Treatment Uncovers Escapism As A Major Player In Addiction
In the days of the Neanderthal, they had to deal with battling vicious animals, and finding enough food to survive on a regular basis. They may also have had to fight to the death to find a mate and a decent place to stay temporarily in their nomadic lives.
So modern man may not have to deal with more stress than their ancient ancestors, but they do seem to have a greater amount of activities to choose from to escape reality. Neanderthals didn’t have the abundant amount of activities to indulge in modern man does to escape their harsh realities. In modern times, there seems to be too much temptation to engage in activities that can lead to addiction, such as:
- Drinking alcohol
- Doing drugs
- Playing video games
The common denominator between these things is that people often turn to these activities as a form of escapism, to escape the daily stressors of everyday life.
What Is Escapism? What Are People Trying To Escape?
Escapism is defined as people seeking an activity that is a diversion from either stressful, painful, or boring parts of everyday life. In essence, people are seeking to enter an alternate universe they can envelope themselves in to numb the feelings that result from their regular life. Most people engage in some form of escapism, and in moderated doses, it can actually be helpful so that people can maintain a sense of balance in their lives. But in extreme cases, people often turn to a harmful activity for escapism, and it turns into an addiction.
Escapism becomes an addiction, when people are sabotaging their own lives with their activity, and it begins to take center-stage into their lives, instead of being merely an occasional distraction. This can apply to gambling, video games, or even alcohol. But when someone starts doing drugs or drinking and gambling excessively this can have a disastrous effect on someone’s life. An unchecked addiction can result in estrangement from family and friends, job loss, financial loss, and even death.
Healthier Forms Of Escapism
Fortunately, there are many other healthier activities that people can engage in which can also act as a form of escapism. While these may sometimes not be as immediately exciting, over time they can be more fulfilling. Some activities a person can try are finding various ways to exercise, such as hiking, playing tennis, swimming, biking, or even just walking. Exercise has been proven to release endorphins in a person’s body, which makes them feel good. And when someone is hiking they can find nature trails, where they can physically and mentally find escape and peace from the world.
Other activities that someone can engage in instead include reading, painting, playing an instrument, starting a garden, meditating, and even going to church. People often find solace in prayer and community. By engaging in these activities, they can be used as replacements for other, more dangerous addictions people have developed.
Develop A Different Reality
And, lastly, another thing a person must learn to do to break the reliance on the addiction as a form of escapism is to develop a different, more positive reality that one faces on a regular basis. This won’t happen overnight, but can evolve over time with guided imagery, and constantly reminding oneself of the things a person has to be grateful for in life.
People must change their thinking, so that they realize the world doesn’t owe them anything, and that finding the positive in the world is a choice. While there will always be events and things in life that people wish could be better or different, choose to focus on the positives. By doing this people will gain more control over their reality, and feel less of a need to constantly escape.