I am joined on this episode of the Lisa Inside Addiction podcast by Bryan E. Robinson, author of over forty non-fiction and self-improvement books, over one hundred professional journals for top-selling magazines and winner of two awards for his writing. Bryan is also a licensed psychotherapist.
In this episode, we delve into greater depths on the topic of work addiction. Bryan talks about his interpretation of addiction and how the path to recovery lies in balancing both the thrive and survive instincts of the brain, tapping further into the thrive brain and encompassing The 12 Steps.
”Addiction is living from our survive brain rather than our thrive brain.Bryan Robinson
We investigate the impact of a person’s upbringing on their survive brain and how this can lead to early addiction. Bryan talks openly about his own childhood and how this led to an addiction, starting at just age nine, that almost killed him as it progressed in later life. Bryan describes how he would frequently sneak work to family days out at the beach, make excuses that he needed to rest and then secretly work on projects.
”I couldn't stop. Just like an alcoholic that can't stop drinking, I couldn't stop working.Bryan Robinson
Then we move on to discuss the types of vices that people can fall addict to; different drugs, for example, or food or work and the factors that might contribute to which one a person relies on and why.
We talk about cross-addiction, looking at why people who recover from one addiction can then sometimes fall into another. Bryan describes how addicts, whatever their vice, are trying to make themselves feel better by filling an emotional or psychological need that was often not fulfilled in early life. The end result, of course, is that instead of feeling better, a whole new problem is created.
We move on to analyse the possible role of a person’s genetic make-up in their addiction – nature vs nurture. Research suggests that the son of a male alcoholic is five times more likely to become an addict themselves. Bryan again offers an insight into his own family history of addiction.
”Most of us are trying to complete or fill up something inside ourselves - that empty hole.Bryan Robinson
Bryan highlights some of the physical side effects and symptoms of workaholism that are caused by adrenaline and cortisol and the subsequent damage to one’s health these can cause when endured over a period of time. Brian refers to the Japanese term ‘Karoshi’ which can be translated literally as “overwork death”.
Bryan talks about busyness, rushing and multi-tasking as adrenaline-inducing symptoms of workaholism and how the real issue is the inability to turn the brain off from work and relax.
”You can be lying on the beach and working in your head.Bryan Robinson
I ask Bryan about the tools and techniques that workaholics, in particular, can implement to transit from using the survive brain to the thrive brain. He describes practical ways to be present and in the moment as well as recommending mindfulness and meditation. He talks about the ‘micro-chillers’ contained in his new book – practical exercises that can be done in 5 minutes or less to help you feel more in charge of life.
Towards the end of the interview, Bryan gives listeners a simple action they can take right away to help get them into the present moment and begin to tap into their thrive brain.
Bryan’s latest book, #CHILL – Turn Off Your Job and Turn On Your Life is a mindfulness and meditation guidebook that can help workaholics and others let go of anxiety and achieve and maintain the healthy work/life balance they need.
Take the online chill test here – https://bryanrobinsonbooks.com/work-life-balance-quiz/