April idiosyncrasy #657:
I have an addictive personality. If I find something I love, I tend to overindulge, to the point where it becomes an obsessive addiction. For example, if I hear a song I like, I’ll play that song hundreds and hundreds of times back to back; recently it’s been Marsha Ambrosius’ “Lose Myself”. If I taste a food that I like, I’ll literally find a way to have that food as much as possible, and in some instances every day (my new kick is key lime pie). I can’t explain this pathology, but I CAN say that for the most part, this piece of my life has never really been an issue, and certainly not one people notice unless you REALLY know me. I’ve come to learn that having an addictive personality can and HAS served as a GREAT trait to have when it involves things that build me up, such as being obsessive with really AMAZING gospel songs, or absolutely being addicted to foods like bananas and coconut water. In these instances, the items that I overindulge in are things that inevitably have a good impact on me. However, as you can imagine, this personality type can be HUGELY detrimental when it comes to hobbies that are bad for us in excess, which brings me to the heart of my very transparent piece today (I appreciate Ify, and the other ladies for always being so open and encouraging me to do the same).
Anyone who knows me knows that I tend to be very introverted and incredibly introspective, replenishing my energy by being alone and reflecting by myself. In this way of life, I’ve grown to enjoy valuable time alone and have come to really LOVE my own company. When I started my first year of teaching a few years ago, I would literally come home every day completely drained and non-functioning which eventually led me on a search for something to help me relax and de-stress. For my peers, this would mean going out several days of the week, socializing, drinking, and just spending time with colleagues who could share in the sentiments of what you were going through in the very high-stressed environment of teaching in a low-income community. This, for me, was NEVER an option, as socializing always proves to be more depleting for an introvert than it is relaxing. So my answer was to simply be home, alone, with a nice glass of sweet red wine. I would come home, throw my bags on the couch, and head to my kitchen for the stress-reliever that I needed before diving into even more afternoon/evening work. As I transitioned in my career, and picked up an even more stressful job, my drink of choice got a little stronger. If you follow me on my very open twitter page, you’ve likely seen me casually tweet about my favorite mixed cocktails or my go-to guy, Jack. While I can definitely say I am super careful with my drinking habits, especially because I’ve seen alcoholism in my family for a very long time, I DO understand the possibility of it becoming an addiction, a habit that will be VERY hard to work through. So for that reason, I have shared this for all of those who may be walking this tightrope no matter what your addiction may be or the degree to which you may be struggling. I was convicted to write this after a conversation with my sister who told me about a sermon my pastor recently preached on giving up alcohol. While I’m not quite sure where “the church” (whoever that may be lol) stands on the matter of drinking (my uncertainty comes because I’ve literally HEARD IT ALL BEFORE, everything from Christians shouldn’t consume alcohol to the good ol’ fashioned sermon of Jesus drank wine) what I DO know is what the Bible says in verses such as Ephesians 5:18 which offers, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit…” or Proverbs 20:1 which warns, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.”
I suppose I’ve always tried to justify these verses by telling myself that Christians can in fact enjoy a drink, but not in excess, because too much of something good is usually bad. While this justification has always worked for me, I suppose today I was forced to question my “need” for drinking in the first place. Like, why do I feel like I need a drink every time I have a stressful day at work? I mean there have literally been days where I would work at my church on Sunday’s for a good 7 hours straight (Yall already know I’m an usher for a pretty large church in an urban community) and I would leave feeling so drained, stressed, and severely uptight because let me tell yall… CHURCH FOLK??? LAWDDDDD, we can be difficult to serve lol. So what would I do? Come home and POUR IT UP- Yes, on the Lord’s Day!!! I reflect on these instances with humor, but it’s really not funny. All of this to say, today I really began thinking about the root of it all and when I dig deep, I started to understand that I am trying sooo incredibly hard to find a peace and stillness to the craziness of my life, that I’ve been using alcohol as that temporary fix. And to be quite honest, that temporary fix has been enough for me, I mean, let’s face it, IT WORKS. Alcohol relaxes me, it allows me to de-stress and escape the sometimes harsh realities of life. But I’m reminded as soon as that bottle is gone that it’s just that, TEMPORARY. Because I’ve seen alcohol addiction first hand, I know that the natural progression is to go harder when your temporary relief no longer works and I am NOT about that life, so I choose to nip this in the bud NOW before it gets to a point where professionals need to step in. MAN O MAN am I thankful that I know a God who has the fix I seek, a God who gives us an eternal peace that surpasses all understanding, a God who promises His children the fruits of the spirit including, “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
So as of this week I’ve decided to rethink this whole alcohol bit, yes even wine :::cries a little bit:::. starting with a month-long fast, with the eventual hope of giving it up for good. While I don’t think this will be particularly hard, especially because I’ve already explained that I am not quite in the addiction phase, I do know that when we declare something in the Lord, the enemy rears its ugly head to test that declaration, so I simply ask for you all to keep me lifted. I’m a teacher by trade and so you guys and gals know I’m going to leave you with practical next steps lol. For those treading the path of working through a bad habit or full blown addiction, the six things I recommend thinking/acting through include:
- Get to the root of your “why”. What is it that you are trying satisfy with whatever bad habit you have?
- Figure out what GOOD habit you can replace this bad habit with…and pray on it.
- Be very aware of the people around you, and ask God to remove bad influences.
- Have an accountability partner, someone who has been successful in conquering the same bad habit you are working through, and set clear expectations of their role in your life, whether that is weekly check-ins, weekly prayer, or whatever you may need.
- Journal your journey, and reflect.
- Forgive yourself if and when you fall. Don’t dwell on your failure, but get back on the horse and re-commit.
:::Exhales:: Love yall and I am SOOOO appreciative of your support.
Catch you next week,