AFTER THE charge of my coffee addiction blew, I saw the next one, perhaps the deepest of all: self-reflection. If I didn’t get time to self-reflect, the tension would rise and rise. Like a true addict, as soon as I knew I was safe (bond paid, costs covered) I would dip into myself; I would stare at my reflection in the lake for hours. Seeing it for what it was – an addiction, instead of as a defining personality trait – was what caused the charge to blow.

The point is this, although it may be hard to see: many of the defining patterns of our lives are nothing but addictions. If you experience tension rising when you don’t get something – a drink, a smoke, an anger outburst, a bit of drama, a fight, a betrayal – or if you milk the experience for all its worth when it does happen – if you find yourself wallowing in it for much longer than you need to, in other words – then you’re very likely in an addictive self-abuse cycle with that thing. You can blow the charge by blowing all your addictions systematically, starting at the one that’s easiest and most accessible and working through every last one.