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The POWER of CHOICE


I'd like to talk for a moment about the importance of both language and mindset as they pertain to self-limiting habits. There are some clients in this culture who would consider themselves "addicts". They have habits such as alcohol overuse, weed overuse, porn, gaming, doomscrolling, binge-eating, gambling, etc. They make statements like, "I have a food addiction", "I have a porn addiction", "I have a gaming addiction", and so on. If you know me, you know that in my wild younger years I was a binge drinker. I became a violent felonious recidivist, and blamed my self-destructive pattern of behavior on both my unfortunate upbringing and my addiction to alcohol. You may also know that in April 2007 I took my last drink, smoked my last cigarette, joined a gym, became a powerlifter with sick cardio, and put down the helplessness script I had been reading from. I read a book around that time titled, Addiction is a Choice, by Jeffrey Schaler, Ph.D., and it reinforced something I'd been thinking for awhile. Namely, that somewhere along the way some well-intentioned therapist did me a disservice by telling me that it wasn't my fault, but rather that I suffered from a disease called "alcoholism". This solidified the idea that my addiction was chemical. It was beyond my control. I was a victim. The introduction to Dr. Schaler's "fuck you, sorry-not-sorry" attack on the addiction-as-disease model begins with a biblical quote:

They addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints. -- King James Bible, 1 Cor. xvi. 15 (1611)

It continues:

You Choose Your Addictions 'Addiction' is a fine old English word meaning commitment, dedication, inclination, bent, or attachment.

He spends the rest of the book hammering home the idea that when we addict ourselves to something -- a behavior, a belief -- we commit to it. And that's exactly what I saw myself doing at that time, and what I now see clients doing who aren't willing to let go of the devil they know. They argue for limitations which then become theirs. Won't becomes can't, as you've heard me say over the years. They will not make healthy choices, meaning literally that it is not their will. Trying doesn't count. Yoda said it best: Do or do not. There is no try. I have a client who addicts himself to weed and alcohol. One who addicts himself to vaping. One who addicts himself to porn. Another to eating calorie-dense food that keeps him overweight and unhappy. I also have clients who addict themselves to limitations such as the idea that they are introverted, and are therefore predisposed to be socially awkward. I have a client who hates the sound of his own voice... thinks it sounds nasal and whiny. A guy who addicts himself to the idea that it's too late in life for him to find love. On a bad day I leave the office frustrated by these clients, seemingly content to wallow in weakness rather than just manning up and making better choices; making moves instead of excuses. But again, they have addicted themselves to weakness. To helplessness. To ugliness. To hate. To loathe. To self attack. And my job is to love them through the funk of their self abuse. To model love. Joy. Confidence. Faith. Belief in goodness. And real talk, it's not easy. But it's my job, and I do my job. Why? Because I addict myself to success. I'm a winner. Take a look at the picture I've shared here, again from the book, where Schaler talks about the Navajo concept of hozho. It reinforces everything I keep saying to these guys -- hell, to ALL of you guys -- about the absolutely CRITICAL importance of language and mindset.


When you addict yourself to good words, good thoughts, and good deeds -- or Humata, Huxta, Huvarshta, the Zoroastrian Threefold Path of Asha -- you will find that the very universe itself, in its entirety, actually bends to accommodate your commitment.


And only then will you truly understand the power of choice.

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