As men over 40, we really shouldn’t have any addiction problems. We should have our act together by now… Not having control over ourselves is a young guys problem, right?
Actually, that’s wrong…
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, in the article Age Related Aspects of Addiction, “Research has shown that substance use, abuse and addiction are not limited to a specific age group.”
Addiction can afflict anyone at any time in their life. So, if you are struggling to get over an addiction, you’re not alone…
The point is that addiction can be a serious problem at any age…
But what is the real cause of addiction?
In an article by Johann Harl titled The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think from the Huffington Post, scientific studies done with rats show that the happier that you are about your life, the less prone you are to addiction…
It turned out that unhappy rats were many times more likely to become and continue to be, addicts…
Wow, even rats have feelings!
Another study in the article was about Vietnam Vets. Many Vets were addicted to heroine. But the majority of the veterans who came back to a happier, stable life got off the drug.
The whole reason why the Vets got hooked on drugs in the first place was because of the hell that they were having to go through… Makes sense, right?
So what is the lesson for us?
The main lesson is that people become addicted to some thing or behavior in order to cover up negative emotions and/or negative life circumstances. They could also become addicted because of low self-esteem or a feeling of hopelessness.
The point is that addiction is almost always the result of covering up negative emotion for one reason or another.
For us older guys, our negative emotion may stem from feelings like we aren’t far enough along in life. We may regret how we treated others in our past, or regret big decisions that we made. Or, we may simply start feeling down and depressed that we are getting older.
When you think about it, no wonder why older guys may struggle with addiction!
So, what are the best things that guys over 40 can do to stop addiction?
Let’s dive in…
Top Thing #1: Give Up Regret!
Life is short. We already know that. And most of us regret one thing or another from our past.
But wallowing around in the mire of your past and beating yourself up about it is the worst thing you could do. It’s completely counter-productive. It’s a total waste of time.
We all have done things in the past that we regret… But that’s part of life. That’s part of the journey. That’s par for the course of life!
So, give up regret! Give it up completely.
Top Thing #2: Be Present
Regret is negatively looking at the past. Fear is worrying about the future.
But being present is about learning how to live life in every wonderful, joyful moment…
The happiest people on the planet are those who have mastered living in the present moment. They take the time to enjoy living in the present moment, without regret for the past, or fear of the future.
Being present means truly connecting with and listening to others. It means looking at life through the eyes of source. It means looking at the glass half-full because seeing it that way feels better…
What’s a great tool to become more present?
Let’s cover that next…
Top Thing #3: Meditation
Meditation is one of the best ways to stop incessant negative thinking. And again, if you’re addicted to something, usually it’s negative thinking that is the root core cause.
By meditating, you stop thought. By stopping thought, you allow your intuition to more clearly speak to you. By listening to your intuition, you will lead a happier life…
It’s that simple!
The best time to meditate is in the morning so that you can get a good start to your day. 15 to 20 minutes is good. Get a timer, set it, close your eyes, and sit still. Listen to something mundane like a ticking clock or a fan. At some point, you may feel like you are floating or you may feel numb. That’s good. Stay still. Thoughts will come in but just let them go…
There are many benefits to meditation but the most important one is that it makes you feel better.
Top Thing #4: Assess the Damage, and Decide What You Want
One very effective thing to do in order to stop an addiction is to truly weigh in on it’s effect.
Get a sheet of paper out and draw a line down the middle. Then, write on the left side, “How this addiction is affecting my life.” And on the right side, write “What I Could Productively Be Doing Instead.”
On the left side, write down every single problem that the addiction is causing.
What problem is it causing in your relationships?
What problem is it causing financially?
What health problems is it causing?
Get clear as to how bad it is.
Next, on the right side, write down all of the positive things you would experience without the addiction.
Answer these questions:
How good would you feel about yourself without the addiction?
How much better would your relationships be?
What could you do with the extra time to improve your finances?
How much better would you feel physically?
Get clear with how much better your life will be…
Top Thing #5: Visualize Your Best Self
One very effective thing to do in order to allow your best self to shine through is to visualize your best self in your best life.
And the best times to do this is right after meditation.
Set your timer for 5 minutes to visualize your best self.
Close your eyes, and start to see your best self in your best life. If you can, whisper the words out loud so as to anchor the thought, vision and word. Here’s an example:
“I see myself, dressed to perfection, going about my day feeling great about myself. I see myself at work fully confident in myself, and interacting with everyone with energy and focus…”
In summary, addiction can afflict anyone at any time in their life. And the root cause of addiction is negative emotion. By addressing the negative emotion, and creating a happier life, we lessen the power of any addiction.
By giving up regret, becoming more present, meditating, assessing the damage, getting clear about what you want, and visualizing your best self, you can conquer any addiction…
Thanks for reading!