Busy: how it kills and how to recover from it

“Hello.  My name is Charles and I have a work-addiction.”

“Hello Charles.”

That is how the work-addiction meetings begin.

But I don’t really like the term “work-addiction” because it does not adequately tell the whole story of the addiction nor of the addict.   I prefer “busy-addiction.”  It titles and tells the story better.

Truly, I wish I were addicted to something normal and cool like alcohol (elegant at parties and fun until one vomits into the punch bowl), or porn (well, self explanatory), or shopping (easy to cloak in society and yet, a FABULOUS collection of clothes stuff), or adoration (oh yes, this one is creepy but common as in “oh Father, your sermon was just so, gosh, I dunno, WONDERFUL! No, YOU are WONDERFUL…SO, gosh, Dunno, HOLY!”…yak) or food (as in a bowl of buttered noodles…after dinner.)  And since addictions come in threes like the Whack-a-Mole game in which when you hit one mole into the ground, two of the other ones pop up, I admit to food addiction and shopping addiction but am glad they are no longer active in my life. And yet I am addicted to busy-ness. Today.

What IS an addiction?  I define it as that which one uses to anesthetize one’s agony-of-life.  We all have agony – a betrayal, an abuse, a work-place bully, a failure, an idiot or lazy boss, a dead marriage, an abandoning or dominating parent, a childhood trauma with an angry dog or mother or father, the list goes on and on and on.  When one feels that pain, our culture in the United States (and elsewhere too) is to grab something so as not to feel that feeling – that agony. We grab busy-ness.

Authors love “the first line” game.  It goes…”If you were to write a book , what would its title be and what would be that GREAT first line which hooks the reader!?” I love this game.   I love reading the great first lines of books.  “They call me Ishmael.” (OMG…cool name…and THEN what !?)

If I were to write a book on the addiction to busy-ness (which I have not because I am too busy to get to it….) I would begin the book with this first line:

Busy: how it kills and how to recover from it , a book by Episcopalian author Charles LaFond

“If one were addicted to rice living in China…who would know?”

This photo above is my recover plan.  It is where I recover from busy-ness – where I waste time doing nothing.

Recovery plans for addictions require a few basic ingredients.  Here are some of mine for busy-ness recovery:

Recovery plan for busy-ness as an addiction.

1. Admit that you have a problem and that it is ruining your life while acknowledging that the cosmos wants your aspiration to recover and will collaborate with you to that end.

2. Admit that you live in a society which is addicted to busy-ness and in which everyone has agreed to a code of silence and secrecy so as to pretend it is NOT an addiction, because it is lucrative and appears impressive.

3. Get a friend to hold you accountable to recovery.

4. Read Note to Self (author: me ,when I wrote it to be busy) to write and live by a Rule of Life moving away from busy-ness.

5. Make rest, sabbath, play, appropriate sex and touch as well as time-wasting, a big part of your life when not earning a salary.

6. Earn a smaller salary so that you can limit your work to 40 hours. Or 36.

7. Say no six times more than you say yes.

8. Put down all three addictions and simply feel the pain each morning for an hour (unless you are too busy….lol) while looking at the most beautiful thing available to you (in my case, the field in the picture above – the view from my meditation couch on my front porch. Yes, I said couch…relaxing, comfy couch.)

9. Meditate for 20 minutes very day to quiet the monkeys in your brain’s tree of life.

10. Repeat number 8 again at night. And sometimes on your lunch hour.

Normally I would suggest you find a work-aholics or busy-aholics meeting to attend with a sponsor but there are few such meetings around ( people are busy…) and our friends are all too busy to be a sponsor…so it’s going to have to be a DIY thing for most of us.  A dog will help.  They love to relax.

And one final note.  Do you ever wonder why the liturgies and leaders in our churches are so….well…busy? I don’t.  I am pretty sure I know the answer.

(For more on “the first line game” see http://americanbookreview.org/pdf/100_best_first_lines.pdf for a bit of fun!)

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