As a therapist, my meaning for addiction is any repeated behavior which replaces love and service to life with an activity that brings escape and irresponsible behavior.
A few of the more widely accepted addictions are alcohol, sex, and food. Each of these offers a brief moment of pleasure to decrease the pain experienced when fear is felt. Long-term fears demand resolution of the pain bring with them. These three addictions bring temporary relief.
Addictions do not benefit our families or society. Addictions simply mask fear.
Addiction is a method of putting our focus on something that keeps the user from dealing with pain that is asking for healing. Addictions prolong dis-ease by ignoring the means of healing.
Football usually means intense participation, whether we are playing or watching. This intensity can become an escape from the rest of the world. For a couple of hours, we can forget about work, politics, chores, and focus on 22 men struggling to achieve a goal. The intensity of their effort gives us a place to remove ourselves from the world and forget. And we all need to relax. But what if it means forgetting the family? Our kids?
As we absorb our awareness in the world of football we choose. This time is an acceptance of something valuable enough to merit our energy, our life. If that focus replaces our focus on the family, we are no longer responsible fathers. Sitting in front of the game and watching football teams struggle while the family is either on fire or fading away from our influence is a national pastime.
Your children—regardless of their ages—need your loving attention, focused awareness, and open ears and eyes with a goal of caring for them. Most fathers work away from their kids growing up and often yield to the world’s demands rather their children’s needs for their love.
Ask your children if your relationship is okay. Ask your spouse. Ask them and yourself, “Do I let football interfere with my relationship with my kids? Am I teaching my son to become a father who chooses to be part of an unhealthy national pastime? Am I willing to choose to talk and interact with my family rather than sitting and staring at the fabricated conflict of football?”
If you answer this with a yes, you then take on the role of steering your own and your family’s growth. This means facing the fears you have managed to ignore with your addiction to football. If you walk away from the tube, or simply avoid the tube, and go find your family, you will be greeted with conflict. This is as sure as life. Families are born of and grow through conflict, competition, struggle, not really any different than what happens on the gridiron. The difference is this: if you give up football watching and go to your family, you become a player again, on the field, in the game.
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