Who Am I?

December 2, 2014

Outline of faceCountless individuals have no idea who they really are. In fact, many people go six feet under without having the foggiest notion. We live in such a fast pace world, and it becomes easy to lose ourselves in everything that is taking place around us. We focus on our school, career, children, or achieving greater financial wealth. When we are not surrounded by our work or other people, we are often connected to some sort of technological device. As a result we do not spend time with self and therefore, we do not take time to go within.
 
My definition of addiction is a way to escape a painful reality by living outside of self so that the individual does not have to go within. Last weekend I was working a night shift at the inpatient addiction treatment center. At 1:30 a.m. a female client abruptly entered my office, and it became clear that she was on a mission. “Can’t sleep?” I asked her.
 
“No.” She answered sharply. “I need you to search the meaning of my name on Wikipedia.” She told me more than she asked.
I smiled as I replied, “I can do that, but can I ask why?”
Here eyes saddened as she said, “Because I am trying to figure out who I am.”
 
Active addiction prevents an individual from knowing who they really are. In her case, further discussion revealed that she started using drugs at the young age of 15. Chronologically, she was now 24, but her drug use prevented herself from growing emotionally. She missed out on her wandering years preventing her from the opportunity to grow, and the opportunity to know herself. In the field of addictions we often refer to this as the Peter Pan syndrome.
 
Now, it is certainly not just individuals who struggle with an addiction that do not know who they are. Many people become stumped over this question when presented with this question. In my workshops I refer to an activity titled the “Whole Person Wheel”. This exercise forces people to start going within, and takes a look at 8 key areas.
 
My elder always tells me, “Slow down Al, just slow down.” When I actually apply his words, I find that I am able to enjoy the journey a lot more. I am able to remove my tunnel vision and actually see what is taking place all around me, and also what is taking place within.
 
Do you know who you are? I would strongly encourage you to hang out with yourself for a bit. Treat yourself to something nice; a bubble bath perhaps or just a good cup of coffee with your own company. Start enjoying your greatest companion: you.
 

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