Along with my alcohol and substance addiction, there has been another illness that I must work as hard on today, as I do my sobriety. It’s the obsessive fixation in my head that my happiness can be found in the next project, the next job, the next country, the next relationship or as it is more succinctly known – Destination Addiction.
Right from the get- go, I always had this overwhelming sense that , and when I reached that destination, all my pain, suffering and issues would be resolved, and I would be able to be the person I always wanted to be. Because of this ‘grasses greener’ thinking; I have started many new jobs including my own business; fired up several relationships; had countless ‘new starts’ in different countries; started many diets, The cycle played out all the time, with exactly the same negative outcomes.
First, I would feel the pain in my being, and to ease it, I would use my imagination to create a new ‘reality’ and a new goal.
Then my rationalizing mind would kick in and convince me that if I achieve this new ‘reality’ all my woes wouldl be cured. In that moment, because of this new purpose I had created in my head, the pain I was feeling would subside, which in turn convinces me still further that the goal I have just set is the answer. And so, my actions would follow my thinking, and before I knew it I was on the other side of the fence.
Things would be ok for a bit, but before too long, the pain starts to grow again, the realization dawns that perhaps this ‘goal’ was not the answer, and the process will start again with something new. The insanity of doing the same think over and over and expecting different results played out relentlessly with my destination addiction.
By the time I was 28, I had everything I thought I ever wanted – a wife, daughter, dog, house, business – and yet that still wasn’t enough to shield me from the hurt. My commitments ensured that I my roots were firmly planted, which made it more difficult to create a new ‘reality’ that I could run towards. Without the ability to physically move on anymore, I did the next best thing and used copious amounts of cocaine and alcohol to escape mentally and emotionally. My addiction went full blown.
But despite all the carnage and destruction that I created in those convening years, I was still able to convince myself that my happiness was just one more decision away. I told you – Insane!
I also used the logic that if I was thinner, heathier, wiser and wealthier, I would be happier. This took me on many treasure hunts, that always ended with failure. Why? Because my happiness didn’t reside on the other side of these feats. Didn’t stop me looking though!
Best-selling author Robert Holden, PhD, the man who coined the phenomenon ‘destination addiction’ defines it as “a preoccupation with the idea that happiness is in the next place, the next job, and with the next partner. Until you give up the idea that happiness is someplace else, it will never be where you are.”
For many, it is this kind of mentality that continuously drives them on to achieve more, and it may take them a lifetime of ‘success’ before they realize that they had the power to govern their own happiness all along.
However, for those of us prone to addictive thought patterns and behaviors, destination addiction is the perfect setup for failure.
Holden also goes on to say, ‘happiness is the next hit, the next high, the next acquisition, the next drink, the next orgasm, the next hot-fudge sundae, the next 10-pound weight loss.” Putting the word ‘next’ in front of everything that you perceive to be your solution, means that the solution never arrives and instead all you get is a big slice of failure to add to your already vulnerable state of mind. It just simply isn’t sustainable.
So how do we reach a state of contentment in the now?
- The first step is acknowledging the cycle exists. Before we can attempt to change anything, we must first must accept that the problem is real. Start to monitor your thinking, and note down how certain, unrealistic ideas make you feel in that moment.
- Another great practice is to reflect on a memory when you truly felt true contentment. Even the most desperate among us should be able to recall a moment when you couldn’t think of anywhere else in the world you would rather be, whether it be with a person, a place, or a thing or all three!! Take a moment to enjoy the memory, and let that feeling wash over you, because that is the true happiness that you seek.
- Create new, realistic goals around the key aspects of your life — health, wealth, family, friends, work and spirituality. These goals need to be easily achieved and easily incorporated into your day. With each small victory comes a dose of self-appreciation, and in time, your self-worth will increase.
- Surround yourself with people who support and encourage your vision while grounding you in the present. Don’t put off happiness while you’re waiting for the seeds you’ve planted to grow.
Don’t spend your time waiting for happiness to arrive, you may just be missing out on the happiness that surrounds you today.
Have a beautiful, happy day,
Lots of love