Free from Limitations... Live Fully in the Present

Do you ever feel unable to stop__________(smoking, drinking, working, eating, shopping, gambling, etc.)?

Is the desire to __________ so strong you feel consumed?

When you __________do you experience a sense of relief or a positive feeling?

Do you feel like you are missing something if you don’t __________?

Does the urge to__________ feel beyond your control?

There are times in our lives when we engage in unhealthy patterns of behavior and while we know it might not be the healthiest option, we feel unable to stop the behavior.  This unhealthy pattern of  behavior might involve food, alcohol, smoking, substance use, shopping, gambling, video gaming, working, sex, porn, driving, relationships, etc. 

​Often times when we engage in patterns of behavior that are compulsive (compelling, overpowering) it is because there is a positive feeling state linked up with that behavior. Addiction happens when positive feelings become rigidly linked with objects or behaviors and we lose rational control.

While the compulsive behavior might impact our lives in an unhealthy way the positive feelings experienced in the moment of doing the behavior overpower the logic that would otherwise allow us to moderate the behavior. In other words, the desire for the positive feeling state is so strong that it overrides the ability to regulate.

Most of the time it is not the actual behavior that we crave or need it is the positive feeling state. Examples of positive feeling states are:
Freedom Belonging Connection Bonding Joy Competence Victory Friendship Approval Safety Powerful Invincible  
We naturally seek pleasurable feelings as part of a healthy life. However, there are frequently previous life experiences that make us feel like we can’t have the positive feeling state, so we seek out ways to illicit the desired feeling state.  The more deprived we are of a particular positive feeling the more we want to experience that feeling.

The positive feeling state is the desired goal of the compulsive behavior. The compulsive behavior is not the goal, seeking the feeling that has been linked with the behavior is the goal. 

Addiction & Compulsive Behavior