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This puzzled me. What does she do for entertainment, I wondered. How can she stand the silence? In fact, on a deeper level, I respected and envied her for that choice. In her, I saw a potential life-partner, and an inspiring example of the kind of person I wanted to be and the type of life I wanted to live. She provided the inspiration, encouragement and support to help me see beyond the challenging circumstances of my life at the time. Besides the inspiring example of how she was living her life, I remember an article she published for her Yoga students, in which she wrote:.

This can be a difficult question to answer, but it is imperative that you hold vision for your life. Without vision, your life shifts into idle.


All your thinking, creativity, active and passive energy begins to consciously and unconsciously direct itself toward that which you want to create. Without a vision nothing happens.

There is nowhere to direct your thoughts or energy. Without a vision, growth and movement comes to a halt. With vision, life becomes a course of ongoing expansion, opening doors to infinite possibility. I remember that article, because it described my life so perfectly at the time.

I had no vision for the future. I was locked in my misery, and my life had essentially come to a halt. Still, my addiction was well-established. So, while my heartfelt vision statement was a great place to start, I knew it was going to take more than words on a page to begin turning that vision into reality.

Here are several things that worked for me. When I first started on the road to recovery, I kept a daily, written log to document the number of hours I spent watching television each day.

What Comes First: Addiction or Mental Illness?

This helped me see exactly how much of my life I was wasting. It also helped me see where I could eliminate some TV time and replace it with more purposeful activities.

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This freed up a good hours in the morning that I could use however I wanted. I still live by this schedule, and my early-morning time is the most productive and creative part of my day. We are hard-wired to live purposively, to have direction. Without a target to shoot at, our lives are literally aimless. Without something productive to do, without positive goals and a purpose, a human being languishes.

And then one of two things happens.

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Aimlessness begins to shut a person down in spiritual lethargy and emptiness, or the individual lashes out and turns to destructive goals just to make something happen. For me, purpose is about working each day to become the best human being I can be. Life purpose, for me, is more about being and becoming, rather than doing. Specifically, my mission is to help you — and others like to you — create a happier, healthier, more prosperous life through my writing, teaching and coaching.

Get Out. Very small though, because when you really think about it, aside from some short-term relaxation and entertainment value, what do you get out of it? If you watch 3 hours of TV tonight, will you be any happier tomorrow? Will you have more friends or more love in your life? Will you be any smarter?

Addictive Behaviors: New Readings on Etiology, Prevention, and Treatment - Semantic Scholar

Will you be any healthier or wealthier? If you watch 3 hours of TV tonight, will it improve your life in any way tomorrow? To paraphrase author Annie Dillard, how you spend your days is how you spend your life. With nothing else to do with my time, it was far too easy to get pulled toward watching television. I had to find other ways to use my time. Back when I started on my recovery, I created a morning writing ritual known as Morning Pages. I pour myself a hot cup of coffee, sit down at my desk and write in the early-morning silence.

Myths About Addiction

You can use your free time however you like. Go to bed earlier. Throw on the jammies, brush your teeth, grab a good book and head for the bedroom. The alternatives to watching television are limited only by your imagination and willingness to move out of your comfort zone. In her book, The Willpower Instinct , Dr. Exercisers tend to reduce their smoking, drinking and caffeine intake. They eat less junk food and more healthy food. They spend less time watching television and more time on productive activities.

They save more money, feel more in control of their emotions and procrastinate less. I can attest to this. Instead of wasting six hours per day, as I did at the height of my addiction, Ellen and I now watch less than 10 hours per week. Think of what you could do with an extra two months per year. Of course, life still has its problems and challenges. Its ups and downs. The difference now is that, rather than medicate myself with television, I find healthier, more purposeful ways to invest my time and energy.

Thank you for this article. It has turned our marriage into a mess. It has ruined us financially. So sorry to hear this Robin. My TV broke down last Saturday and rather than fix it, I decided to try going without it to see what would happen. So I kind of suspected I was addicted to it.

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  6. Has anyone else experienced anything like this? Great article, I found it very well put together and touched on some very similar thoughts I have been having lately. I only just came to the realisation that I was wasting my time and I should treat it as an addiction. Considering how much time I have dedicated to my problem over the last 5 years I suspect it will be difficult for me to break the cycle.

    Addictive Behaviors: New Readings on Etiology, Prevention, and Treatment

    Hopefully recognising the problem and the adverse effects it has on my life will get me on the right path, and articles like this will help keep me in line. Thank you. Loved your article. I googled on TV addiction as my husband is completely addicted to TV. He says what else will I do if not TV. I came here after wedding and realise that the TV was perpetually on at all the times of the day. He wakes up at 6 am and I wake up at am.

    By the time I reach the living room, the TV used to be on. And before going to bed in the bedroom as well. After a few months of fighting I finally was able to convince him to never put it on in the bedroom at least. Before me moving in, the TV used to be on the entire night, if he used to wake up from his sleep, he used to put it on thankfully that has stopped after a lot of our fights.

    He still watches videos on his mobile for a few minutes and then he finally asks me if I want to sleep. Honestly, after an year of watching this and fighting over it almost every two weeks, I have given up. I watch 2 episodes back to back and feel unproductive.