Addictive Thinking: Instant Gratification

May 3, 2010 — 2 Comments

In Addiction Recovery we must learn to get rid of the addictive thinking which tells us that instant gratification is the only kind of gratification we want or need. Have you ever heard of the saying “Time takes time”?

In this world we are so used to expecting everything RIGHT NOW that anything else seems unacceptable. This is where addicts can run into problems. We want to feel good now. If that isn’t occurring by itself then we would usually take some sort of mood altering substance to guarantee instant results.

My need for instant gratification was just as strong as any other addicts. The best example I can give of this is when I have cravings to use. I start to feel completely uncomfortable and the urge seems overwhelming…until it passes.

When I was actively addicted to Oxycontin I used to combat a craving by using. Sure, that got rid of the craving but it would push me further and further down into my addictive life. So for this scenario I found that instant gratification was no longer an option.

When starting in addiction recovery, waiting for a craving to pass was probably one of the first times in my life that I did not seek out instant gratification. I would get a craving and I would actually weigh out my options. Sure, I could get rid of the craving by taking some sort of mood altering substance which would then go against everything that I have been working towards and possibly lead me right back to the horrible addictive cycle I just got out of…or I could wait and see what happens.

I obviously chose the latter. I waited… and you know what? The bad feeling went away. Not only did I feel good again, I felt great because I had used good judgment and I had stood my ground against my addictive thinking. So even though my gratification was not instant, it was better than what it would have been if I had given into my craving.

After finding out that instant gratification isn’t always the right answer, I started to apply this to other scenarios in my life. I credit this for making me a much calmer and more easy going person. If more people, addicts or not, would try and cut down on their need for instant gratification I think that people as a whole would benefit.

It’s AWE…wait for it, wait for it…SOME. See waiting wasn’t so bad.

2 responses to Addictive Thinking: Instant Gratification

  1. When I catch myself doing this I call it “thinking like an alcoholic”, and for me the desire for instant gratification begs me to drop projects mid-stride for lack of results. When I think like an alcoholic I always think there is something better that I am missing out of, something quicker and more rewarding to be had.

    I am sure that people who don’t suffer from addictions have these types of thoughts also, but the endgame results for us alcoholics and addicts can be so much more traumatic. Always jumping from one project to another means nothing is ever finished. No finished projects means no rewards. No rewards lead to frustration, stress, and depression. For an average person this just means a crappy day, but for us it often leads to relapse.

  2. With my previous comment I am not saying that we are fragile, in fact, I am saying that the constant guard we must keep against our addictions can empower us to some great achievements.

    This is what I mean by a “discovering alcoholic”.

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