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Alternative Culture Magazine

Book Review

by Nowick Gray

There Must Be More Than This: Finding More Life, Love, and Meaning by Overcoming Your Soft Addictions - by Judith Wright

Soft Addictions is to self-help books as soft porn is to the harder stuff; as sugar, chocolate, coffee, and cigarettes are to the more legendary addictive substances such as alcohol or heroin; or as pop psychology and spirituality are to the more rigorous disciplines available. If you're new to the subject--or even if you simply haven't fully extended the meaning of the common term, addictions--the effect of reading about our subtler yet insidious daily habits is profound. Judith Wright does a good job of laying out the basic distractions that most of all us indulge in while putting off the real work of being human, which starts with recognizing the deeper impulses, the "More" of what we truly need and desire.

Masking this more authentic approach to the potential of our lives, are what Wright might have termed "the eight habits of highly ineffective people": overdoing various forms of...

o media/games - e.g., TV, Internet
o buying/shopping - e.g., mall, catalogues
o physical maintenance - e.g., overeating, housekeeping
o physical mannerisms - e.g., hair twirling, gum chewing
o sexuality - e.g., flirting, fantasizing
o work - e.g., overworking, keeping busy
o risk taking - e.g., speeding, gambling
o social/people activities - e.g., name-dropping, gossiping

As if these trivial pursuits are not enough, we also limit ourselves by getting stuck in our moods, avoidances, and attachments to the vast array of consumable things that our modern society is designed to produce and sell to us.

Having laid out early in her book the obstacles in our path, the author goes on to elaborate on all these patterns for many chapters thereafter, looking at our typical resistances to change. She also posits a better way, the search for "More." While the deeper meaning we seek is not rigorously identified, it leaves all the more room for interpretation for the greatest number of readers.

This is not a handbook for the advanced seeker of life's fulfillment. But if you're in need of starting from scratch with the lowest common denominators, this book is a good one, and an easy read.


See more at Judith Wright's website.

For a more idiosyncratic journey through the inner landscape of soft addictions, see the reviewer's three-part essay elsewhere on this site, entitled...

Quests for Identity and Other Addictions: An Unfinished Manifesto




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