Yesterday I witnessed the aftermath of a drug overdose. The last few minutes of this man’s life were spent on the concrete floor of a public toilet, and I was jolted into a sense of sadness and waste.
A life of what ‘could have been’ was no longer, and it got me thinking about addiction. We all have it – our addiction to something …. drugs, alcohol, food, sex, bad relationships, Facebook …. You might try to deny it but you do have one, at least one, and probably more than one. Addictions come in all shapes and sizes and they’re not necessarily bad, or good – they just are. They’re those overwhelming compulsions to subconsciously do something you perhaps consciously would chose not to do. Like opening the fridge and staring into the back of it hoping the light will go ‘on’. It’s biting your fingernails, smoking, drinking, and checking the car door is locked or the oven’s off three times … just to be sure, to be sure, to be sure.
It’s not the addiction that fascinates me, but rather the evolution of addiction. Why are our brains wired this way? What experiences (or nature or nurture) lead us down a particular compulsion? Not loved enough as a child, or perhaps loved too much? And why do those exposed to the same ‘trauma’ turn to different forms of relief, escapism, coping mechanisms, dependencies? And I start to wonder whether there’s any correlation between incident and addiction.
As an NLP and Hypnosis practitioner I’ve studied this stuff quite a lot. But I’m still looking for the holy grail, the ultimate answer, the ‘quick fix’ to the problem – if we could only rewire our own brains, take control of the subconscious without falling into the abyss, imagine all that we could create and achieve … it might even be … Limitless.
Yesterday was a reminder for me to be present and fully engaged with my own life, and to practice gratitude. I’m most grateful for my network of family and friends, who care enough to ride the waves of life with me and provide between us a conduit of unconditional support … whatever form that might take in each unique relationship. Sure I love my possessions, but it’s this connection that is, by far, the most significant thing that I’m grateful for.
Over the last 6 months as I wake up the first thing I see is a sign by my bed that says “I love my life”. I repeat the words to myself as a morning ritual, even when I find it tough to say it (which incidentally is happening less and less). I follow it up by thinking about all the things I’m grateful for … everything until I can think of no more (and sometimes that takes a while). Then I plan my day, prioritise and set myself up for a day or achievement and success. This morning ritual is a conscious habit I’m creating … rewiring my brain gradually.
But this man, whatever circumstances led him to that toilet yesterday to get his last ‘fix’, his final escape, doesn’t get that chance. But you do. So if there’s anything I can advocate to you, it’s to practice gratitude and love your life, no matter where in your journey you are. You might think your life could be better, but I can almost guarantee it could be worse. So make the most of it …. LOVE your family, LOVE your friends and, most importantly …
… LOVE your life.