my own recovery. A perfect distraction.) On top of all my –isms, my drug addiction is just waiting to feed on all of the chemicals produced when I am in mental turmoil, because that’s what it’s used to. So, instead, I have chosen to now move into what the solution is, for someone that is dual, triple, and beyond, diagnosed.
Today, I am less than a week “clean” of being entrenched in all toxic relationships, including my relationship with work. I realized any “normal” person would recognize my work-aholism. I just recently quit two multi-level marketing “business opportunities,” because they were all of my -isms wrapped up in one. I almost went off on the tangent of outlining that and realized that there it is again – distractions that keep me focused on the problem. I must continue on to the solution!
To be in recovery for me, is to spend time doing things that bring me joy, for no other reason than to experience that joy fully. I must also reach out to other people in recovery who understand this. Geniune connection with others keeps me out of my head and my obsessions. I try to go for walks with friends who truly get me, instead of spending time with people I feel I have to convince of my normalcy. I must also avoid people, places, and things that lead me to the thought of not being enough, and not doing enough.
It is a must for me to be with people who celebrate their talents through art, and being creative, and finding their self worth in just being alive. Participating in doing things just for fun!
Writing also helps me slow down some and stay focused. I find it challenging to get started, but as soon as I allow myself to free flow, I begin tapping into a source that is not in my head, but from my heart.
Walking, dance, and any creative projects using my hands, playing games, and watching movies are healthy ways I’ve found to give myself a break from overanalyzing.
What I have found is that there are a lot of similarities in the different kinds of addictions. The foundation of recovery for each adopt many of the same principles, and is a great recipe to follow, but there are different levels of trauma that require a different level of care and action steps. For someone like me, who is addicted to action steps, perhaps the best action is no action.
Dana is on the path to finding her self-worth through being enough as a mother and a woman in recovery.
Photoe Credit:Thought Catalog
Thanks for sharing Dana. I appreciate the vulnerability and strength you have shown in writing this for us. All you have been through and the awareness you now have must be quite overwhelming- what to do with the knowledge! I think you nailed with “What if I were able to get to a place of radical acceptance for the way that I am?”. Having just finished a meditation session leading a group through looking at self-compassion, my affirmation for today: ‘I am perfectly imperfect’ (which appeals to my history as a recovering perfectionist). I shall share your post with the group for further example of self-compassion. Thank you.