The opposite of addiction is connection – tribal support, lizard lady, and why JBL

Yes, there really is a woman called Lizard Lady

The intent of this article isn’t to define addiction, I’ll assume if you’re here reading this blog, you have a pretty good clue that pretty much all of us are addicted to something.

Some see addiction as a disease or a disorder. Maybe that’s true, but I see it more as a “dee-fense” (like the basketball chant) to meeting the disorienting and life-draining challenge of shame: Hard-core toxic shame. False shame. And shame due to having done something really shitty to someone else.

Shame doesn’t have to come from malignant parenting. It can come from simply being who you are in a culture that is too rigid about who / what will be accepted or rejected. Just witnessing who gets praised vs who gets told to shut up can create a knee-jerk response and a life-long childhood vow to stay “in the closet,” so to speak. This leads to: Isolating. Shutting down. Suppressing. Depressing. Addicting.

Here’s a weird example: I have met many an alcoholic who also “happens to be” extremely off the charts brilliant when it comes to experiencing their psychic nature.  To the point where they felt so “different” (due to seeing things, hearing things, knowing things without obvious reason), that they use alcohol to deflect / distract / disorient themselves or others from acknowledging their differences. Their inner experiences. Their authentic perceptions.

Maybe the alcohol helps them turn OFF the gift, maybe it helps them hide it from themselves, maybe it’s used to alienate themselves so they wouldn’t have to pretend around others, maybe it’s easier appear as out-of-control due to the alcohol rather than WEIRD due to their gift. Each one of these people, when I interviewed them, were shy and reluctant to admit their uniqueness. This makes complete sense to me.

I don’t know anyone who is immune to addiction of some sort. I’m certainly not! Addiction to control, addiction to perfection, addiction to pleasing, addiction to over-giving (I posted 3 blogs yesterday… HELLO!). Oh, I know these quite well! Lol! And our culture praises people for working hard, for being perfect, for being in control. So- here we are!

I created Joy-Based Living in order to generate healthy connection.

I created it for me. Not to mitigate addiction or end distraction. But to create a meaningful life and offer a worthy contribution using my unique set of gifts – and to inspire and show others how to do the same. O YEAH!!!!

At the heart of JBL is creating ongoing opportunities to develop healthy connections, in an atmosphere where each person is encouraged to strengthen their commitment to:

  • self-care (for authenticity and inner strength)
  • creativity (for one’s own joy)
  • contribution (for the larger world)

I can’t tell you how many times people have come out of their shame-based closets and how much courage it has taken for so many of us to let ourselves:

  • be seen – in our community
  • be heard – in our community
  • ask for support – in our community
  • breathe into the discomfort, take new actions, celebrate milestones, and do it again
  • make themselves more visible – in the world
  • make their voices louder – in the world
  • ask for support – in the world
  • breathe into the discomfort, take new actions, celebrate milestones, and do it again
  • repeat repeat repeat

Is this hard? HELL YES!!! AT TIMES, IT’S HARD AS FUCK!!!! That is the JOY of working-out together. Just like in a gym. But this isn’t a pink aerobics gym. It’s like Gold’s Gym for one’s best self, for one’s potential, for one’s self-actualization to grow and to thrive!!!

As each one of us experiences / generates an “upgrade”:

  • All of our little “lizard brains” get repeated evidence to keep making positive changes. That ancient protector needs to see: “Oh, it’s safe to be myself”, “Oh, no one died when I spoke up”, and “Oh, there I am hiding again, and that’s okay, too.”  (reference: “The lizard brain is the source of the resistance.” ~ Seth Godin. It’s the most primitive part of our brain, where the instincts that warn us of danger when it lurks reside.)
  • All of our modern “higher porpoise brains” (evolved brains) get to feel the experiences of transformation, connection, joy, thriving, being accepted exactly as we are. This state of being helps us to see possibilities for ourselves that the lizard brain couldn’t possibly see. It also gives us courage to actively contribute more to the world, which increases our sources of positive connection.

So… where abusive relationships use other humans as “supply” sources…. JBL relationships relate other humans as opportunities for connection.

This article isn’t meant to be an invitation to join the JBL community. In fact, I’m considering turning our community into “invitation/referral only.” We shall see.

This article also isn’t intended to tell you to stop your addictions. What I know for sure is that addictions have the highest likelihood of decreasing as you increase your daily experiences of healthy connection.

I want you to increase the quality and quantity of healthy connection in your life, and I want you to deepen, strengthen and supercharge your commitment to yourself about this.

If you make this your aim, the rest of what you need will flow right behind it. You’ll be putting a MOST IMPORTANT PRIORITY first. And when you do that, you are practicing self-care, self-compassion, self-healing and you will most definitely experience more JOY, which will surely ripple out into the world.

The JBL E-book can help you get started. In fact, I even included instructions for actually creating your own group, your own community. Why? Because you are worthy of your own TRUE TRIBE.

So, there.

Much love,

Happy D!

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