How This Entrepreneur's Deep Desire to Succeed Helped Him Overcome Addiction
With three key steps, he uncovered the root of his issues and started to live a new life without the toxic habits.
If anyone had suggested I was an addict during the dark period of life, I would have brushed his or her comments off as false. Of course, I was in deep denial. The truth felt like hell on earth, but what saved me was my desire as an entrepreneur: I deeply wanted to succeed. I knew I had to break my habits and end my anxiety and depression to get to the next level. At the time, I was feeling hopeless, ashamed and isolated. I didn't want to talk about it.
My addiction pattern went like this: I wanted to fit in and feel relaxed, so I drank alcohol. Then, after a few drinks, I would smoke. Then, I would get home from partying and gamble thousands away off my credit cards. When I was hungover and feeling at my lowest, I would watch porn. This was my addiction pattern, and I lived it for years. This became my normal.
At my all-time low, I reached a breaking point. Something clicked in 2010; I realized that my habits were never going to get me to where I needed to be. So I packed my bags, moved out of the city I was born in and started to surround myself with different people. This was a pivotal moment in my growth because I needed healthy role models and the energy to build the vision that was in my head.
Once I started to make serious financial strides, it suddenly dawned on me that if I was "rich" and still had my addictions, I would probably end up dead. So, I went on a long journey. I had to dig up my past, look at the trauma of my childhood and go through several key stages to become addiction free.
These are the exact steps that I take my clients through to reconnect with their true selves and embody a healthy lifestyle. It's a process that takes courage, commitment and the pivotal decision to change.
1. Conscious lifestyle design
The opposite of addiction is connection. As entrepreneurs, we have a tendency to isolate, so when connection declines, we look externally. We must create a conscious lifestyle based on self-awareness and energy-rich behaviors that send positive thoughts to our brain from our heart.
This takes self-discipline that entrepreneurs find hard to kick start on their own because they are so used to working on the business instead of themselves. There's a belief that money and success will help them feel whole, but this is an illusion created by the part of us that self-sabotages.
When you start to develop a deeper connection with yourself, you're less likely to need to get the "hit" of feeling good from the addiction. Meditation plays a big role in this process because it takes you into the depths of your soul and helps you bring the unconscious into the conscious mind, and when that happens, the breakthroughs begin.
2. Letting go of the past
A big reason for disconnection with ourselves is due to past events, trauma and suppression. This can include bullying, a loss of a parent or lack of nurture as a child. It may come as a shock to some, but the process of unblocking a trapped emotion from a past event can sometimes literally stop an addiction instantly. That's because the release of energy creates a massive surge of energy in the body, and the desire for the unhealthy behavior is lifted.
The difference between the battle between a behavior and the desire not being there at all is a shift in identity. When we heal from events in the past, we no longer negatively identify as a victim. This is why lack of forgiveness and holding resentments are a huge cause of addiction. Resolving relationships (even if the other person involved has passed), is a key step for many. The past holds so much subconscious "junk," and clearing this out can create an entirely new life.
3. Belief shifting
In my experience, the first two stages deal with 70% to 80% of addiction cases. However, even if they've begun to deal with the issue, we need to lock in the new identity, which depends on what we believe about ourselves. How we live, what we do and the life we create is all based on our values and our beliefs.
Right now, you may have a belief about your addiction that's not serving you. This could be something like "It will just go away" or "It will never go away." It's not easy to understand what our core beliefs are from the monkey mind. Dropping into meditation and starting to ask deeper questions will help unpack our beliefs. When I'm working with clients, I use the .5-second rule. I have them drop into meditation, then ask questions about their beliefs within that half second.
Once I've discovered what someone's beliefs are about himself or herself, we can rewire new beliefs by taking key actions. We think a thought, have a new belief and take action from that — it's this action that makes a difference. It's not enough to just look in the mirror and say to yourself, "I'm addiction free," just as you can't embody courage from reading about being courageous. It takes an act of courage to be a hero.
While the above stages work, it's important to remember that the first step is admitting the truth and having the courage to reach out for help. I spent many years in the cycle of "It will figure it out on its own," but, ultimately, this was part of my denial and active ego that wanted to sabotage me from reaching my true potential.
You need to know that your addictions will be gone once you've made the key decision not to allow them in your life anymore. Then and only then do we make the power moves required to heal.
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor