Itty Bitty Addictions… are they keeping you from writing?
We all hear about the ‘BIG’ addictions like alcohol, cigarettes, eating and sexual addictions- which are obvious and so blatant, that hopefully we ‘know’ they are keeping us from the things we want and love.
But what about those little everyday addictions we think don’t matter, or that we think aren’t really hurting us?
Often it is those little itty-bitty addictions that keep us from doing what we actually want to do.
Addictions like tv. Does your nightly show keep you from finishing that task or project you were going to work on? After dinner do you freely take on that task or hobby you’ve been planning to all day, or do you scrap it because there might be something good on tv? Having a planned weekly favorite show or two is one thing. But if we ‘need’ tv every night- to unwind or relax, it might be something to question- ‘Is this how I really want to be spending my time?’
I once went to a religious book store. As I was buying the book I wanted, the cashier took it and curiously flipped it over and read a little of the back and said that it looked like a great book! I told her it was and that she should read it. She shook her head, told me she’d become too ‘addicted’ to Sudoku, so addicted in fact that she never read any books anymore. Ok… Maybe, just maybe it was time for her to face up to her ‘sudoku’ addiction? Nothing against Sudoku. Maybe time for her to face up to the fact that this fun little math puzzle was keeping her from deeper things, things she used to like to do. When I got home, I threw out my sudoku book- I realized that though it hadn’t gotten to the level of addiction that the cashier had, still, it wasted some of my precious time.
I watched a show on persons who had ‘shopping’ addictions. There are two kinds of people. Those who prefer not to shop-, and the rest of us who love it. It is an addiction though when we use it as our crutch, must do it every day to get our ‘high’- spend more money than we earn, or have to ‘hide’ our purchases because we know they are ridiculous- unneeded, and wasteful. Having scheduled shopping times is helpful. Also keeping a running list. There was a man (yes it isn’t only women who have this problem) who wrote that he decided he would allow himself to go to the grocery store 1x per week. And any other stores he’d only allow himself a 1time per month visit. He kept a running list. By the time the monthly shopping day came, many of the things that had seemed urgent at one time, were things he no longer needed nor wanted.
One day when I had a bottle of red wine hanging around, it suddenly seemed such a waste to have red wine hanging around. I realized that I kept thinking about the red wine that was unfinished. In fact, though I’m not a regular drinker, I realized that the wine seemed to be calling to me, “Wouldn’t I be nice and tasteful right about now?” Suddenly not feeling free, I poured out the wine, rinsed out the bottle, put the bottle in the recycling bin, and felt free to do what I’d been wanting to do- which was my work. I still drink wine occasionally, but don’t keep bottles of it hanging around. I buy it for company and family on special occasions only. Are there certain drinks or foods that make you not feel free? Do they have more power over you than you have over them? Often the temptation goes away simply by removing it from the house.
What amazed me the most when I quit smoking 25 years ago, was the freedom I had with my hands and time. No more having to stop my work to take frequent cigarette breaks.
For awhile I was a slave to the phone. I used to think that it was “professional” to answer each and every call, whether it was a friend, or a window salesman. But one day I realized that my phone rang a lot! That often tasks weren’t finished due to a phone call that interrupted my work. I decided to schedule phone times to check phone messages and return calls. Gradually the phone died down, and my productivity increased.
For many it is the internet/Facebook/texting etc. I’m not saying these things are bad. Not at all. I love all these. But in my case, I’ve come to the point where I give myself about a minute to check my emails, another minute to check FB-for any messages ‘directed’ at me- and fly off immediately so that I can get to the things I really want to be doing…My writing and my work.
Are there things keeping you from your work or your writing? If it is your family or kids- be grateful!
Anything else, I ask myself, “Is this what I REALLY want to be doing right now- or is this this an addiction I need to break?