Friday, August 16, 2013


What is Addiction?  

What makes a continuous relationship with a substance bad?  What makes it good?

I am addicted to healthy foods, to balanced exercise, and to the people and the activities that bring me continuous joy.  I don't ever want to have to end those relationships.  There is bondage and there are bonds of love.  There are bad habits and there are good habits.  Deciding which are which is a crucial conjunction.

The main reason I set goals is to create habits, abilities, talents.  I figure out the abilities I would like to develop and then go to work establishing them.  Developing a habit is like forging a pathway through a field of grass that I've never walked through before.  The first time I walk through it I may bend some blades of grass down.  When I look back I can see a faint trail.  With continuous traversing, the pathway is formed.  Over time I may lay down concrete or even build bridges over chasms to make the journey more efficient.  Habits make completing difficult or mundane responsibilities easier, faster, and more enjoyable.

Good habits are like symbiotic relationships.

Bad habits are like parasitic relationships.

I have found that I develop habits both with good foods and with bad foods.  So a food's "addictive" nature is not reason enough for me to avoid it.  I AM dependent on food.  No getting around that.  But I WANT to be addicted to healthy food.  I don't want the person who I purchase the food from to "benefit at my expense."  I don't want to be "exploited" or to become habitually involved with a substance that "gives nothing in return" in the end AND requires nothing or very little in return from me up front.  When choosing the foods I eat, I have to consider what I call its Paradoxical Result to determine whether its nature is symbiotic or parasitic. 

Paradoxical Results

Parasitic food starts out way easy to prepare--go to the store, see it ostentatiously displayed, saliva glands start working, buy it, eat it, yum!  Then I pay attention to what happens afterwards.  Next day I want it again.  My regular food doesn't taste as good and I'm not satiated with my daily allotment of calories.  I want to eat MORE!  My appetite increases even though my activity level stays the same.  I consider this bondage because I don't want to eat that much yet I want to eat that much!  It is a conflict of interest happening inside me.  Psychologists may call this a conflict between my Superego and Id.  The scriptures would call it a conflict between my spirit and body or natural [wo]man.
So I need to resolve it.  Which should I listen to?  Is there a balance between them?

I have determined my answer through experimental reasoning.  If I go ahead and partake of the parasitic food and yield to my new level of appetite, my ability to remain balanced in the face of my children's emotional swings, irritating behaviors, etc. is compromised.  And over time my sensitivity to the feelings of peace and energy I receive in my most cherished relationships is reduced (see blog post "Anxiety and Depression").  I feel numb to those treasured feelings; I physically gain weight.  I start looking around for more intense things to make me happy....and treats are always readily available!  But I need increasingly more over time.  For me, this is bondage and I have to get out.

Physical vs. Spiritual Appetites

When I eat food to satisfy my spiritual needs, I'm ab-using it, which basically means I'm using it in the wrong way.  Yeah, it's there and I'm seemingly free to choose to use it however I want but I'm not free to choose the Paradoxical Results.  They are inherently attached.  I’ve tested that one out.
Howard Jones: “No One Is to Blame”

In the past this has been pretty depressing. I took the frowny-face view: "I can't have it.  It's not fair.  It's the only thing that makes me happy.  I can't find happiness in any other way."

But then I found the good news.  This wasn't the only way.  There was a better one and it had sustainability without all the bad side effects.  

Para-Symbiotic Relationships

This is that better way:  When I’m emotionally compromised I turn to a trusted individual for empathy and support or for challenge and excitement.  Not to food.  This person is on my side, defending me when I've been seriously hurt.  But after I've calmed down, feel safe, know I'm loved, I'm ready to evaluate what happened.  I want answers.  How can I resolve that conflict?  How can I avoid getting into a situation like that again?  What part of it was my responsibility?  How can I learn from this?  What do I need to change and what should I hold steadfast? 
It’s not symbiosis because I am reliant upon my host more than he is on me.  I have less to offer.  But it’s not parasitism either because of my promise.  I don’t take his help and do nothing of myself.  I use the strengths that I have to do all that I can do.  I promise that when I am stronger, I will behave as he did to me to those who need me.

