Psychology Today says addiction is when a person uses a substance, or engages in a behavior, for which the rewarding effects provide a compelling incentive to repeat the activity. I’ve had both good and bad addictions. Are your behaviors building or destroying your future?

It comes in many forms. A person can be addicted to anything really. From food to entertainment to sex to drugs anything that alters the state of the body is addicting. A person can create good addictions like exercise but even that can get out of hand. The root of the negative form of addiction is coping. Most addictions are formed as children and later blossom as we gain the ability to access stronger types of self-medication. Self-medicating has taken on a comedic tone in our culture. The view is that life is hard and I deserve to not experience it. I deserve to be numb and forget the pain that I am feeling from the job that I hate, the spouse I can’t stand, the stress of fatherhood-motherhood-childhood, we can find reasons all day for self-medication. We see the experience of the pain itself as the justification to self-medicate. We just want the experience to stop or at least be better and escaping is how we can find that relief.

Somewhere along the way we were tricked into thinking that poisoning our bodies is a good solution. Somehow, we thought that it was a good trade off. A little poison for a little relief. We tell ourselves the brain function that is lost is not that important. That we earned the right to cause trouble when we lose our right minds and say things that hurt others or lash out in violence. The pain we feel is king. We bow to the pain and allow it to rule over our lives as we try to find ways to run away from its presence. We justify the money we spend on numbing our pain by holding the pain up as the true cause for our self-abuse. We act like powerless children who have no responsibility or ability to rule our own lives.

We were born to be the kings and queens of our own lives. Things happened that hurt us and created deep pain in our hearts. Whether it happened as children or as adults we weren’t in a place to cope and found ways to cope with the wave of pain that hit us by running away. Even if we knew how to handle it better at the time we didn’t so the coping mechanism has become a habit that towers over our lives. It blocks our view of life and shades the brightest of days.

We don’t have to live in the dark. We were all born for greatness. We are not destined to suffer unless we refuse to embrace our strength. We must address the inner person that was hurt and recognize the pain for what it is and allow ourselves to let it wash over us and experience it so its power will lessen, and we can move forward. It is always there. We all know it. It lurks just beneath the surface and threatens to come out at any moment. We often end up living lives full of anxiety that the pain will overwhelm us. We must embrace our strength, remember our courage and reclaim our lives. Pain has no right to dominate us. We are here for a purpose and so is the pain. The pain can be a tool for us to grow or it can be a weapon to annihilate us. If whatever caused your pain is in the past, it does not own the responsibility of its impact on your life today. You own that. Regardless of what anyone else says you are strong. You were strong enough to survive until today with the pain and you are strong enough to overcome it and create something useful out of it. You were born to be a king or queen. It is time to accept your power and step into life in it.