There’s a tonne of research to back up the theory that addiction is not a substance use disorder – but a social one. This ties into the definition of addiction itself, and what the opposite of addiction actually is.

The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. The opposite of addiction is connection.

Having real, one-on-one, flesh and blood connections with other human beings, in meaningful and honest ways is the actual cure for addiction. Developing reasons to get out of bed in the morning that connect you with purpose and pride, whether it’s a job you love or a person you can’t live without – that’s the soul-fulfilling connection a lot of addicts need in order to leave substance abuse behind.

And it’s hard.

It’s hard because we live in a society that is saturated with ideals of perfection. From Instafamous strangers to Facebook friendquaintances (I just made that word up, and I like it) every waking moment of our lives, our senses are overwhelmed by images and stories of everyone else’s successes, perfectly curated so only the pretty parts show.

And here we are, broke-down and falling apart with so much “wrong with us” that we want to make right, wondering what the hell our problem is and wondering why we can’t get out shit together like everyone else.

It feels like you arrived to the party underdressed and uninvited.

Well, here’s a newsflash: There is nothing wrong with you.

Let me repeat.

There is Nothing. Wrong. With. You.

We’ve come to a point where “things sucking” no longer has anything to do with circumstance, but instead we believe it has everything to do with us.

If things suck, it has to be because we suck.

We believe that things in our life suck because we aren’t good enough. We haven’t tried hard enough. We don’t want it enough. We aren’t worthy enough, skinny enough, smart enough or pretty enough.

The word “enough” used to mean sufficient, adequate, ample and plentiful. We’re now in a world where enough is no longer ever enough.

We measure our worth in comparison to the curated perfection of complete strangers and wonder why we end up feeling inadequate. And it’s these feelings of inadequacy that stall our relationships. They make us underperform at work, in our marriages, our friendships, and in actively participating in our very own lives.

When our lives don’t look just like the unsucky lives of everyone we see on social media (and tv, movies, magazines, billboards…) it’s easy to feel disconnected, and most definitely not good enough. We isolate and withdraw, turning to self-sabotage and connecting with what we know best – drinking or whatever poison feeds our addiction. We turn to whatever feeds our primal need to feel connected and whatever makes our feelings of inadequacy fall to the wayside, at least for a little while.

Life sucks, and then it gets better, and then it sucks again…

If the opposite of addiction is in fact connection, then that would make addiction itself the same as disconnection. We disconnect from people and situations, we disconnect from our true selves, and we disconnect from accepting the reality that sometimes yes, life sucks, and there isn’t anything we can do about it.

We don’t do it consciously, but we also don’t absorb the destructive ideas that we’re not good enough consciously, either. It all happens without us noticing, until things to start suck even more, and the cycle repeats. We repel the idea that it’s okay for things to suck sometimes, that it’s okay to be struggling or stumbling, because we’re told we aren’t good enough if our lives aren’t tied up nicely into a perfect bow.

When our lives don’t match the glossy ones we are being force-fed non-stop every day it’s easy to ask yourself: what is wrong with me? And, when you start having thoughts like that, it’s just easier to drink and make those uncomfortable feelings you don’t have answers to go away. It’s easier to get drunk than to accept the possibility that maybe, just maybe, there’s actually nothing wrong with you.

Maybe there’s something wrong with the image we’ve been sold of what our lives should look like: shiny, flawless and definitely without any sucky parts.

Being famous on Instagram is like being rich in Monopoly

It was my habit of refusing to accept the sucky parts of my life that drove me to drink in excess. The more I refused to accept that sometimes things just suck, the suckier things became. I made a career out of trying to drown out the shitty parts with bottles of wine instead of embracing them as part of the unpredictable, wonderful experience of being alive. Since my life seemed to be as far as humanly possible from the scale of success I adopted was brainwashed into believing, I defaulted to assuming I was forever flawed, and that was that.

I forfeited so many years of my life to drinking, because I felt I didn’t know how to “do life” quite right, in comparison to everyone else, regardless of how hard I tried.

What we forget to remember, and what we are rarely told, is that sometimes life just sucks, and that’s okay. What is not okay is believing that because some things may suck, that means we suck, too.

Sometimes the hands we’re dealt are actually pretty shitty. Sometimes we make bad choices that in turn can make our lives suck even more for a little while. It’s the inevitability of being alive: things will suck. Things will never be perfect.

Our job is to make it work anyways. 

It’s not only our job – it is our life’s work. It’s in the lining up of all those days of “making it work anyways” that add up to a life well lived, instead of a life well avoided.

Clinging to the social-media induced ideal that we aren’t allowed to be beautifully imperfect is the cornerstone of 21st century addiction. Suffering is a human condition – unchangeable and inevitable, and even the Instafamous and curated Facebook friendquaintances experience suffering in their lives, every single day.

Here’s the truth. Sometimes life does suck. Sometimes other people will do really sucky things that will make your life suck in return. Sometimes we’re actually the person doing the thing that sucks, and we make other people’s lives suck as a result.

And what sucks most, is owning the shame that comes with believing that because things in life sometime suck, we do, too.

Trying to remove the suck from your life (or drowning it in booze) will forever and always only cause more feelings that everything sucks. Putting your life on hold until things stop sucking is the same as saying you’re never going to do it. Embrace the suck, because it’s as much a part of being human as the air we breathe.

You can take all of this as the most depressing thing you’ve ever read, or you can take it as an inspiring and freeing way of looking at everything – starting with everyone and everything you see on social media.

You can allow yourself to embrace the sucky parts of life instead of hiding from them. You can admit to yourself that there is nothing wrong with you. What is wrong is our inability to allow the sucky parts of our life to shine, because I believe that’s where we’ll find the honest and true connections we’re seeking, in others.

Human connections are deeply nurtured in the field of a shared story.
– Jean Houston

Let go of comparing your life (however unconsciously) to the lives of strangers and friendquaintances. Stop clinging to ideals that in no way serve you. And most of all, find peace and balance with the sucky parts of your life. Don’t immerse yourself in them, but also stop pretending they don’t exist.

Accept the sucky parts, stop trying to control them, and stop defining yourself by them.

Suck happens.

If we all wore our challenges on our sleeves – instead of our accomplishments – what a beautifully supportive and humble world we’d live in.

Find your tribe.

Surround yourself with people who see that stumbling and trying is more beautiful and inspiring than perfection ever could be. That’s the only place – in the company of our tribe – that we can find the true and real connections we are all looking for, and that we all need.

That’s where the real cure is.



  1. “Being famous on Instagram is like being rich in Monopoly.” I love that quote! That is so true and I think about things like that a lot. Especially Facebook since I’m not a big Instagram user. I removed my Facebook app on my phone so I would’t look at it much. Everyone looks like they are having so much fun on there and sometimes it makes me feel like I don’t really have a life. But I do! haha. I hope you are doing well my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

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