Thinkaholics Anonymous or “What the hell were you thinking?”


Know what is the most rampant, destructive and largely untreated disease ravaging our world, destroying lives, fomenting conflict, war, misunderstanding, misery. It might be hard for you to hear this and almost certainly challenging to understand, but you are not who you think you are. In fact, it is the very thoughts you hold about yourself and identify as your self, that create much of the suffering in your life. Certainly did in mine.

I’ve started my own deadly-playful recovery program, Thinkaholics Anonymous, dedicated to freeing us from the tyranny our thoughts. Our motto is “What the hell were you thinking?” TA helps us relieve the suffering caused by our belief in thinking. Our meetings are silent because only in the silence can we hear the thoughts for what they are and not automatically believe and identify with what they’re saying.

Don’t get me wrong, I love thinking, recognize its value as a survival mechanism and enjoy communicating ideas. I just know I’m a Thinkaholic, easily get hooked by my thoughts, and have too often “come to” after a binge of belief-ing asking myself. “What the hell were you thinking?”

The fellow they named Buddhism after, described thinking as “the waterfall,” because we are so easily carried over a cliff by it and fall out of touch with reality. This is how it happens: The mind is always measuring our experience as either pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral. It uses all its tricks to reach out for more of the pleasant. It contracts and creates reasons to avoid, the unpleasant. It’s bored by the neutral. Here’s the trick. We create stories around the thoughts the mind is creating based on those sensations. It’s how we can love someone so much one minute and hate them the next. They didn’t change; the reality about how we feel about them in our heart didn’t actually change, but our thoughts about them changed in response to the sensation they just triggered in us.

The Thinkaholics Credo speaks to this:
As a culture we’re confused, ensnared in our illusions and suffering because we identify with our ego and it’s thinking. We’re mistaking the transient for the permanent, pain for pleasure, that which is a false self for the true self. We’re fooled into looking outside ourselves for powers that can only be found inside. We confuse knowledge with wisdom, information with insight. Thus fear, ignorance, desire, pride and aversion dominate our culture.

TA offers balance, wisdom, humor and a patient transformational spirituality. The arc of change is toward greater presence, love and gratitude. We enjoy the effects of increased awareness. We have had bad experiences trusting thoughts. Our intention is to align our thoughts, words and deeds with the unheard, not thought, not seen, deeply tasted silence and space beyond description.

Our meetings are available everywhere all the time right in your head. Just get quiet, breathe slowly, deeply and stop believing your thoughts.

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About The Author

Jan Hutchins
, Former Mayor of Los Gatos and TV sports and news anchor, is now a life coach for people who know they’re not living up to their potential, people who have everything but fulfillment and those whose thoughts are driving them crazy with worry and fear. Reach him at