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When having a problem is the problem

We Americans are a curious culture. We pride ourselves on our problems. I’m too busy, too stressed, working too hard, eating too much, spending too much, drinking too much. These things may all be true but some of us practically boast about them. I’ve overheard conversations between younger women in coffee shops where they seem to be trying to outdo each other with how busy their lives are. And most of us know young men, and some not so young, who boast about how drunk and wasted they get. Adults of all genders boast about how tired they are as if this is a good thing.

I speak of this from decades of personal experience as an over-worker, over-eater, over-drinker. In fact, most of my long life I’ve had one consuming problem or several. Alcohol, abusive boyfriends, boring work, overeating. I’d no sooner solve one than another would pop up.

Eventually I had to realize that I was the common denominator. And that I was addicted to having a problem. Oh the problems were real enough. I am an alcoholic. I’ve had difficult relationships with me. I am a chronic overeater. But all of that can be resolved if I want to be free.

And somehow I don’t want enough to be free. The current problem shapes my life, gives me something to worry about, something to struggle with. As if struggle has to be the norm, not happiness. Am I ready to be problem-free?

Are you addicted to your problem?


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