The American Cancer Society held their 34th annual Great American Smokeout on November 19, 2009. I’m so grateful I’ve been a non-smoker for over ten years now, but my heart goes out to 46 million adults in the US who remain in the grip of nicotine addiction.
My friends and family know I was born with an addictive personality. Addictive behavior is really easy for me — it’s definitely my behavior of choice. My mantra was always “just one more.” I hardly ever said “I’ve had enough.” I applied the “just one more” principle to nearly everything that felt good. That practice led me down a spiraling path I hope I never have to travel again.
When the day came that I finally had to deal with my addictive demons, journaling became my “go to” tool. I journaled to express my feelings of anger and deprivation, I journaled to set goals and outline a plan of behavior modification, I journaled to relax, and at times I journaled to escape.
I believe that addiction is a subset of the “disease of self.” To me, the disease of self is the gap that exists between how we see ourselves and how we really are. It’s based on denial; we don’t want to see ourselves in a bad light, so we rationalize, justify and outright lie. We say to ourselves: “Oh, I’m not that bad. Everybody does it. They just don’t understand.”
Addiction isn’t limited to drugs, alcohol, cigarettes or gambling. People become addicted to food, power, money, sex, anger, chaos, drama, love… you name it. One of the first steps in bridging the disease-of-self gap is to get honest with ourselves. Journaling is such a great tool for recording the truth. Regardless of the addiction you’re fighting, journaling can help you begin to see yourself as you really are, envision who you want to be, and take steps to make it happen.
This month’s Positive Change Challenge is to take an honest look at yourself; to identify character defects or even addictions that you need to address and then outline a plan for improvement. I hope you will decide to use journaling as one of your tools. If you need help getting started, please try a Journal for Positive Change.
Yours in Positive Change,