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The reason anxiety is responsible for the creation of most addictions

Addiction is a powerful word, that quite honestly, I'm sick of hearing. I'm sick of hearing it abused with topics like video gaming, porn, exercise, social media, sugar, etc without second thought of whether it's really an addiction or not. Can those things be addicting, heck yes, but not universally. Sadly, 'addiction' quickly becomes a label and an Everest to climb over. It becomes the focal problem to change, and you know what...usually it isn't the problem at all. I'll try and explain. 

Very simply, anxiety is the exaggerated anticipation of something to be feared (going to the mountains and all you think about is a bear). When we fear something, what do we do? We avoid it. Mathematically it's like this: Thoughts + Fear = Anxious Avoidance. The reason anxiety becomes dysfunctional is when our avoidance becomes so chronic, we aren't accomplishing what is expected (we never go camping 😢 ). 

Now, does video gaming, pornography, sugar, social media, netflix (tv in general), sports (my wife said I had to write sports 😐 ) sound like things that could be used as a tool to avoid...? Absolutely, right? And if we used one of these things to avoid...say...everyday...could it become an addiction...? Absolutely. And if said 'avoidant hobby' became so frequently used, that it really could be called an addiction, is said hobby the problem that needs to be focused on...? NO!!! 

Do the math: Thoughts + Fears = Avoidant Hobby (porn, sugar, video gaming, etc). If we eliminate the hobby, it still leaves the fears (hidden deep below, where parents and usually the person doesn't know exists) and the thoughts are always there because our brain doesn't know how not to think. What do people always say..."stop one addiction and another one is created," well this why. Here is my cheesy business prompt, if our Motyv's (fears) aren't dug out, they will keep creating the same behaviors.

For parents reading this whose child is preparing for a mission, the real problem I see with what I just wrote about is this. The mission is becoming the catalyst exposing the deep seeded fears, the missionary is stripped of all habitual coping mechanisms (avoidance behaviors) like friends, gaming, porn, family, sugar, social media, etc, and they then become super anxious and avoidant of the very thing they have been preparing for their whole lives. 

WE HAVE TO CHANGE THIS BEFORE THEY LEAVE!!! You, as parents, have to get honest about your own avoidance and let us help you change it. Our avoidance is killing us as a society. We are far more capable than our anxiety is telling us we are. It's got to change. 

Best, Shayden

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