Where Are Addictions Stealing Your Freedom?

Welcome to Part 4.5ish of About That Weight Loss. We’ll return to the official Part 5 in the next post but, first, I felt we needed to take a little detour and talk straight about addiction.

Where have we traveled so far? In Parts 1 and 2, I shared some of my own life-long struggle with weight loss and dysmorphic body image, in Part 3 I talked about how my self-loathing started to shift, and in Part 4 we looked at several reasons that our bodies like to hang onto weight.

Freedom is found when you cast off the shackles of your addictions. And we all have them.

I know I’ve talked about it before but I truly believe that until we really wrap our hands around this and accept the truth, we will never right-size our bodies and accomplish what we say we want in our lives.

And that right there is the trap, the magic that we are missing, when we are trapped by addiction.

What We Say We Want v. What We Really Want

You see, it turns out that if we really wanted it, whatever ‘it’ is, we would go after it. We would get it. We would drop those pounds, we would never have gained them. We would make that money. We would call those people. We would do the things.

I mean, that’s what everyone says they want, right?

To be healthy.

To look good in their jeans.

To feel good in their flesh.

People say they want to be successful. They say they want to make money.

They say they want to spend more time with their kids and their spouse.

They say that their family is their top priority.

In fact, I’ve learned over the years that we say an awful lot of things.

And sometimes I wonder if we’re aware as the words leave our mouth that they are total bullshit.

Or if we actually believe that this time it will be different.

(which is what an addict thinks, by the way)

Because our history shows pretty clearly that we’re lying when we say we want something that we have not been able to create.


We’re All Addicted to Something

Because we’re addicted.

Every. Single. One. Of. Us.

We’re addicted to substances. We’re addicted to screens. We’re addicted to thought forms that have us twisted into pretzels as we try to get what we say we want while satisfying the addiction.

We live in a culture of addiction.

We live in a culture of extremes.

Here are a few of my favourite examples…

1) Addiction to Thought Forms

This is the most common type of addiction and it happens when we decide that our beliefs about how the world is, are how the world is. In other words, when we come to believe that our beliefs are the way it really is, instead of how we’ve chosen to believe it really is.

It’s where we lose flexibility.

A while ago, I had an intervention with a client. After months of trying to get her to see that what was keeping her from the success she said she wanted was her addiction to thought forms, I finally called it out as bluntly as I could. 

I said, “You are addicted to these thought forms.”

Her reaction?

She decided to leave and never speak to me again.

That’s certainly one possible response. It might not be the healthiest response. It didn’t make what I said untrue. Sadly, it just added evidence that I was bang on. I was heartbroken but we all have the freedom to choose our shackles.

She was so addicted to these thought forms that she decided she would rather keep them than work through them and choose something new.

What were the thought forms?

“It’ll never work for me.”

“It’s wrong to be an expert.”

“It’s wrong to sell my services and it’s even worse to be paid well for what I do.”

(maybe some of those are familiar to you?)

Changing Reality with One Real Decision

And the saddest part, or maybe the most glorious part, depending on how high you chunk up to get the biggest picture, is that she gets to be right.

We all do.

Because she believes that it will never work for her, it. will. never. work. for. her. Not as long as she insists on putting herself in a Victim position where she believes that the Universe is conspiring to ensure that it will never work for her.

Do you see? She is creating the very reality that she rails against because she benefits from being the Victim of that created reality. It is a deeply twisted and very human way to live.

She could change it with one decision.

(in NLP, we have the tools to do that – to take ALL the weight off of an old belief and install a new one… very quickly. but. you have to want it to happen.)

She could decide that it will be different from now on. She could look for the good and the momentum and how it totally is working for her and build on that, one small brick at a time …

(the only way out of addiction, by the way)

… but that would mean changing her whole internal universe. It would require a massive ego death. It would require trusting and surrendering the illusion that she is in control of every little thing in her universe.

And that’s scary.

So, the addiction remains.

(it’s a really common addiction, by the way. right up there with “I’m a phony and they’ll find me out”, “I’m not good enough”, and “I’m unworthy / unloveable / unimportant”)

2) Addiction to Busy-ness

A while back, I was speaking with a group of my high-level clients and they were sharing where they were struggling and I blurted out …

(as I’m wont to do)

… “Well, it makes sense. You’re ALL addicted to busy-ness.”


And then this: “Yeah.” “You’re right.” “Oh my gosh.” “I can see it everywhere.”

Suddenly, we were having a much more valuable and much deeper conversation about where this addiction to busy-ness was burning them out and keeping them from being present with their families and from having the peace that they said they wanted.

