Runner’s high no surprise to me
Many afternoons when I was at the gym I watched a young girl run around the track multiple times, then quickly move through rotations on all the weight equipment and then repeat the process. She looked like an addict in pursuit of a high. Now in a CNN article, it seems scientists have confirmed her experience as real.
I know most people who use exercise and run do so to be healthy, there are and always will be, those who have found what they consider to be a “positive addiction”. William Glasser wrote a book of that title back in the ‘70’s.
But anything that is used addictively is used to avoid something. If you are using running, work, exercise, sex, food, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, shopping, television, or anything else to “lift your mood” in an addictive way you are an addict.
The addictive process
What happens to us is that when we are hurting we think we can’t tolerate it. For whatever reasons, our upbringing or our fear, prevents us from realizing that pain is temporary and we think we have to stop it or we will feel this way forever. We feel like a Victim of something that is torturing us and we look for some way to Rescue ourselves from that pain. Of course, it doesn’t matter what that thing is that removes the pain for us, over time, that thing will end up hurting us. Therefore, we are in pain again, and because we are in pain and can’t see a way out, we once again look for something to medicate it. The process repeats itself over and over again.
Looking for Rescue
When we are in pain and someone offers us a way out, we generally will take it. This is part of my frustration with locking up drug addicts. These people are in pain and desperate for a way out. I recall the case of Karla Faye Tucker, a woman put to death in Texas in 1998. Karla was the daughter of a prostitute drug addict. Her mother had started her on drugs as a young girl and she had, like her mother, learned to use them to keep her pain at bay. When Karla was arrested for her part in a pick-ax murder, she had never been sober that she could recall. Once she was in jail she learned to manage her pain without drugs and became a model prisoner, helping other prisoners deal with life on the inside. The little girl who never knew any other way than drugs to deal with her life until she was in prison was put to death.
The importance of understanding the addiction cycle
In Texas alone (2005) the total of inmates serving time for possession of less than a gram is s: 4,846. The annual cost of incarceration is more than $12,000 per inmate — $59 million a year! The average time spent in prison for possession is 35 months. Then of course, having been convicted of a felon, they are unable to get an apartment, often unable to find work, and forced into a life of crime just to eat and find a way to live. All that money and time served for having possessed less than a gram of an illegal substance.
Now, of course, those of us who choose less illegal forms of addiction can rest on our laurels feeling confident that we are okay. But in fact we are no different than they are; we just chose a different way to manage our pain. Smarter perhaps, but not better for us in the long run. Running to avoid our pain does not make our lives any better than using cocaine to avoid it.
Why is pain so hard to face
Pain is hard to face for many reasons. Our bodies’ recoil at the idea of pain instinctively don’t they? We may have never seen anyone go through it and on a primitive level fear that it will kill us or make us insane. We may have been conditioned out of allowing the feelings up by parents or coaches or a society that tells us pain is bad and wrong. We may have been beaten out of our feelings. There are good reasons for us to carry this false belief about pain.
But all of us can learn to manage pain differently with patience and a lot of care and support from the people who love us. When we learn to do this, it changes everything. We can release the pain, and let ourselves feel not only pain, but joy.
You see, when you block pain, you block all the other feelings, too. Sure, you may have some feelings of enjoyment in your life if you are person who blocks your pain. But to have an experience of being fully alive and feel real joy and pleasure in being alive, you have to let yourself process through whatever pain you are Rescuing yourself from using whatever form of medication you prefer.
What is your addiction?
Do you have an addiction you prefer? Do you think its okay and positive? Or have you experienced the pain and found the pleasure of being alive? Tell me about it. Comment below.