We’re all on the addiction scale, it’s just where we sit on it. How well we regulate stress is a big indicator of that. If you’d like a bit of intel about addiction and how to deal with it, read on…

Why is it that one person can go to the bar on a Friday night, have two beers and go home and another person can’t stop inhaling the beers until they’re slurring, stumbling and someone has to carry them home?

Short answer – addiction.

Addiction is a spectrum and every single one of us is on the spectrum, it just depends where.

If we say someone at one on a spectrum has negligible addictive behaviors and someone at ten has highly addictive behaviours, let’s talk about what that looks.

At ten we might have someone who is homeless, on hard drugs and selling their body for sex to get money, they’re at the worst end of the spectrum – the high end.

Somewhere in the middle of the spectrum you’ve got people who like to go shopping a lot, they can’t put down their phone and maybe are a smoker too.

The major difference between those two people is their brain, but more importantly how their brain developed.

The importance of brain development

How the brain develops in our early life determines where on the addiction spectrum we sit in later life.

One of the most important functions that parents have is to make sure kids know the difference between what is safe and what is not.

On top of that is their ability to show you how to regulate when you feel unsafe or are feeling stressed. One example of this is showing you when you’re in pain you can breathe through it and stay calm.

So many parents are not aware of this and it’s just so important to allow young kids to grow into healthy functioning individuals versus highly addicted ones. Why are we all not taught this?

Most people, in general, have no idea how to regulate stress, my parents included. As a result the first time someone with a dopamine imbalance in their brain gets a shot of tequila, or has a line of coke, or alcohol or smokes something, their brain then gets a rush of dopamine and for the first time in their life they feel normal.

If you are unconscious to your addictive patterns it is a recipe for disaster.

The best way that you can work with anyone that has obvious addictive behaviors is to introduce them to self regulating or breathing techniques.

Some of us were never taught self regulation techniques or behaviours in our early lives and as a result our brains developed in a way that taught us to use certain addictive behaviors, or even substances, to feel better instead.

But if you have a high level of addiction, when does it get to a point where you realise this sh*t doesn’t make me feel good. It gives me a temporary fix but it doesn’t actually make me feel good. It’s not sustainable.

That’s when you start to realize that the only way you’re ever going to find total fulfillment is not by looking for something external, or an addictive quick hit behavior, that’s outside of you.

It’s by working on the stuff inside of you that brings you the, ‘I’m okay, everything will be okay’, hit.

Fulfillment is inside of you.

Hope that helps!

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Kerwin Rae