Category Archives: Addiction

Addiction Has Many Faces But One Purpose

No matter what addiction a person uses; it is always for the same purpose. We use drugs, alcohol, sex, spending, video gaming, gambling, exercise, power, control, work, etc. to change the way we feel.

When do we know that our use of an addiction has entered the danger zone? When other people tell us that we have a problem or when we are social isolating ourselves so much that we rarely have human contact.

The chosen addiction is simply the car we choose to ride in instead of feeling all our feelings–uncomfortable as well as the pleasant ones. It gives us the opportunity to live in our heads in a world of our own creation.

The disease model of addiction has helped add to the confusion about addiction. Addicts live in a self-induced delusion. The delusion is that the world revolves around them. In reality, the world doesn’t revolve around any individual.

As John Powell has written, we each need a Copernican moment when we realize the world doesn’t revolve around us. Remember Copernius went against all other thinkers to say that the Sun didn’t revolve around Earth, but that Earth revolved around the Sun.

In other words, some of the main issues in addiction treatment are maturity issues. The age at which a person started drinking, using, eating, buying, being overpowering to others, using sex, etc. is the emotional age he/she still is. If he/she started at age 15, which is pretty normal, then he/she is age 15 emotionally.

So recovery is generally about growing up. Another main issue of why people are addictive is to continue to live life in their head or in their imagination. No one knows reality–we only have a perception of reality.

As the hero in 10 Million Ways to Die says,”I never knew that I lived in a world that I hadn’t created..” That is why the addict experiences such anger at having to give up the addiction. It seems to the addict to only be pertaining to him/her. In reality, the addiction is affecting everyone in the addict’s life.

Links to posts about different addictions:

Mahjong— Fueling Addiction

Exercise—A Not-So-Healthy Addiction

Spending—How to Cope With Spending Addiction

Pornography—Pornography Addiction and Marriage

Video Gaming—Frontline Looks at Video Addiction in South Korea

Video Game Addiction

Makeup—My Addiction Since Jan 07

Work—Workaholism: Hazards and Benefits

Cocaine—Brain Disconnect in Cocaine Addiction

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Child Abuse Survivor Blogs Help to Heal the Hurt

“When the family energy is focused on the problem of the adult rather than on the needs of the children, the results for the children are the state of not knowing they come first, the state of believing that they have to fix the situation, and the state of believing that life is about surviving instead of enjoying and that the meaning of life is to get through the struggle of life.”                           Cathleen Brooks

1.  Child Abuse Survivors: “Powerlessness”

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about this subject of late. I won’t get into any of the details of why, but suffice it to say, I’ve had a number of conversations and seen stories of people who find themselves in situations, as adults, that from the outside seem easily changeable, yet they don’t do anything to try and change things.

I’m sure you’ve all seen similar stories, whether it be the abused wife who won’t leave, the disgruntled employee who never looks for another job, or the kid who gets bullied even into adulthood. I’ve always considered these situations to be a product of fear, afraid of what worse things might happen as opposed to the hell you know and live with. Lately, however, I’m beginning to wonder if there isn’t something deeper behind that fear, especially when it comes to survivors of child abuse. What I see when I dig into that fear motivation, is powerlessness.

Yes, there’s fear of the unknown in changing all of those situations I listed, and many more specific situations that I know we can all relate to, but a big part of that fear seems to come from not having any sense that we actually have the power to say no, or to remove ourselves from a situation. As children, of course, we were taught exactly that. All the while I was being abused as a child, I didn’t have the power to say no, or to remove myself. It was taken away from me, and even now, as an adult, I recognize that there are times I look at circumstances that I could change, but fall right back into feeling like I don’t have the power to do so.

2.  Writing: Overcoming Damaging Effects of Child Abuse and Rape:

Ignored

Being ignored is the cruelest way to make a point……to flaunt control…..to wield power. Not acknowledging a person can create a hurt so deep – it’s the harshest thing someone can do to another…especially if that person claims to care.
My father used to ignore me….refusing to talk or  acknowledge my presence. His silence would go on for days…sometimes weeks… shutting me out of his world….closing the door….denying me access to him. He wanted to teach me a lesson….that he was right….I was wrong…he was good….I was bad.  It was his way to force me to do whatever he wanted.
He had hurt me many times with his words and his fists – yet to be locked out of his world tore at me. It made me crazy…and desperate to make things right. I ended up doing whatever he wanted….anything just to have him acknowledge me again.

