I have an addiction.
When I share it, you may think I’m using the word “addiction” casually, but I’m not. I seek out support, do 12-step work, have a sponsor, and am ongoingly on the lookout for my addiction to best me.
I’m addicted to adrenaline — to heightening my current state. Another label for this kind of addiction is an excite-a-holic.
For me, it’s not any one thing. It’s not alcohol, or marijuana, or sugar, or video games. (Although I do love all of those things, and can get addictive in how I use them). It’s all of those things. And then also porn, and exercise, and work, and caffeine, and…
The truth is, there’s never enough. No matter what state I’m currently in, I crave being in the next state. It’s a challenging addiction, because I can get my fix off of almost anything. There’s nothing I can simply cut out of my life and then “be done”. My ego or survival mechanism will find a way to create an addictive pattern around whatever I let remain in my life (Did you know it’s possible to eat an entire block of mozzarella in one sitting? I do! I also know that it carries with it some unpleasant consequences).
I’ve been doing recovery work for a while now, and I’m noticing interesting things.
I’m noticing that life is boring.
Don’t get me wrong — it’s exciting as well. But you can’t have excitement without boredom.
Learning to be with that boredom is challenging. The mundaneness of life is not the game I came here to play. I came here for excitement, inspiration, outrageous joy, raucous laughter…
And while life certainly contains all of those things, it contains everything else too.
A willingness to be with all of it is what gives us access to all of it.
What I notice is that I can only hold my own inspiration and excitement to the extent that I can hold boredom and nothingness. As long as I need to run away from boredom, any current excitement and inspiration is soon to run out, and so instead, I need to be reaching for the next thing.
Things might be exciting and inspiring in the moment, but all I’m really thinking about is how to get my next fix. I’m not really able to enjoy things, just as they are.
I could be stoned with friends, but it’s a very brief window before I’m thinking about that next hit. Maybe it’s been long enough. Maybe we should bump things up a little bit. Maybe take things even further. Ratchet them up so that we don’t have to come down.
The funny thing I notice is that as I do more of my own work, and learn to be with the entirety of life, some of the sex appeal of those patterns also leaves.
I created some really big breakthroughs this year around money — not just having it, but also who I be about money. How I show up with my money, regardless of how my money is showing up with me. Being more boring with money — or perhaps put better, being more consistent with money, even when money is not being consistent with me.
Money doesn’t surprise me anymore. Bills no longer bring with them a sense of resistance or fright, because I know we’ve got the capacity to handle them. (Back in the day, I would procrastinate and hate paying a bill — was I going to long in and need to move money around? Could we handle this? Would this all work out?)
But the counterpart to that is that getting more money is less sexy too. Getting hired by a new client used to be a shot in the arm — a spike of adrenaline. But that’s not so much there anymore. It’s just… more of the energy of money coming our way. I’m still excited to create a new client and to support someone anew, but losing the rush that incoming money used to provide — I hadn’t bargained on that.
Breakthroughs are incredible. But we don’t often realize that we may be giving something up at the same time we gain something new.
I wouldn’t go back in the other direction now, even if I could.
But some days, I miss the adrenaline spike.