Addiction and the Urge to Create Distance

Are you creating a life or creating distance from life?

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Whatever creates distance from living can become an addiction. I have found that even healthy practices can make me feel less real, less alive… Our practice of yoga, exercise, suntanning, shopping, social media, enjoying a social drink or writing this blog can each be a healthy behavior or a way to avoid.

You will discover whether you are creating distance from life, rather than creating a life for yourself by answering one question: “Can I look intently at my fears and my longings – without turning away?”

Even meditation, attentiveness or focusing on our breath can be used to prevent us from what we need to be doing, or feeling, or sensing at this moment.

You will discover whether you are creating distance from life, rather than creating a life for yourself by answering one question: “Can I look intently at my fears and my longings – without turning away?”

Take a moment to consider your answers to two questions:

  • What do I fear?
  • What do I want?

Chances are, your answers to these questions are mirror images of each other: What you fear is usually connected to what you want.

  • You fear rejection; What you want is acceptance.
  • You fear disappointment; What you want is to live a life that is valued – by you and by those you care about.
  • You fear change; What you want is to learn to be more flexible in the face of change, progress or what you cannot control.
  • You fear intimacy, you wonder if you can do what it takes to make your relationships work; You want to be and to feel well, you want relationships that are healthy.
  • You fear that you will continue to be ill, that you may continue to be overwhelmed with a mental illness, that you may again succumb to your addiction; You want to be well, and to learn to stay well.
  • You fear being alone; You desire that someone will truly know you and accept you.

Are you creating a life, or are you creating distance from life? Are you moving toward what you want, or are you living out of fear, hemmed in by anxiety or a belief that you are unworthy or unable to live the life that you want?

Addiction is inventing chaos when we are insecure, uncertain or afraid. It is a defense mechanism that helps us avoid… Recovering health is not easy, but it is usually simple. If it is complicated, it won’t get done.

When we continue with behaviors that prevent us from living, from life – we end up feeding our fear and undermining our own choices to make a life that is worthwhile.

In pursuing peace, we may unwittingly create a war. The pursuit of peace is unhealthy when we use it as a way to avoid.

In pursuing peace, we may unwittingly create a war.

The pursuit of peace is unhealthy when we use it as a way to avoid: pain, emotion, intimacy, difficult conversations, being in the moment, accepting our past, being open to life, accepting what we cannot change about ourselves/people we care about/or situations we find ourselves in.

Whatever creates distance from living can become an addiction.

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If you enjoyed this article, I invite you to read some of my other writing:

Addiction: A Simple Path

Love Will Change Your Relationship With Fear

A New Definition of Emotional Healing: Acceptance

I write articles that talk about the kind of changes I am trying to make in my own life. I hope that my writing also helps you. My topics include addiction and mental health recovery, relationships, and personal growth. I work as an Addiction Therapist, an Editor for the Good Men Project and freelance writer, and Adjunct Professor at City University, Edmonton. But what is most important is that I have a family and I am in recovery from depression and anxiety. My mental health experiences are part of my personal University degree, but they do not define me.

I hope to inspire you, to inform you and on occasion to entertain you. But most of all, I want to connect with you. Sign up for my blog if you want to receive the latest and best of my writing. If you like what I have to say, please share my work with your friends.

Lastly, if you like my writing, you can click here to vote for my page on Psych Central’s list of mental health blogs.

Keep it Real

Photo by Pai-Shih Lee


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