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Using an Addictive Mindset to Fuel Healthier Goals

Using an Addictive Mindset to Fuel Healthier Goals

If you’re in recovery for addiction, or even if you’re just trying to cut down on unhealthy habits, it’s hard to turn off your obsessive, addictive mindset. You don’t have to. Use it to fuel healthier goals.

In a recent episode of The Darin Olien Show,

I sat down with my friend Rich Roll, world-renowned ultra-endurance athlete, author and host of The Rich Roll Podcast. Rich has always been very open about his alcoholism, and our conversation was no exception. 

Like a lot of kids, Rich dealt with bullying and isolation quite a bit in his younger years. It’s that, he says, that led to being so attracted to drinking in his late teen years. “When you take somebody who is socially awkward and introverted, and have that kind of childhood trauma or wounding, then you introduce a mind-altering substance, it’s like magic. I had a very visceral feeling of relief,” he explained.

But even with kicking the habit and beginning recovery, his addictive mindset was there to stay. “I am at my core an obsessive, driven, addictive mindset person, and there are things that I can do to deregulate that and live in a more balanced way, but fundamentally that is part of who I am, so channeling that in healthier solutions is part of my solution,” Rich told me.

Channeling the Addictive Mindset

Having an addictive, obsessive personality is not necessarily a bad thing. Those are the kinds of people that read a lot, that listen well, that throw themselves full-throttle into a project or plan. But if you’re in recovery for drug or alcohol addiction, you have to find other ways to channel that way of thinking and existing, so you don’t fall back into old impulses.

For Rich, he channeled his addiction to health and fitness. For some people, that can be problematic. But for Rich, it completely changed his life. You don’t have to channel your addictive mindset towards health per se, just something that is healthier for you.

Maybe you channel your mindset to your work, your hobby or your ambition. The point is to channel it towards less destructive habits and tendencies.

Recognize What An Accomplishment Recovery Is

Recovery is a process, and it looks different for everyone. But you have to realize what a monumental achievement you’ve reached just by being there. As Rich so perfectly stated, “The default state of the alcoholic is to drink, so it’s not baffling when they do it. What’s baffling is that day after day, they don’t do it.”

You’re going to have setbacks, you’re going to make mistakes. But you’re doing this mind-blowingly amazing thing every day by not falling back on those destructive habits. It’s hard work, and you continue to do it day after day, hour after hour, and minute after minute. That’s a big freaking deal. Celebrate that. Be proud of that.

Forgive Yourself for the Past

We’ve all done some pretty shitty things in our lives, not just addicts—the only way to grow and evolve as a person to forgive yourself for those mistakes. You can’t move forward if you’re constantly looking backward, so stop.

“Every man is correct from his perspective. And if you backtrack somebody’s life back to its origin story, it’s very hard to judge the decisions that they’ve made,”

Rich says. There are reasons and motives for every bad move, you have to learn from those moves and pivot to more constructive directions.

Just getting this far is a significant testament of how hard you want to change, so keep riding that wave. 

To listen to my full conversation with Rich Roll, click here.

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