One is too many and a thousand is never enough.
If this situation sounds familiar: You’re in a clothing store and you find something that you really like. You try it on and it looks good, it feels good, so you decide you’re going to purchase it. Along the way to the register you see that there’s 4, 5, maybe 6 more of the same article of clothing, but just in a different color. And, instead of just buying the one that you originally picked out, you end up getting all of them. All the same shirt, all the same style, just different colors. Now, did you need those 6 or 7 pieces of clothing? Probably not. But, did you want all of them? Well, if you purchased them, then you obviously did. This same idea applies to so many different aspects throughout our lives. It doesn’t just show up when we are buying clothes, but can also be applied to eating food, acquiring money, and using drugs.
All of these situations deal with this concept of excess. You try to only limit yourself to a small amount, but you end up having way more than you thought; way more than you actually wanted to. I really didn’t understand this concept at first, especially when I was in early recovery from drugs and alcohol. But, I continuously showed up and went to Narcotics Anonymous meetings.
Eventually, I was able to quiet the noise and really listen to what was being said, including this one slogan that they used at every single meeting which was “one is too many and a thousand is never enough”. I couldn’t just have one. I couldn’t just have one drink, I couldn’t just have one puff of a joint, I couldn’t just have one pill. It never worked out. And at the same time, if I kept going and going, taking more and more drugs, a thousand never seemed like enough. I never felt satisfied. So it started to click and make sense to me when I applied this concept to my days of active addiction. That one is too many and a thousand is never enough. A million is never enough. No amount that you can even fathom is never enough because it will never leave you feeling satisfied. It will never leave you feeling happy.
Why is that? Why is one too many and a thousand is never enough? Coming from my own personal experience, the one is always the thing that sets it off. It’s the catalyst that sets in motion a course of events that you may not want to play out, but will most likely happen inevitably. And then, the thousand is never enough just means that you keep trying to chase something that is most likely unattainable. For me, it was that high. But, for other people it could also be buying things or trying to acquire more money. I was trying to fill that void by putting drugs into my body, but no amount ever seems to work. As a result, I kept chasing and chasing and chasing more, which turned into a vicious, never-ending cycle. The void never felt filled, so I always used more drugs, but the end result was never feeling satisfied.
I thought that I could just have one. I always told myself that this time would be different. This time, I could control myself and not do anything to excess, but all I was actually doing was lying to myself. I knew deep down that I couldn’t stop when I wanted to. I knew that once I got going, once I had that first one, then it was off to the races. I no longer had any control over the situation, the drugs had complete control over me.
Some people may have a good sense of self-control and self-discipline, but some people, including myself, had no self-control or self-discipline. That’s when you need to put in the work. That’s when you have to dedicate time, effort, and energy to understanding why one is too many and a thousand is never enough. Because if you understand it’s a problem and fail to address it, then you’re doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. You’re going to have one too many drinks or you’re going to buy a few extra things that you didn’t need. This concept can apply to so many areas of our lives, including working out. It’s inherently good for you to work out, exercise, and stay in shape, but when done in excess, it becomes counterproductive. There’s a tipping point from being beneficial to becoming harmful.
In my opinion, the best way to combat this type of behavior is to create balance in all aspects of your life. To create this middle ground between that one and that thousand. Now, I am not literally talking about 500, but this area where you can balance everything out. So many people, myself included, either live or used to live in this world of extremes. It’s either all or nothing. And if you’re living your life on the “nothing” side and you totally restrict yourself from doing certain things or eating certain things, then you’re setting yourself up to overindulge, to binge. To do things in excess that are going to end up hurting you just because you were trying to restrict yourself. These same excessive behaviors occur when and if you are living your life in that “all” area where you go too hard at all time or you do things too much. Both ends of the spectrum can be quite detrimental.
So, incorporating this concept of balance into your life is extremely vital to your overall well-being. It’s important to understand what situations in your life can trigger you, what people in your life can trigger you, what emotional states can trigger you, or what mental states can trigger you and cause you to overindulge or live in excess; live on that “all” end of the spectrum. At the same time, you have to be true to yourself. You have to be completely honest with yourself, especially in this situations that you know may trigger you. Being real with yourself and truly check yourself during these specific moments in time. Ask yourself these questions: What am I doing right now?, Is this because I really need or want to do this?, or Am I doing this in hopes to mask feelings or to fill a void?
Constantly check your motives. You may be able to have just one if you are crystal clear with your motives. But, if you try to lie to yourself or deceive yourself, I’m pretty certain that this one is going to turn into more, and more, and more. Then you’ll be living in excess and will convince yourself that everything is fine, when you know it’s not. Therefore, on a daily basis, on a moment to moment basis, you need to continuously check yourself. Because, if you don’t check yourself, you’re going to wreck yourself (Ice Cube had it right). You know yourself better than anyone else and you know when you are doing something that is beneficial and when you are doing something that is self-destructive. It truly is an inside job that cannot be addressed from anything on the outside, so try be to diligent and truthful with your motives.
Like many of the topics I’ve spoken about, this concept was rooted in trying to fix internal issues through external methods. Trying to make ourselves feel better by focusing on things outside of us when we should understand that it’s an inside job. It’s imperative that we do some serious self-reflection, some serious soul searching, and digging deep within ourselves to figure out why we may act a certain way, why we make speak a certain way, or why we tend to feel a certain way. Once we do this, we can start to pull away the layers, dig through all of the superficial nonsense that we build upon our foundation, and get to the essence of our issues. And that is where the magic happens. That’s where we find answers. That’s where we can truly realize why we behave or act in ways that are so self-destructive. And, as a result, that’s where you can begin to change, grow, and evolve from the person you were to the person that you want to be.