The Price of Addiction

Dec 29, 2017 by

The Price of Addiction

I was having a conversation the other day and the discussion turned to addiction, and how all addictions come with a cost: The Price of Addiction.

I’m not talking about the kind of addiction that comes with a needle or a bottle. Actually, maybe I am. Maybe I’m talking about all addiction. Maybe I’m talking about any behavior that lets you get numb and not feel what you’re feeling, or experience the truth of the world around you and how it affects you, or lets you walk through the world with blinders on oblivious to your effects on your surroundings, your relationships, your health, your future.

Addiction has been around forever. I think it comes hand-in-hand with human consciousness, with the spark of our ego and our personality, and the wounds we experience. The wounds of our childhood, the wounds of our adulthood, the wounds of our relationships.

You know what addiction looks like. We’re all addicted to (pick your poison):

  • Television
  • Work
  • Texting/Facebook/Twitter/Internet … you name it
  • Your phone
  • Video games
  • Bolting or running away
  • Sugar (oh boy … that’s my favorite)
  • Comfort food (oh boy … that’s another favorite of mine)
  • Alcohol
  • Drugs – the illegal kind,┬áthe legal kind from your doc, the over-the-counter kind
  • Anger
  • Sadness & Depression
  • Gambling
  • Sex
  • … (so many other addictions that allow us to be distracted from ourselves)

But there’s a Price to Addiction. A price we pay whenever we indulge in these behaviors.

Addiction behavior is easy, we’re used to it, it feels good, comfortable, like an old shoe. But just like an old worn-out shoe, addiction will eventually wear thin, not be as comfortable and eventually leave you with scars on the souls (yes, that misspelling is intentional) of your feet.

Indulging in addiction is exactly that, an indulgence and a distraction to what truly matters in our lives. What will truly fulfill us. A deep connection with purpose, relationships, and becoming the next best version of ourselves. So why do we fall back into addiction? Why is it so easy for these behaviors to override everything else?

I think because doing things that matter is hard, scary and we’re afraid to actually look at and feel the raw emotions of being human. Our ego┬ásure as Hell is not interested in truly experiencing the world around us because that would require us to be vulnerable and drop the hard shell of our ego (ie put our ego in a box on the back shelf). Oooooooooh, as humans, we’re not very good at that.

Every time we fall prey to these addictions, they require payment. Addictions are not natural. They are not the most effortless way to live our lives. They require payment because they require energy to protect ourselves from what is real, what is Truth (with a capital T). Because seeing the Truth may be very painful, frightening, and in the end looking at ourselves in the mirror is not as easy as swallowing an addiction.

What are those costs? Maybe if we can shy away from the reflection in the mirror that we may not like, and just look at the price tag on the addiction we’ll take a minute to be conscious before indulging … at least once in a while.

When you bury yourself in TV, work, texts, Facebook, your phone or video games, when you could be truly connecting with the people you love, how much are you pulling out of that emotional bank account? Have you looked at them and thought about how much the lack of connection or isolation truly costs you? Have you looked at the faces of your kids, your loved ones, your mate, and thought “I’m so grateful to have them in my life. How can I be MORE there for them?” Instead of asking, “how can I numb out more?” How much will one more hour playing games or being at work really be worth to you at the end of your life?

When you put that drink up to your lips, or that pill in your mouth, or that sugar on your tongue, or that extra food in your belly, when you truly could be feeling, when you truly could be healthy, when you truly could be connected to your body, how much is your physicality being drained? Could you be grateful to have a healthy life and think “I’m so grateful to have my health. How can I be MORE in my body?” Instead of asking “how can I numb out more?” How much will one more drink, pill, donut really be worth to you when you’re not healthy?

When you indulge in sadness, depression, running away, anger, when you could be truly connecting with what it means to be human, how much of the depth of your humanity have you given away?

So what’s the answer? I think gratefulness is certainly a huge piece of the answer puzzle. Gratefulness is key to pulling your eyes off your addiction. Gratefulness outside your head (gratefulness to others, gratefulness to your body, gratefulness to your spirit) is the deposit slip that lets you walk by the Impulse Buy of addiction and make a deposit to a more fulfilling life.

So here’s my question: “What can you be grateful for in an explicit way that will let you pass up addiction as a distraction?” Or “Who can you be grateful for?” and “What can you do to feel more in this moment and not pay the Price of Addiction?” If you can let go of your old destructive behaviors, if only for a minute, just to ask a better question, to pull your attention off of what will soothe you in the moment could you?

Bring your future self into the present. Bring your future self when you are taking your last breath and ask yourself if what you’re doing now will make you proud at the end of the day, at the end of your life. That’s the real test. Hard to do in the heat of battle. But it’s the only thing that will matter.

Yea, I know … living is hard … living in balance is even harder … living a fully connected open Truthful life is damn near impossible. Do it anyways.

See you on the wire

— Steven Cardinale


I’ve been listening to a lot of Pema Chodron lately to try and understand the addiction of being human. I am sure some of these will peak your curiosity:


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