They stayed in. They dug in. They faced the truth of their addiction.

They took a deep breath and trusted and allowed the change to happen.

As a result, their lives changed for the immeasurable better – quickly.

3) Addiction to Screens / Media

Thirdly, our society has a massive problem with ‘addiction to screens’ and while personally I see it impacting our men more than our women, I know that everyone is susceptible.

Games that demand our attention multiple times per day – or per hour. Video bloggers who put out regular content that we don’t want to miss because we’re part of their ‘tribe’. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram feeds that encourage us to stay connected all the time so we don’t miss anything.

Notifications popping up on our screens to make sure we don’t miss the latest scores or latest gossip or that one more person ‘Liked’ our post.

It is designed to be addictive. All of it. User participation allows higher ad revenues. The psychology of addiction is intentionally built into the online games and social streams.

Let’s say that again: online games and social streams are designed to be addictive.

It is the ultimate form of mental addiction and we carry those darned screens with us wherever we go.

Families are being destroyed. Businesses are failing. Dreams are disappearing.

(no. I’m not being melodramatic. I see it daily in my practice.)


Because we’re on our screens instead of living.

Do yourself a favour.

Turn off your Notifications. Yes. All of them.

Schedule times to check email and social media and your favourite videos and SET A TIMER to make sure you don’t get hooked into mindless scrolling.

Don’t take your phones to bed.

Even better, take a day or two off from screens.

Can you do it?

Most people can’t.

Or, they can, but it hurts. They get the shakes and it feels weird in their bellies and they’re absolutely sure that they’re missing something important.

(that’s an addiction, by the way)

To me, it’s terrifying to think that this is who we’ve become. And that we have created a culture that encourages it. We have willingly walked into a prison of our own making, put on the shackles, and said, ‘yes, I’m willing to settle for the shadows of reality instead of living what is really real.’

We have created phrases like:

“must see TV”

“I’m addicted to my stories”, and

“wine for everything”

(especially for women, what is up with that casual addiction to wine?)

4) Addiction to White Powder

Finally, bringing it back around to releasing our weight and getting into right-size bodies, I think we have to realize that we are addicted to those little white powders: white sugar and white flour.

(and, yeah, the comparison to cocaine is intentional. sugar is addictive and its effects are often compared to those of drugs)

I’ll talk more about that this week but here’s what I want you to hear this week:

If, when you think about giving up sweets or refined carbs, you feel like maybe you’ll be giving up your best friend and that maybe all the joy will drain out of your life and that maybe, just maybe, you’ll die without them – or want to be dead – then that’s what we call an addiction.

You see, those little white powders are extremely addictive. Mentally and physically. Our bodies use them to regulate chemical processes and they make us deeply, deeply unhealthy.

(check out Dr. Susan Pierce Thompson and Bright Line Eating for a tonne of resources and research about this)

Skyrocketing rates of obesity?

Increased rates of food allergies?

Diabetes frickin’ everywhere?

Yeah. Check out those powders and how they are in EVERYTHING processed that we buy. Notice how they affect you when you eat them and how you crave them just a little while later to keep the high going.

Like I said, we’ll talk about it in Part 5.

But, for now, I beg you to stay with me because we’re going into deep, dark, and tender places.

(I know it can be uncomfortable, I really, really do)

The places where we eat food to stuff our emotions. Where we use food to control our reality and where we choose food over love, over health, and over life.

Defining Addiction

To be clear, here’s my definition of addiction:

Addiction exists anywhere that you have a pattern you cannot change or control – something that seems to have control over you. Wherever that exists, you have an addiction.

We all have them somewhere.

I have come to believe that a big part of becoming a mature human is identifying where we have addictions …

(and they grow ever-more subtle as we work through the layers)

… and learning how to eliminate them and transform them into freedom.

Because freedom is always on the other side of addiction. It is always the result when we cast off our shackles and choose something new, even if it’s terrifying.

Where are you addicted? Wherever you have a mental, emotional, or physical addiction it is stealing your freedom.

Here is your TASK this week: step out of your body, just for a moment, and take a good, hard, loving look at your Self. What are you addicted to? What is pulling your strings and making you dance? What is separating you from the Divine? Make a list. You might only see one or two things, you might see many.

(and, if you see none, you’re into your addiction-story way deep. here’s a hint: if there is any area of your life where you’re not getting what you want to be getting, look there)

Then ask: Are you prepared to do something about it? Now?

If you are, I’ll be back soon with Part 5