Excess vs. Balance
Have you ever wondered why doing “things” to the extreme feels so good? I have been an extremist my entire life. When I drink, I drink a lot and I get drunk, even when I know I should stop. When I am proud of myself for achieving something good, I eat and eat and eat. I will only stop when the restaurant runs out of food or when I am so miserable that I have no option other than to stop. When I go shopping I spend more money on stupid stuff that I don’t even need just to get some sort of rush or high. Even when I exercise, it’s all or nothing. One time I took off on a bike ride and didn’t make it home for 6 weeks. When my wife asked me where I had been I told her that I was, “in the zone”. Ironically, that was true. I use “excess” to escape the emotional pain because just feeling it wasn’t working.
I have found that the extremes provide me with something that balance can’t. When I am anxious, scared, angry or depressed, and I do something to the extreme, I feel better. It takes my mind off of the bad feelings that I am having. That temporary “relief” is so valuable that I am willing to ignore the long term consequences that may come with it. It allows me to be happy in the moment, even if it is short lived.
Now, rationally, I know balance is better. Believe me, I know it is better. I have had counselors, lawyers, nutritionist, doctors all telling me that everything is OK in moderation. Yeah right. I just want to tell them to shove their “balance” up their #*%! #….. It just isn’t that easy to stop using the one tool, that I know will work to make me feel better. Excessive behaviors have played a huge role in my emotional stability or instability for that matter.
As I have gotten a little older, I am starting to figure out that my body isn’t handling excess like it used to. My excessive drinking has caused some physical problems, my excessive eating is making me fat and my excessive spending has cost me a marriage and my retirement plan.
The sad part is that I have never really learned how to be happy without my escape. Now, I am 50 years old and I am trying to figure out what I have been running from. I now am starting to understand that I am enough, just the way I am. I don’t have to impress anyone else or be anything other than who I am. It is ok for me to be sad, it is ok for me to be mad and it is ok for me to fail.
I now have a new obsession. It is me. I am no longer using excessive behaviors to escape or to feel better. I am learning skills that help me to be happy with the whole me. It has been an interesting ride. I am learning that I have always been trying to escape, when in reality, I have just wanting to be found.
To learn a bit more about Jeff, click here.
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