Category Archives: Addiction

Addiction Treatment is Mainly About Maturity Issues

imagesAddiction treatment by the medical model means that an addict is “sick” and that someone else knows how to get that addict “well”. In reality, each person has a part of themselves that is perfect and was given to them at birth.

The basic problem with the medical model of addiction recovery is that the medical field calls someone “well” by sending them to take classes about symptoms and this determines the level of “help” that the “well” person will be able to give.

The reality of any emotional/mental help is that the healer can’t help beyond his/her level of recovery. We are all wounded healers but growth only happens after surrender to the need for recovery.

What other field of medicine focuses mainly or only on the symptoms? I mean, where is the cure? Certainly a label can help by identifying what information is needed to lead to a cure. But how does telling someone that they are in denial help that person to understand that their thinking is faulty?

Denial is not about lying but about someone not knowing the truth. Isn’t it more helpful to say that an addict is someone using a learned pattern of behavior to deal with uncomfortable feelings? If there are problems because of the addiction, then the learned pattern has to be given up and a new pattern of behavior has to be chosen for the energy used to be a positive for the addict.

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 14 emotionally.

So recovery is generally about growing up. No one knows reality–we only have a perception of reality. But maturity helps one to be aware of the possibility of many answers for the same question.

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. they live in a world of their own creation. The addict believes that his/her using only affects him/her and is no one else’s business. In reality, the addiction is affecting everyone in the addict’s life.

Addiction maybe accompanied with another condition called a co-occurring condition. These persond will need added supports and guidelines for treatment. The Mental Health Institute claims 20% of the population suffers from mental illness. These people generally can benefit from mental health counseling.


In fact, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) has shared some surprising statistics on the prevalence of mental health conditions and substance abuse:

Almost 9 million men and women who abuse drugs or alcohol have a mental health issue, also known as a co-occurring disorder or a Dual Diagnosis.

Out of all of the adults who go through addiction treatment, only about 7 percent are treated for both their substance abuse and their co-occurring disorder.

Over 55 percent of those who suffer from a co-occurring disorder do not get any help at all.

The rate of homelessness among people with co-occurring disorders is approximately 23 percent.

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Roots of PTSD,Codependency, and Addiction

3291628045_03efb76f53_zMy 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 myself anything that would challenge my mother. 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(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. 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, 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, extreme isolation leads me to paranoia and discontent. I am learning a balance finally because I have now freed myself to talk about these feelings.

I have also identified the brain chemistry associated with my codependency. I have a separate blog about Codependency Recovery. Codependency recovery basics are: having healthy boundaries, learning assertiveness, identifying your core issue, finding out what hooks you, knowing that caretaking is a control issue, developing compassionate detachment, adding self nurturing activities, using relaxation techniques, developing mindfulness techniques to live in the moment, and identifying your triggers.

So I have begun learning how to reparent myself. I have created a separate blog about reparenting: The Free Road: Reparenting Ourselves.

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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