For lack of finding a word that describes this relationship, I will call it Para-Symbiosis. 

Bonds of Love are the Paradoxical Results of choosing to eat food for what it was intended and choosing to turn to a real person in a real relationship when I am emotionally compromised.  Within these bonds I have grown, progressed, and overcome bad habits that have seemed impossible to overcome.


Experimental Reasoning Conclusions

So after many years of experimenting and reasoning with the results, I have formed a conclusion:

A lack of a Para-Symbiotic Relationship with a trusted individual causes me to reach out to parasitic substances for peace and energy.


Parasitic substances clog up the ability to establish that Para-Symbiotic Relationship that would otherwise return increasing intensities of sustainable peace and energy over time.  This leaves me in bondage.

Sinéad O'Connor:  "Nothing Compares 2 U"

These conclusions assist me in coming up with a resolution process for the conflict between my Superego and my Id, my spirit and my body:

Incrementally decrease the treats in my diet until:

1.  I am able to eat within my caloric allotment and nutritional balance WITHOUT BEING MISERABLE
2.  I am satisfied with the intensity and sustainability of peace and energy that I feel in my relationships

Getting Out of Bondage

Before I knew all this I developed bad habits and was suffering in the Paradoxical Results of bondage.  Miserable place.  This is how I got out:

I learned/was taught (as a result of begging for help) all of the above
  • calculated the correct amount of calories and nutrients for my body and my goals for it
  • tracked my food everyday
  • return to it if I begin to deviate again
Developed a Para-Symbiotic Relationship with a trusted individual
  • replaced the pseudo source of peace/energy with a REAL SOURCE
  • SPENT AS MUCH TIME AS POSSIBLE with that Trusted Individual
Together we fought against that ID that was trying to take over the government inside of me instead of remaining in its more suitable position of deputy governor.
  • Was aware that my body still would crave the pseudo peace/energy for a while because it was accustomed to receiving its peace in that way.  But in time, and it took time, its sensors for real peace/energy rejuvenated.
  • Was aware that getting out was gonna hurt.  It wasn’t gonna be pleasant.
  • Didn't listen to the following:  “Just this once.  A little won’t hurt.  You’re overdoing your restrictions.  You're over your addiction and you are back in control.  That is what being balanced is all about--having a little sometimes.”
  • Because every single time I did listen to that, it roped me back into the addictive cycle and all its blood-sucking mentality.  And it took a herculean effort to get back out every time (3 Nephi 7:8).
I found someone who knows how to deal with me like this pretty well.  A Real Source.  A Trusted Individual.  His office hours are 24/7.  It took me a while to develop the intensity in the relationship I needed.  It's a journey to learn how to hear and feel him more rapidly.  He often communicates his peace and energy through some of his assistant Para-Symbiotic hosts.

Grant Von Harrison “Drawing On The Powers of Heaven”
Dean Hughes “The Cost of Winning”

Addison Road:  “Won’tLet Me Go”
Chris August: “Battle Part II”

Jefferson Starship: “Find Your Way Back”

Jim Dooley:  “ParallelUniverse” Note:  I have no idea about the video game this music was written for.  The music is amazing.
I am SO thankful to these "Para-Symbiotic Hosts"!!  In time I have become proficient enough to recognize HIS communication straight and rapidly which keeps me out of bondage.  I'm wholly comforted.  Every time.  And when he helps me to actually resolve the conflict, preventing me from getting into the same mess over and over again, the relationship incrementally develops from Para-Symbiotic to Symbiotic (Moroni 7:48).   The commitments he asks me to make are life-changing and keep my mind riveted on goals and purposes “so much bigger than me.”
Imogen Heap “Can’t Take It In”