I need to ride a bike because it makes me feel better, happier... It helps me release all the stress I experience at home, at work, in the environment I live in.
Slovenians are a sports-loving nation. Many of us are cycling enthusiasts, runners, skiers, hikers, and more.
Engaging in sports brings many benefits to individual health and has a positive impact on the body and mind. But today, I want to write about the addiction to sports, the abuse when a person "has to" ride a bike instead of "wants to."
So what's the difference between use and abuse?
The difference between use and abuse lies in the manner in which something is employed or consumed. Here's an explanation of each term:
Use: Use refers to the appropriate and intended utilization of something. When we use something, we employ it in a responsible and controlled manner, in accordance with its intended purpose. Using something implies moderation, balance, and respect for its boundaries. It involves utilizing a substance, activity, or behavior in a way that does not result in harm, negative consequences, or addiction. The purpose of use is typically to enhance our well-being, accomplish a specific goal, or derive positive benefits.
Abuse: Abuse, on the other hand, refers to the excessive, harmful, or inappropriate utilization of something. It involves going beyond the limits of responsible use and engaging in behaviors that have detrimental effects on oneself or others. Abuse often leads to negative consequences, physical or psychological harm, and a loss of control over the substance, activity, or behavior being abused. The intention behind abuse is typically to escape emotional pain, cope with stress, or fulfill compulsive urges, rather than for genuine well-being or productive purposes.
In summary, while use implies responsible and controlled utilization of something for positive outcomes, abuse involves excessive and harmful engagement that leads to negative consequences and a loss of control. It's crucial to recognize the distinction between the two to ensure the well-being and health of individuals.
For many years, I abused cycling. It became an addiction. The bike gave me the freedom to be alone with myself, far away from home and the environment I lived in. A four, five, or six-hour training session would exhaust me completely. My legs and the pedals were like a safety valve through which I controlled and released the pressure that built up in my body daily. After the training, I would feel good, comfortable.
You could also say that after the training, I didn't feel anything; I was numb, without emotions, positive or negative. In fact, I wasn't well, far from it, but I was less bad, and that was considered "good" at the time.
Due to the unresolved relationships in my immediate family, constant tension and high pressure in the family were the norm. Growing up and mirroring patterns from my parents and close surroundings, I created the same environment in my current family.
Home should be a safe haven where we can relax, feel secure, and where the pressure is low. That's when we can be relaxed, calm, rest, and gather strength after a tiring day in the outside world (where the pressure is high—stress, fast pace, danger). If we feel better "outside" than at home, in our house or apartment, in the company of our closest relatives, it is clear that home is an environment of high pressure, disorder, and entropy.
After a challenging day at work, where we are under high pressure, full of emotions that we don't know how to express effectively, shouldn't, or can't, we decide that the best and often the only option is cycling, running, sports... to empty ourselves, to release anger, rage, disgust, contempt, protest, or revenge in a harmless and socially encouraged and acceptable way. Otherwise, the already high pressure and tension in the body and at home would only escalate, which would be dangerous.
In this way, a person enjoys suffering in the activity instead of directing the emotions they have towards the individuals responsible for them. They direct them inward in a self-destructive manner. In reality, they are punishing their own bodies, which are always the weakest link when the mind demands unrealistic results.
Such a person comes home exhausted, numb, without energy or emotions. They don't care. They perceive this state as good. However, the next day, due to the disorder and entropy, the pressure in the body starts to rise again, but they don't know how to regulate their state because no one taught them. Therefore, the second option for temporarily regulating their state is sports. Quickly, sports becomes something the person needs rather than something they want. They begin to abuse sports and become dependent on them. Every addiction has its price—destruction. Regardless of whether it's an addiction to sports, drugs, sex, alcohol, work... Every addiction destroys a person.
I was close to destruction. When a person loses hope, the end is near. And I had no hope left.
When I started learning the AEQ® method, the first session with the author, Aleš Ernst, gave me hope. Everything made sense. Why this was happening to me, why I was the way I was, why I had an eating disorder – everything became meaningful.
In the past two years, I have been changing the course of my life and the lives of my family, especially my children. They will have an easier life because of what my wife and I are doing now. They are learning and observing how their father solves problems, realizing that addiction (self destruction) is not normal or necessary for survival. They are developing emotional maturity and efficiency. The holistic emotional maturity of a child can be equal to the emotional maturity of their parents. And emotional maturity determines how we live, how successful we are in solving problems, and what fate awaits us. Thus, traditions are repeated through generations.
As a nation, we are very good at survival; it's in our blood – just look at history. But in a time when we have the opportunity to "live," only a handful of us succeed. When a person learns and understands that everything is in their hands, that they are responsible for their own life and destiny, they accept it and direct their energy towards changing ineffective, outdated, and often harmful patterns. They realize how the past influences the present and the present influences the future. However, painful realizations are necessary. If we want to know where we are going, we must know where we come from and where we are. And only our body can tell us that. The key to success lies in increasing the connection between the body and mind, which we have limited or even severed in the past in order to survive.
From being antisocial, fearful, lacking self-confidence, "unsuccessful," and insignificant, I am becoming a person who enjoys meeting new people, learning new things, and teaching others. I am more self-confident, I value myself more, and I know who I am, what I do, where I am, and where I am going. Comprehensive transformation is a demanding process that requires a lot of energy, attention, time, and perseverance. It is the only way to transition from "surviving" to "LIVING."