“From Hiccups to Potholes”
We all love to pursue happiness in our lives. We love to do things that bring us joy and pleasure. We as Americans often refer to this fundamental right mentioned in the Declaration of Independence as an expression of freely pursuing joy and happiness in things, as long as we don’t do anything that is illegal or violate the rights of our fellow citizens. The same can be expressed in many different arenas, whether it is a career, a place to build a house, entertainment, a vacation, or where to dine.
Even in our personal lives, we can pursue many different pleasures from shopping, food, internet, alcohol, exercise, gambling and so forth. Most of the aforementioned pleasures can bring us relief and happiness when done in moderation.
However, occasionally these activities can get out of control and become obsessive to the point that we suffer consequences with detrimental effects. If we shop, stay on the internet or exercise too much so that it is getting out of control and affecting our personal life and relationships, this should be a “red flag” to indicate that something needs to change. Drinking too much alcohol, chronic use of anxiety medications, eating too much and excessive gambling can have dire consequences. Sometimes we can ask for help from others and receive counseling to reverse the detrimental effects of these “hiccups”.
” …this should be a “red flag” to indicate that something needs to change.”
However, often times we as people are slow to ask for assistance and remain in denial. One common denominator is that we know something is wrong. We feel uneasy, miserable and start feeling a sense of hopelessness and bondage. Our once enjoyable “pursuit of happiness” has now ended up in a “pothole”. We are stuck. We are in a rut. We can’t seem to change, even when we use our willpower. We shop too much in stores or on the internet. We eat too much and too often even when we aren’t hungry. We spend hours on the internet when we were ordering/checking on just “one thing”. We drink too much to the point of leaving our car at a bar or restaurant and calling an Uber to get home, or worse, we blackout. We exercise to excess to where our bodies are needing it to feel normal. We are unable to pay our bills or even go to work due to gambling too much to make ends meet.
” … common denominator is that we know something is wrong.”
Sound familiar? Maybe not to some but to others you may be in the throes of one of these situations. During everyone’s life we have hiccups that often times we can manage and move on. But sometimes the potholes become too deep and paralyzing to move forward in your life. Sometimes we need to humble ourselves and ask for help! We were made to be dependent on each other, not independent. We need each other. Together, people make change happen. Remember, change is not a matter of willpower. Real change begins with asking for help. People who drink too much often say that if they had enough willpower they could control their drinking. They see drinking too much as the problem but I remind them that drinking is not the problem, but the solution in their lives.The problem is themselves. They need the kind of help that only comes from others.
” …but I remind them that drinking is not the problem, but the solution in their lives. The problem is themselves.”
If you can identify with concerns surrounding excessive shopping, food, alcohol or other drugs, exercise or gambling, please consider contacting help at the following:
- The Well-being Program in your state where information can be found through your state dental society.
- American Dental Association: (312-440-2500). Go to: success.ada.org/Wellness/Work Life Balance/Login to see a plethora of information concerning these issues.
“Sometimes we need to humble ourselves and ask for help!”
These are excellent resources for help and guidance to help you navigate out of your “pothole” back to your life and passions. Remember, you don’t have to continue living the way of excess and despair. Until next time. Bill