The true addiction is not the substance, it’s the identity of the user.
That’s what we crave. That’s what we wake up scrambling to get our fix of. The person that the drug turns us into.
Workaholics, for example, are not only addicted to the adrenaline highs that come from the intensity of being busy, meeting deadlines and achieving results, but we’re also addicted to the persona of being a successful, hardworking professional who is getting shit done and changing the world.
We believe, whether conscious or not, that our job is who we are, and that work justifies our existence. Without it, we would have no concrete signs of self definition. Take away our work and there is nothing left.
That’s why, each morning at the crack of dawn we leap out of bed to rush back into the only thing that offers us security.
Just kidding. Workaholics don’t sleep.
Point being, any identity can become an addiction. And if we over identify with a single piece of it, we may lock ourselves into a certain smallness that’s not healthy or sustainable.
Keen’s seminal book about authentic manhood says it perfectly:
We are at a fork in the road that separates those who choose to remain unconscious of the sources of their identity, and those who choose to make the journey into lucid personhood.
Personally, one of my first steps along this journey was accepting that I had a whole self that was larger than, and different from, my identity as a working professional. It only took a decade to realize.
But it was actually quite liberating. By diversifying my personhood into new areas, my level of fulfillment dramatically amplified. And by not operating too completely from one identity piece, my level of anxiety significantly subsided.
Ask yourself today which component of your identity you may be addicted to.
Take your first step toward genuine outgrowths of a blossoming new self.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you falling into the trap of operating too completely from one identity piece?
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That Guy with the Nametag
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