I used to pray for a small enough car accident in which no one got hurt, but my car would need work and I’d get out of the office for a day.
No Addiction Is Ever as It Seems
I’ve heard people say “the problem is never the problem.” No addiction is ever as it seems. In terms of my drug and alcohol addictions, the problem was an inability to cope with the realities of life: The smell of springtime, the first fireflies of summer, all of Earth’s elements struck me with the desire to drink and use. If avoiding “people, places, and things” was going to work for me, I’d have had to relocate to a new, less intense planet.
Instead of avoiding life, I had to learn new skills to deal with it. I had to have new thoughts. I had to create new neural pathways that made my hand reach for my phone instead of a bottle. I learned to share openly and honestly about the way I felt instead of shoving my feelings down. The root of my drug and alcohol addictions was a fear of being open and vulnerable. By facing that fear, my need to drink and use dissipated. The problem was never the substances themselves.
Through this process, I learned that I had other problems, with their own underlying problems! I learned that I am also a sex and love addict. Orgasms were never the problem. Sleeping with a married man is ethically unsound, but really wasn’t it more on him than on me? He’s the one who’s married! Morally wrong or not, the weight of the disgust I had for my actions brought me to my knees once again, wherein I learned the real problem: intimacy.
After working on my intimacy issues, I uncovered another problem:
I was staying in a job that I hated, and it was making me miserable both in and out of the workplace.
When Your Job Negatively Affects Your Health
Most of us have seen Office Space. The truth in life is that most people have to work, except for a few kids with trust funds who never seem all the better for it. But what happens when our work is affecting us negatively? How do we confront this beast while keeping a roof over our heads?
Working itself is obviously not the problem. Working provides us with money for our homes, our families, our needs and hopefully some wants. Having a strong work ethic is a good thing. The name of the game at this level of recovery is self-worth, and not even so much in terms of money. Money comes and money goes, but how you value yourself, your time, your health, your emotions, and your priorities should remain constant.
Pay close attention to the way you feel when you wake up in the morning on a workday. Are you looking forward to it? I used to pray for a small enough car accident in which no one got hurt, but my car would need work and I’d get out of the office for a day. It’s so obvious to me now that that was another subtle form of insanity. I thought everyone felt that way. I thought the daily grind was supposed to make you miserable, because if it wasn’t miserable, how would you be able to commiserate with people, and if you couldn’t commiserate with people, what would you even talk about?
I had no idea that personal development, self-care, growth, fulfillment, and joy could be a part of a career path, or anything my friends would want to talk about. I realize now that constant complaints about hating work are boring, and banter about projects that light us up are a welcomed breath of fresh air.
If you are stuck in the wrong job, your inner dialogue probably sounds something like the following:
“I need this job. I’m not really good at anything. I’ve been here a while. I’m not qualified to do anything. I hate my boss, but where else am I going to go? Ugh, today sucks. I’m so over today. I bleeping hate this place.”
How to Change Your Life
If you want to make a change, you can, but it will require work, introspection, courage, faith, and, initially, some pain. The following steps got me out of a job I hated and onto a career path meant for me:
- Meditate every morning. Listen to your inner monologue from the witness seat. Hear the sounds around you and feel your full feelings as they bubble up in your body.
- Set an intention to check back into this quiet part of you three times during the workday. Set alarms on your phone to do it. Ask yourself, “Do I feel healthy? Does my body need anything? Am I happy?”
- Write a letter to your boss. Don’t give it to them, but write it. Write all the things you’ve never said but always wanted to, and read it every night for one week.
- Decide how you want to feel. For example, I wanted to feel respected, confident, creatively free, relaxed, and motivated. Decide how you want to feel and assess if your needs are met in your current workplace. (For help figuring out how you want to feel, I recommend The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte)
- Journal. After you’ve gotten used to morning meditation, add journaling afterward as part of your morning ritual.
- Set a date—one that intuitively speaks to you, and on that day, write down what you really want. No limits, no judgment, no fear. Maybe you want to be able to work from home and raise a family. Maybe you want to be able to travel the world while you work. Maybe you want better health benefits and more beneficial perks. Whatever it is, get it down on paper.
- Let go. Affirm that the Universe has heard you, that it is an active forcefield of energy and working on your behalf. Create a ritual to do this. If you pray, say it in prayer. Write it down and burn it. Write it down and stick it under your pillow. Speak it out loud to an understanding friend. Whatever resonates with you, do it.
- Follow the clues. Signs will appear. You will be inspired to take actions that may seem crazy, weird, or out of your natural rhythm— you should probably take them anyway. I know you’ve heard that the magic happens outside of your comfort zone, and now is the time to get uncomfortable. For support in taking scary leaps of faith, I recommend reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, by Mark Manson.
- Listen to “9 to 5” by Dolly Parton. Sing it in your car at the top of your lungs. Actually, forget that—sing it at karaoke. This one’s not just for fun—singing and dancing release your heart vibes into the world and create feel-good chemicals in your brain. Plus, at karaoke, you’ll be uncomfortable, confirming your commitment to 8. Go. Sing.
- Continue following the clues and report back. Keep us posted. This process may take days, weeks, months, or years, but set it in motion now and see where you’re at in one year, five years, and ten years. Remember—the best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.