Hi, my name is Fran and I’m a workaholic

There are two types of addictions in this world. Some addictions, like cigarettes and alcohol, when you quit, you quit. I believe* that social smokers and social drinkers are not really addicted. Other addictions, like food and work, are far harder to control. You can’t quit work or quit eating the same way you quit alcohol or cigarettes. Or rather, you can…but the consequences are remarkably unpleasant.

*I would love to hear from social smokers/drinkers who believe they are addicted. My claim is based on personal experience.

In my last post, I quipped about the need for a 12-step program for workaholics. Shortly after posting my commitment to work less, I committed to a 10pm conference call with my Taiwan-based boss. Because…well…I’ve got a problem. And the first step to recovery is admitting that I have a problem. So, I’m confessing it here and now. Cue: Those who know and love me can suck in their fake gasps and raise their eyebrows for effect.

I’ve struggled with this addiction for years. It’s classic behavior for the goal-oriented overachiever. No biggy. Except it’s time to move on and I can’t seem to let go.

Why do I work so many hours? I could bore you with my theories. I’m addicted to the glory? I seek affirming praise? I’m filling a void in my heart & soul? Most addictions seem to stem from our desire to fill a missing element of our being that is best filled by our Creator.

These days I seem to be clinging to the comfortable discomfort of the known versus the frightening unknown. The time has come for me to walk in faith. Just as I’m exercising and trying to have discipline in my diet, I must have discipline in how I’m spending my time. I must devote myself to developing new skills. I must say “no” to some work demands in order to say “yes” to the new habits that will bring me to a new place.

I’m not ready to quit my job, although it sucks me in like an addiction. I am confident that I can change some habits and break free from the addiction’s stronghold.

What are some effective ways to break free from this type of addiction? What’s worked for you?

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