Have you ever been described as having an “addictive personality?”
For some reason you don’t just like; you obsess. You don’t watch; you binge. You don’t enjoy; you devour. You don’t get; you consume. You feel like you were born without breaks and you never know when to stop.
Keep in mind, this personality type is not always a bad thing. Some of the most successful people to ever live are those who are obsessively passionate and never quit until they reach their goals. But just like anything, there is a good side and a bad side.
Take a second and see if any of the following fits you.
– More often than not you forget to do things that you committed to.
– Your priorities are more and more out of whack.
– Maybe you are neglecting relationships, school is slipping, or your finances are out of control.
Like most addicts, life feels like something that is continually slipping through your fingers.
Ok, we’re not trying to make you feel bad here, we are just showing that the reality is that people who struggle with addictions often find that their lives can quickly go off the rails. Let’s be honest with ourselves, we are addicts and we have some issues to work through. It can be hard, but looking at the big picture of our habits and how we spend our time can help us change our whole lives and really improve our chances of overcoming our addictions.
In creating the Fortify Program, we realized that if we can identify the parts of our lives that keep us in our addictive cycle and replace them, then we will start to actually change the way we live.
Like almost everything that has to do with an addiction, there is a specific reason our lives are affected by this stuff.
It’s simple really. Our brains our built with connections called neural pathways. Addictions create very deep, strong pathways and this causes them to dominate our way of thinking. Other habits, like excessive video game play or TV, unhealthy eating, compulsive shopping or anything that is ruled by a lack of control travel down these same pathways. Whatever it is, a habit that we use to escape the discomforts of life can fuel our addiction. So even if you’re porn free for a while you can still be on thin ice if you are indulging in other habits.
Think of it this way – porn has created a superhighway in your brain. It’s the biggest road and the easiest way for your brain to move its thoughts around. If you keep using the same highway because you are staying up late every night watching Netflix, it is never going to fully shut down.
If we want to change our lives, we have to start to use completely different ways of thinking/acting that create new, healthy pathways. This can be hard, and it can take a while, but it is totally worth it.
There are a couple rules to rebuilding our brains. Start with these and you’ll be headed in the right direction:
Be real. Like, really real.
You need to take an honest look at your life and be willing to admit that some of the things you enjoy are not good for you. They may not be as damaging as a porn addiction but they might be contributing to the chains of your addiction. Do a personal inventory of how you spend your time and be ready to cut some things lose. You are after true freedom.
In with the good, out with the bad.
When you decide to change your habits there is a good chance that you’ll find you have more free time. A lot more free time. You need something to fill your time and keep you interested. Boredom is not going to help you at all. There a lot of thing you can do but a couple of our favorites are exercise and creative interests.
Exercise is great because it floods your brain with oxygen, which is like MiracleGrow for your cells. You can start small if exercise isn’t your thing. We’re not saying you need to be an olympian. Going for a walk instead of gaming is a great start.
Any creative outlet is awesome because it uses new parts of your brain. Whether it’s model airplanes or getting really into playing the tuba, bringing more creative interest into your life can unlock your passion and build new, healthy pathways in your brain that push the bad ones out.
Remember, you are not your addiction.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. What you’ve done does not define who you are. That term “addictive personality” may feel accurate but it does not define you at all. The fact that you have struggled with self-control in the past does not prove that you cannot change your life.
We want you to be yourself. We don’t just see you as who you are right now, but also who you can be.
Looking at all the things you want to change in your life can be scary and overwhelming. Don’t let that keep you from trying. The good news is that as you take control of one addiction, it will start to loosen the grip of the others. The mountain we have to move is made up of many small parts, and as we begin to remove some of them, the rest will start to crumble.
Don’t settle, don’t give up. Ever. You can do this!