Are you a Builder?

Explores the power of emotions and the line between passion and addiction, how community can ground us. Also looks at a fundamental misunderstanding of the concept of “freedom,” and how easily this can flip into compulsion.
Explores the power of emotions and the line between passion and addiction, how community can ground us. Also looks at a fundamental misunderstanding of the concept of “freedom,” and how easily this can flip into compulsion.

“Passion creates, addiction consumes.”
― Gabor Maté, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction

Obsession, passion, compassion – they’re powerful emotions, and I’ve seen people whose drive is so high they can become whatever they put that energy into: the best heart or brain surgeons, Olympians, or…..the best criminals or alcoholics. The choice is theirs.


Some of our clients who come to us possess extraordinary intensity, but they’re also obese and unhealthy. Their mismanaged passion and drive has manifested physically, in their bodies. When we talk to them we often discover that they love what they call “freedom,” which is, in their understanding, the freedom to eat whatever they want, whenever they want, and however much they want. They can also work compulsively, exhausting themselves after days and days without a break. But they’re in a state that gives them less freedom in their day-to-day lives, because they’re limited and unhealthy. After a while they see that their freedom is more compulsion and addiction, the soaring and the crashing. And then their system of belief shifts.

They begin to understand that freedom is the power to choose and exercise control of the outcome. They’ve suffered because they were controlled by need for something outside themselves to feel “alive” and energized. Can the exaggeration of needs and wants that brought them to this negative place be turned into something positive? Is there such a thing as a positive addiction?

It seems that many athletes, artists, and activists are possessed by a similar drive, yet their force is one of creativity and achievement—changing the human condition—as opposed to destructiveness. John Keating, the teacher in the film Dead Poets Society, is a good example of passionate engagement, full commitment that seemed unorthodox and extreme to those on the outside, but was, at its heart, both generative and nurturing. Another beautiful example is Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara, a compassionate human being who lived to 105 and continued to see patients and work up to eighteen hours a day just a few months before his death.

Make your lives extraordinary

Where is the fine line between a deep passion for life and an obsession that can ruin it? We want to have a fire burning within, something that encourages us to strive and change the world. But we also need structure and accountability, and a sense of responsibility and care, for ourselves as well as the world at large. Serving others is a vital component of channeling passion in a positive direction.

It’s easy to get lost in the vastness of what life “supposed to be like.” There will always be opportunities for comparisons, judgments, jealousy and envy, but your life and passion for it shapes what a good, creative life is for you. Embracing the creative force can generate an amplified, multi-layered life that is singular and uniquely yours. You may also learn how little you really need to have a fulfilling life.

And that goodness spreads to others.

Our Happy Body Living Room


Have you ever had an addiction that flipped into something more positive? Or have you witnessed that kind of transformation in others? What did you observe about the process of change—was it gradual or was there a certain catalyst that triggered it? Do you recognize any positive additions in yourself?

Leave your response below in the comments.

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  • Ania – Great reading, as always. I also like your pictures attached. Yes, a transformation into a “positive direction” is possible. Thank you for all your help and insights on the way to a “better future”. Enjoy the weekend.

  • I have had a transformation from an addiction and have had a “new life” for some 28 years now. The journey has not always been easy but it has built my character and an incredibly good life for which I am very grateful. Making that original “hard choice” to give something up has made all the difference. The process of change has been a daily journey and yes! it is all about choices! Even what I choose to think about what has happened or not happened in my life. I think a lot of addictive people are very passionate and creative. One of the most important concepts for a healthy, productive life I have learned is self-care; if I do not look after myself I am not of much use to anyone else. I use an analogy that I am like a house with 4 rooms: physical, spiritual, mental and emotional. My journey has been to find balance and harmony for these four areas of my life and to “regularly visit all four rooms”. Ignoring one, creates problems in the others. I love reading your insights, they are refreshing and truthful. You are LIVING authentically what you are sharing- thank you!

    • Thank you Jackie for your kind words. And congratulations on your choice of life with four rooms that you tend to – they must be lovely.

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