The other night my husband and I went to see “The Wolf of Wall Street”, a movie portrayed in hedonistic detail about Jordan Belfort whose life was overtaken by greed and self-indulgence when nothing else mattered and rules were inconsequential. I found the movie fascinating as the underlying message hit a bit close to home.
Spellbound I watched Leonardo DiCaprio work his acting magic to transform into a human example of what can happen when the desire for more becomes intoxicating. This slow-to-take-shape, deliciously dangerous drug of choice twists even the most resistant to stop at nothing while fueling the need.
As much as I wanted to distance myself from the kind of people illuminating from the big screen, I couldn’t deny the parallel perspective I had before recovery when just enough was never enough. Although I didn’t engage with some of the same behaviors or live a lifestyle even close to that of Jordan Belfort, I was equally addicted to the desire for more of what was not good for me.
There was never enough alcohol when “I’ll have just one more” never meant one. There were never enough ways to deny or manipulate my nutritional needs when I self-convincingly stated “I’m not hungry” or “I ate already” with the same emptiness in truth as in stomach. When “Oh hell, why not” led to “Oh hell, what did I just do“.
After the movie credits rolled, I walked from the theater door to our car shivering from a mixture of memories past and subzero temperatures. When I shut the car door and felt the first whispers of heat, I smiled in gratitude for my long-term recovery and the willingness to go to any lengths to stay that way. The mere thought of waking up and reaching for more alcohol with vague memory of the night before, or silently congratulating myself for a meal skipped made my blood run as cold as the temperature on the other side of the car door.
As I settled into bed that night sober and healthy, I realized I’m not completely free from this addiction for more.
Never far from pen and paper, I made a list of what I currently desire for more and if given the opportunity, pretty certain I’d go to any lengths to indulge. Here’s a little of my list.
– More days in the week
– More hours in the day
– More days of vacation when packing to go home
– More attention from those I’ve yet to know
– More attention from those I do
– More pages at the end of a really good book
– More “likes” on Facebook, followers on Twitter, and readers of this blog
– More reasons to say yes
– More ways to say no
– More sunny days after a beautiful sunset
– More money to ease financial worry
– More opportunity when I feel there’s none
– More tears when they really needed to fall
– More days with my Dad before he died
– More silence when I’m scared to speak
– More ways to make something work easier
– More words to say what I mean
– More presents under the Christmas tree for those I love
– More time with my friends
– More time to write without limitation
– More time to listen
– More ways to better understand a situation
– More light when I’m in a dark place
– More speed for my internet connection
– More battery life for my cellphone, iPad and laptop
– More awakenings about who I am
– More coffee
– More ways to show someone how much I care
As I breathe in all that I seek more of, I realize wanting “more” isn’t just about what’s unhealthy or dangerous. What’s really at stake is what becomes obsessive in my head. Why is that? What benefit would I attain if having more eventually led to getting less? If I had more days in the week or hours in that day, wouldn’t I eventually want more of that? The cycle is endless and the need is never fully fueled.
So, here’s my next right step. I am going to focus on the notion what I want is often not at all what I need, and why accepting what I’m presented each day is the key to peaceful contentment. I may not particularly like defined time-frames, limited resources and waiting for things to happen, but in retrospect perhaps my life is infinitely better because of them.
Maybe I need to write more about that.
A Moment to Breathe…
What do you desperately desire more of? Will having more of whatever hits your list ultimately allow you to live a peacefully balanced life? Will the consequences of having more outweigh the short-term satisfaction? After asking yourself these questions I’d love your input on this topic. Leave a reply here or comment when sharing via social media.