Beyond Positive Addiction

rainbowPopular culture is filled with inspirational stories about people leaving the darkness of negative habits by shifting towards a positive addiction.

If you make the change, and awaken the giant within, then you may find a huge source of energy.

With this burst of energy, you will start to attract people as well as “what you think you need.”

This isn’t wishy-washy philosophy. It’s how the world works – positive results flow from positive actions.

Consider a charismatic leader, especially those with a dark backstory, and note their ability to attract what they want.

Students, wealthy clients, groupies, money, notoriety… all of these flowed (on a small scale, thankfully) as I tapped into my positive addictions.

At this point, there is a trap waiting for us.

The trap is thinking that embracing a positive addiction is The Way.

A more accurate description is embracing a positive addiction can be an effective way to shift self-destructive habits.

But what next?

If we’re not careful then we might become a guru of positive addiction!

Which might work, until it doesn’t work.

When life starts to fray, our addiction will remind us that we run the risk of returning to our old life. It might say… you must continue along the path of positive addiction or you’ll slide back towards obesity, sloth and alcoholism!

After 20 years of better choices, I’m starting to realize that my fears don’t fit the facts.

What to do?

Continue the path of self-improvement by releasing the grip of my positive addictions:

  • Competition
  • Vanity
  • Greed
  • External Validation
  • Emotional Pain

Allow myself to consider the alternative of gently letting go of habits that don’t seem to be working any more.

When more ceases to work, consider trying less.

Drinking 1-2-4

When I was sixteen my grandfather took me out to dinner and offered two pieces of advice:

  • Use French condoms
  • Your great grandfather was an alcoholic, be careful with the booze

I went 0-for-2.

I managed to avoid disaster, mostly.

In my 40s, I came across a much better system for managing alcohol. 1-2-4.

If you limit yourself to

  • one drink per hour
  • two drinks per day
  • four drinks per week

…then you’ll avoid most people’s problems with alcohol.

I’ve been using this system and it works great (for a guy that enjoys concrete rules).

I arrived at University at 17 and was soon drinking a lot. Even as a young man, it was clear to me that there were rapidly diminishing rewards per drink (and per sip). For me, nothing tastes as great as the first pull off a bottle of Sierra Nevada. Each sip that follows… a little less great.

Also, by avoiding hitting three drinks, I never get to the point where I don’t care:

  • about what I say
  • about what I do
  • about the next drink
  • about the next day
  • about what I eat

…so the cascade of alcohol-related errors never gets a chance to start.

1-2-4 means that I have a minimum of three days per week without a drink. I tend to end up with four or five days off. Given my addictive personality, the days without alcohol are more important than avoiding excess on the days with alcohol.

I’m a fatigue addict so there are parallels with exercise.

I don’t have the courage to try 1-2-4 with coffee!

If you smoke weed then you can substitute “share a bowl” for “drink.” You don’t get a second allocation to mix in!

If something happens to me then please teach 1-2-4 to my kids.

I’ll leave the bit about the French condoms to your discretion.