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Some people go through life never understanding why they don’t reach their goals. They don’t see why they aren’t getting the career they want, true love, good health, or peace of mind.

They are the “unlucky,” ones.

Chances are something is blocking them from their goals, and in many cases, it’s addiction.

We’ve been so conditioned to live in an addictive mindset. We don’t even realize that our minds have been overtaken. Whether it’s addicted to substances or addicted to getting our needs met on demand, it’s a rare person whose free will has not been hijacked by something. They just don’t realize it.

Since we don’t know that we’ve become addicted, we are in denial. We think it’s normal to eat, drink, smoke, buy, take pills, and get on-demand.  When one’s health fails, the debt mounts, the depression and anxiety ensue, we don’t realize that addiction has been the robber. ‘I just need to cut back for a while,’ is the typical thought of someone who’s struggling with addiction. Cutting back is a temporary solution that always leads to a life-long pattern of stopping and starting with ever-increasing dependence.

 Many of us think addiction is obvious. We think of people who can’t control their drinking, eating, smoking, gambling, sex addiction, and other apparent problems. But addiction is the need to constantly get something to fill an unfillable void followed by negative consequences.

If I’m upset when I can’t have what I want, I’m addicted. So, whether it’s instant gratification on the internet or indulgence in my favorite sweet, if there are negative (emotional, physical, legal, family) consequences, I’m addicted.

It could be subtle. Thoughts like; ‘I want mac and cheese and a chocolate sundae for lunch. I can’t wait to have that drink when I get home. Will I have time to run ten miles? I want everyone to go to bed so I can get on the porn site.’ Or intolerance because someone is making me wait, trying to control everything (diagnosed as OCD), a family glued to their video games at the dinner table, and unwarranted debt, all classify as never-ending needs. They provide a result, but the cost is much greater than the reward.

As soon as one urge is met, the addictive mind anticipates the next fix. And the more we get that high, the more we want it. We know it’s wrong when we are behaving addictively, but we continue to do it because we want the result; a momentary sense of well-being. We tell ourselves we deserve the reward. We forget the consequences —debt, guilt, illness, pain, suffering.

If you’re someone who has been searching and you haven’t found what you’ve been looking for, you might decide to be one of the lucky ones and stop the search. There is no amount of candy, drugs, purchases, or excitement that will ever fill an internal void. It will fool you into thinking you are doing something nice for yourself, but there’s always a physical or emotional price to pay. The tremendous cost is that you move farther and farther away from your goal.

If we want to be happy and peaceful, we must face what our minds are doing. Happiness doesn’t come from being on the hunt for the next quick fix. There is nothing outside of you that will fill the void. Happiness is the result of treating ourselves and others with love.

Treat your body and mind like a sacred temple avoiding all toxic activities, substances, and situations. Address your problems from a place of kindness and love. As your body and mind heal, the void will no longer drive you to destruction. Instead, you will find the real goal: an awareness that you matter, that you are here to share and receive love. Your life has meaning and purpose. You can find the long-term happiness for which you mistakenly sought through other means.

Be one of the lucky ones. Face the truth about your “habits” before it’s too late. Look at what you’re really trying to achieve when you’re doing things that are harmful to your self-esteem and health and replace those behaviors with healthy, loving, actions. And always remember, there is no substitute for love.

Join the Movement

Donna Marks is an educator and licensed psychotherapist and addictions counselor in Palm Beach, Florida. Since 1989, she has worked with over 6,000 clients. Donna’s struggle with addiction brought her to a worldwide search for healing. She became licensed as a Mental Health Counselor in 1987. In 1989, she earned a Doctorate Degree in Adult Education, then became Certified in Addictions, Gestalt Therapy, Psychoanalysis, Hypnosis, and Sex Therapy. Donna developed an award-winning addiction training program at Palm Beach Community College. She co-owned an outpatient treatment program and is a consultant to treatment centers. Donna is the author of two books; Learn, Grow, Forgive, and the multi-award-winning, Exit the Maze-One Addiction, One Cause, One Cure, and created an online course for people who want to be cured of addiction. 

Donna is a public speaker and has shared her methods with hundreds of thousands of listeners on podcasts and radio shows.

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