This just in: you’re addicted to the news

When does too much turn into addiction?

I am often asked this question in many different forms, about many different subjects.  It usually comes across in questions like am I addicted to work, or money, or candy, sex, alcohol even television.  The list goes on and on.  Society has done a wonderful job of blurring what is really very obvious to most people. In order for something to be considered an addiction the following definition must apply.  You will not hear the definition of addiction talked about in the media.

Continued use in spite of negative consequences.

For those of you who read this column regularly you have heard this definition before.  These negative consequences for the 5 major addictions are obvious to everyone who knows the addict.  For the soft addictions the consequences may not be so obvious from the outside.

Many people would say that a person who makes millions of dollars and continues to build his wealth is addicted to money. Without knowing who this person is and what he is up to with his money, it is not for us to say that he is addicted.  Take for example, the person who works 100 hours a week.  We would judge this person to be a workaholic.  But what if that person is doing what he or she loves to do?  What if the work this person is doing is for a cause that could bring great joy and freedom to large numbers of people?  Do we still say that person is a workaholic or do they now become a saint?

So if a person likes to come home from work every night and crack open a cold beer,  sit on the couch and watch the evening news is he addicted?  My answer is, “I don’t know, what happens if he doesn’t watch the news?”  You didn’t see that coming?  Really?

The news media uses fear as the driving force to keep people coming back.  And it works! How does being informed of the murders, house fires, and potential terrorist threats, on a daily basis help us to feel joy?  Do we really need to know what the weather is going to be this coming weekend so we can make plans?  Many people keep a cable news channel on all day long listening to the same 5 stories be repeated endlessly.  You don’t think this is addiction?  Tell me what good this serves in our lives.

Fear, is the opposite of everything that we are.
God said that in CWG book one.

Fear causes tension and anxiety which leads to all sorts of physical and mental health issues. Fear causes the body to enter into the fight of flight syndrome.  While in that mode the body cannot repair itself thus becoming vulnerable to disease.

Living with a pattern of behavior that creates a mental state of fear qualifies as addicted by definition.  Repeating a behavior that is non-beneficial to our physical health or our mental well being is dysfunctional living.

Hang on — there’s breaking news — oh no, a carjacking in New York City.

Yes, this story gets the headlines; one man carjacks somebody in a city of 12 million people and this makes a top story on the 5 pm news?  Why?  What is the end game of this type of reporting?  Is it really just to keep us coming back day after day so they can sell ads?  Why do we not see the bigger picture?  That the majority of humans are out in the world doing good things, living normal, happy lives?  When will we decide take back our reality creation instead of letting someone create our reality based on what sells more advertising for them?

It is staggering to see what the media chooses to report on when you look at it honestly.  The news is merely another form of entertainment much like professional wrestling. They are going to look for the most sensational piece of news and beat it over our heads for as long as possible.  A sensational plane crash gets 2 weeks coverage at the top of the hour while meanwhile 44 people per hour per day die from addiction-related incidents.

My wife and I decided a few years ago that we would not watch news unless there was something happening that we felt the need to be informed of.  We also decided if we were going to watch that we were going to keep our finger on the channel button and turn it off as soon as we received the information we desired.  For the most part we get our news through the internet where we can pick and choose what it is we want planted in our head.

My suggestion to everybody is how much news are you watching?  How is it affecting your life?  Is it helping?  Or is it just filling your head with useless information?

 In June we kicked off our first in a series of CWG on recovery retreats.  A small group of people all shared a life-changing event.  If you are in recovery and not experiencing great joy and freedom or are still suffering with addictions, please consider giving yourself this experience.   Our next retreat will held in San Jose, California, Sept 19 -22nd, 2013.  On October 24 – 27th, 2013 we will have another retreat in Orlando Florida.  Click here for more information on these life changing retreats.

(Kevin McCormack, C.A.d ,is a certified addictions professional. He is a recovering addict with 26 years of sobriety. Kevin is a practicing auriculotherapist, life coach, and interventionist specializing in individual and family recovery and also co-facilitates spiritual recovery retreats for the CWG foundation with JR Westen. You can visit his website for more information at www.Kevin-Spiritualmentor.com  To connect with Kevin, please email him at Kevin@TheGlobalConversation.com)

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  • Christopher Toft

    Thanks, very thought provoking. I can definitely relate to the idea that addiction is continued use in spite of consequences. That’s spot on.