Ever since I could think, he taught me  ‘that without him…I was nothing’  and even though he beat me…called me awful names…broke my spirit – I believed I needed him to live…to breathe…to exist. I needed him to survive.

Something has changed since I wrote my story…and told the truth of what happened. Writing…voicing what I had never been able to say….changed something in me. It gave me an inner strength…a courage I didn’t have before. I’m not afraid anymore and I’m not a child.

3.  Blooming Lotus: “Need for Therapy in Early Stages of Healing From Child Abuse”

Child abuse survivors need therapy. Period. It does not matter if the abuse happened one time or was ongoing throughout your childhood. Healing from child abuse is extremely difficult, and you need a qualified therapist to help you through it.

I was determined not to enter into therapy when I first started having flashbacks about the child abuse. I was in the process of trying to adopt a child, and I feared that I would be “disqualified” if I was in therapy because I would be seen as “crazy.” (As it turns out, therapy is highly encouraged for hopeful adoptive parents and will not be held against you. You just need to have your therapist write a letter stating that your reason for seeking therapy will not negatively affect your ability to parent a child.)

I decided that I was going to do the healing work myself. The problem was that every resource I turned to began with, “Find a good therapist.” There is a very good reason for this advice …you need to work with a qualified therapist with experience working with people who have been abused because trying to do it yourself is simply too hard. If it was possible to heal through sheer force of will, then I would have done it.

If you try to heal from the child abuse yourself, you will find yourself in over your head. When you first come to terms with the reality that you were abused, you will go through a “breakthrough crisis.” For me, this felt like a pressure cooker of emotions had the lid blown off of it, and my emotions had exploded all over me. For six weeks, I truly did not know from minute to minute if I was going to survive it. Nevertheless, I was hell-bent on healing myself. I changed my mind after finding myself lying on the floor, shaking, crying, hyperventilating, and trying to decide on the best way to commit suicide. At this point, I realized that anything would be better than this and decided to enter therapy.

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Roots of PTSD, Codependency and Addiction

My 33rd year of recovery from alcohol addiction began Nov. 24, 2009. Needless to say to anyone living a spiritual quest, many emotions are stirred up during an anniversary.

In taking another 5th step, I realized that I had recreated the home of my childhood.  I had the good mommy role and my husband was the bad daddy. As I stated there, he acted out his misery by having an affair and leaving me.

This experience has led me on the path of healing my childhood wounds. I was the oldest child–or rather, I was the youngest parent in that home. I took my duties so seriously that I taught myself to deny pleasure. In return, the power connected to this role of being the boss was my first addiction. One that I am only now giving up.

I believe those of us growing up in violent homes suffer from PTSD. I was particularly drawn to the definition of PTSD. Wikipedia defines it as “Posttraumatic stress disorder[1][2] (commonly referred to by its acronym, PTSD) is a severe anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to any event which results in psychological trauma.[3] This event may involve the threat of death to oneself or to someone else, or to one’s own or someone else’s physical, sexual, or psychological integrity,[1] overwhelming the individual’s psychological defenses.”

In reading about Iraq veterans and PTSD, I identified immediately with the social isolation. I have done this all my life. Although I am a loner and am suspicious of anyone not content being alone, isolation leads me to paranoia and discontent. I am learning a balance finally because I am now free to talk about all my feelings.

I have also identified the brain chemistry associated with my codependency. So I have begun learning how to reparent myself.

So, you can imagine my delight to read this post: What causes addiction? by Jann Gumbiner. Over my 33 years in addiction recovery, I have read many articles and books about the origins of addiction. I was thrilled to find in this article a mention of Dennis Thombs’s book, Introduction to Addictive Behaviors. What I identified with was his belief that we used our addictions to combat feelings of anxiety (fear) that we never learned to process.

My comment to this post:

“After 33 years of recovery from alcoholism, I am so grateful for your mention of Dennis Thombs’s Introduction to Addictive Behaviors”. It so resonates with my experience. My reaction the first time I drank was akin to finding the Holy Grail. I only ever had the same experience when I had been in labor for 33 hours with a double footling breech delivery. I remember gulping down the pain killer that they could only give me as she was through the birth canal.”

I will continue researching PTSD, codependency and addiction as I know that my addiction began when as a child, I didn’t l know how to deal with anxiety and fear. Instead I used these feelings of power over people to feel better myself.

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