Getting to the Root of Addictions
Jan 18, 2021
Yesterday, a guy spent nearly 4 minutes telling me, “Bob, you are as far away from Jesus as you can possibly get.“
I’m glad the guy told me this because it gives you and me a chance to talk about something that has led to more:
- domestic violence
- and stupid decisions
… than just about anything else on the planet.
This very “something” is the reason most of our clients have been stuck in compulsive behaviors for DECADES (from people pleasing to angry outbursts to full-on addictions).
It can be boiled down to 4 and a half words —
YOU’RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH
Whether people intend this or not, that is the message that comes across loud and clear every time someone arrogantly decides that they know what Jesus does and does not approve of or would or would not do.
It didn’t start there.
So many kids grow up ALREADY believing this because their parents, friends, and other kids said things like:
Or they were ignored, teased, abused or bullied into believing that there must be something wrong with them.
Otherwise, people would treat them better, right?
And then along come these HUGE well-meaning adults tossing Jesus’s name into the mix saying things like:
“Would Jesus be happy with you right now?”
“You’re a sinner, and God can’t stand sinners.”
“If you don’t repent (whatever that means to a kid), you’ll end up in hell.”
What do you think the kids are going to start believing about themselves when everywhere they look the world seems to be telling them they are a mistake?
It’s not like they have the capacity to reason through those statements and see them in a way that isn’t accusatory and damaging.
They’re kids for crying out loud!
You’ve tried to reason with kids, right?
When has that EVER worked?
(You’ve probably even tried to reason with many adults, and it hasn’t worked)
So those kids grow up with a FEELING — a feeling that there’s somehow something wrong with them.
That for some reason they can’t figure out, they’re just not good enough…
… and everyone (including God) knows it.
Then those kids grow up to be you and me.
And the feeling or worry about messing up or being exposed as a disappointment just kind of hangs in the background making a cameo appearance every time life gets tough. (not for every kid, no, but for MILLIONS of them, yes)
And the shame and worry and guilt and fear and stress build up on the inside.
Every time something goes wrong, that little voice inside seems to scream,
“See! You’re not good enough!”
“See! There’s something wrong with you!”
“See! Nobody loves you!”
Even little things set it off…
forgetting the keys? “I’m such an idiot!”
low score on a test? “I’m just not that smart”
electronics go haywire right when you need them? “Nothing ever works out for me”
short text message from someone you care about? “I should have said something different. What is WRONG with me?!?!”
nobody smiles when you walk in the door today? (“Nobody cares about me or wants me around.”)
All from a belief… a FEELING that started when young and never got released because you can’t talk your way out of a belief like that.
Dismantling those core beliefs about yourself and the world takes a different kind of work…
… work that most professionals have never heard about or been trained in, let alone most parents.
So they pass on their own fears to their children in the most well-meaning ways.
To be clear, this isn’t anyone’s fault.
Apart from the few genuinely malicious bullies that might be out there, everyone is literally doing their best to find peace and love and joy and to pass that on to their kids.
- Some people use accomplishments and achievements to do that.
- Others use family time and affection.
- Others use words of affirmation.
- Others use spiritual practices like meditation, yoga, or mindfulness.
- Others use religion and an identity in God.
But no matter what you use, the minute you decide to be the judge of another person (or even yourself) —
even if there is love in your heart and you are trying to help — the message that often gets heard is this:
“I love you, and you’re just not good enough as you are.”
THAT is the reason I have a job.
Because hundreds of men and women have grown up feeling like there’s something wrong with them.
They have been using sex and food and drugs and pills and cussing and road rage and adrenaline and all sorts of things to try and escape that feeling with only temporary success.
And even though, intellectually, they know it doesn’t make any sense… in their heart it still feels true.
I WAS you. And it doesn’t have to stay that way. Once you know how to reverse engineer that feeling, it doesn't affect you anymore.
To those who don’t struggle with this:
If you somehow got into the habit of judging other people (for whatever reason), may I ask you kindly to stop?
- and all sorts of other things
… can literally end if every child has a chance to grow up without feeling like a disappointment or a failure.
… and if everyone who DOES feel that way can finally be free of it.
I know a way to help with that. So if you know someone who could use that kind of help, please share this with them.
There’s no need to prolong the suffering.
Bob “You’ve Always Been Good Enough and There's Never Been Anything Wrong With You” Gardner
PS — to the man who sent me that message, thank you! If Jesus really IS in all and through all things (including this brain and body of mine), then you are right —
I really AM as far away from him as I can possibly get… never more than a molecule away.