We are not an impenetrable force able to achieve anything our heart desires. We have many limiting addictions that curtail what we want and who we will become. The reality of limitation depresses the soul when modern philosophy commonly recites ideological baloney about limitless power. Humans soar, but we also crash land. We shouldn’t cry over our painful, imperfect humanity. Despite the limitations, we our endowed with power. We can escape binding addictions that interfere with joys and sabotage success. We can become a person of great aliveness and joy. Above all, we can break the addicting chains that bind.
In positive thinking circles, the words ‘limited potential’ have a blasphemous ring. If we ignore the existence of human limitations, we are not free. Biology, experience, and culture have their claim, molding and manipulating the details of our life. While many elements strongly influence perception and behavior, we still maintain a power to direct our lives, choosing to act in ways that benefit ourselves and the world.
Adjusting our perception mitigates the strength of the impact that culture and biology plays in the creation of our being. In many ways, we can transcend the chains, breaking free of the addictions that bind.
See Understanding Addiction for more on Addiction
Denying Our Addictions
Because of the strength of habits and addictions, many prefer to deny the heavy weight they have on our lives and create an alternate reality. Reshaping their reality through deceptive constructions, perceiving a world where they are all powerful or completely helpless (see All-or-Nothing Thinking).
The deceptions operate in the shadows of our mind, slyly bending realities to fit ego-protecting lies, manipulating the meaning of experience. This attitude helps massage reality. The pretend control gives a sense of power; or conversely, the pretend helplessness relieves against the tremendous weight of taking personal responsibility. However, without taking responsibility for the work required to break the chains of addiction, we will never succeed. Externalizing causes and remedies for our addictions puts the work outside of our control.
Self excusing Mindsets provide a sense of security, but overtime, the views that deviate too far from reality create greater frustrations, limiting our power, and pronouncing a surrender to outside forces. These chains cannot be broken until we take the bolt cutters and cut them ourselves.
See Fooling Ourselves for more on self-deception
Limits to Freedom
Limits to freedom isn’t the same as no freedom. We have power to choose within the givens. We are not doomed, hapless victims of fate. Our future is not already decided. An awareness of the influences—our ties to the past, culture, and imperfectness—empowers wiser reactions to the world. We can factor in the limiting chains of addiction and navigate a healthier, future-oriented response to life within the given boundaries. We can react with a wise mind not an emotionally driven mind.
Addictions are our habitual response to the givens. Some behavioral addictions are harmless, while other habits wield the power to destroy. We may feel powerless against elements in our environment. Our helplessness motivates a search for avenues of escape. Addictions lure us from productive responses, promising joy but only offering pain.
Painful Trade-offs Necessary for Success
Most people want to succeed. But success comes slow, requiring painful trade-offs. High achievement at work and school can interfere with valuable time with companions and children. We can’t expect to excel in every avenue of life without occasionally meeting the painful realities of limitations. Limited time, limited resources and limited control of outside forces all impact the final outcome.
When we contend against addictions, we also discover limitations. The answers aren’t always readily available. Our strength isn’t limitless. Our mighty promises to self crumble against the weight of addiction. We need a better plan to break the chains of addiction. We need more stable support.
See Planning for a Successful Recovery for more on this topic
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Human intuition, empathy, logic and creativity combine to soften the seemingly unpredictable and ever-changing environment. We can act with greater flexibility, effectively using the givens to build a life of richness. We can respect limitations without delving forlorn into depression. Many, sadly, not only accept limitations but impose greater restraints than the givens life already offers. They pitifully settle for less—much less. They complain about the circumstances that they largely invited through their own actions.
Living life to the fullest, flourishing in the face of the givens, is not something we accidentally stumble upon, but a purposeful path that we create—a continual process. Enlightenment is not achieved at a definable moment in time but a process that begins at birth and continues to death. We must diligently gather knowledge through science, religion, history, and personal observations, using wisdom to guide. By embracing the incompleteness of our magnificent existences, the limitations to our powers, we open doors with clearer perspectives, breaking the binding chains of addiction, freeing us to pursue a flourishing life of enlightenment.