Category Archives: Addiction
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 (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, 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.
It is believed that 34,000,000 grew up in alcoholic homes. in the United States. Add to that all the other addictions and few of us were reared in homes governed by mental health. I also believe that mental health is ever fluid and not a fixed position for any of us. Other disorders that may have interfered with the mental health of the family are: perfectionism, materialism, overeating, gambling, religious fanatics, sexual disorders, power, codependency, depression, workaholism, etc.
Anyone growing up in these family conditions will have problems with intimacy, boundaries and difficulty expressing feelings. I believe that the focus on helping others must be in dealing with these three areas. Talking about your past does very little to help with today. The first time anyone talks about an incident in the past is the only valuable disclosure. From this disclosure can come the seeds of today’s solutions.
Living in the here-and-now is the only direction for mental and emotional recovery. Realizing what is beautiful about today and how can anyone can help to make life better will guarantee happiness. If we are living in the past we can’t be in the present. The recovery only works if it is focused on the self and not others.
We are probably all codependent at one time or another. It is only harmful when it is the basic pattern of relationship choice. It happens sometimes that another person gets more of our attention than we are giving to ourselves. But the codependent uses concern to gain power over others in the classic position of “top-dog”. Codependency is a pattern of loving someone excessively in order to control the other person.
Healthy relationships have shared power. The main reason for conflict in relationships is power and how it is shared. Shared power in relationships is the only ingredient in relationships that determines how healthy the union is. Unfortunately, when a person decides to give up his/her addiction, if he/she is part of a couple, the other partner will also have to change. Without the addiction to feed the addict’s sense of reality, the recovering person is awakened to the reality of the power balance in the relationship.
The addict is addicted to the idea that he/she is “controlling” the addiction (“I can quit any time I want to.”). The codependent is addicted to the belief that he/she is “controlling” the addict (by telling them when to drink/use–how to drink/use–how much to drink/use, etc.). The reality is that the addiction is in control and is controlling both partners.
“In our lives we are faced with a set of core issues that resurface again and again in different settings/ with different people, at different times. These issues involve our relationship with the world, with ourselves, with our Higher Power. These are our life lessons.
Stephanie Covington and Liana Beckett
1. Jane Dough: “betrayal & honesty”:
“Many texts on sex addiction & codependency espouse that sex addicts have relationships to get sex and codependents have sex to get relationships. It’s just been lately that I’ve been able to identify with that.”
“In each scenario, someone is (a) giving something they don’t want to give (b) in an inarticulated bargain (c) for something outside of themselves (d) that they think will make them happy/whole/complete. Men (most often strong on the addict side) and women (most often strong on the codependent side) may have different things they unhappily give away/ attempt to covertly acquire, but the SYSTEM is the same.”
“Example 1: This is in direct contrast to, for example, purchasing a Pepsi at a convenience store. The price tag says $1. The exchange is clear & direct. I don’t just stick $1 in the tip cup, silently hoping I’ll be handed a Pepsi and then grumble if I’m not. I also don’t pressure the cashier to toss in a candy bar for free. Likewise, the clerk doesn’t then jack up the price once I’m holding the beverage in my hot little hand. It is an honest transaction.”
“Example 2: That dysfunctional, unclear, expectation-filled system is also markedly contrasted by 2 friends seeing a show together that they both want to see, with someone they like to do that activity with, in a price range they can afford, at a time & location that is convenient, and in a relationship which has no unspoken grudges. (*Poof* goes the resentment factor, “bye-bye” drama triangle.)”
“I’m learning to practice newer, stricter, deeper levels of emotional honesty. This is directly linked with an increased ability to create safety. That is an outgrowth of crediting and prioritizing the messages of my gut/intuition. None of which can happen without some sense that “I am OK” and “Having needs is OK.”
“It’s a subtle change that revolutionizes everything: like a few drops of very hot sauce altering the entire dish.”
2. From Woman Anonymous7: “How Far I’ve Come”:
“Last night I was looking at some phrases I’ve kept on a piece of paper beside the bed to remind me about what I’ve learned from discovering Husband’s sex addiction.”
- I can find peace and freedom in surrender and gratitude
- I’m powerless. Just admit it and surrender (over and over and over again)
- One day at a time.
- My most important relationship is with my higher power, which I am an expression of
- My most important actions are to use my life and my abilities to be of service as an expression of love, compassion and non-duality, and to celebrate everything I have.
- If I listen for it I will always hear the voice of higher power.
- Pain, fear and all kinds of adversity are opportunity. I can allow both the good and the bad to be gifts.
- What am I resisting?
- I can always choose the most empowering context.
- Surrendering to the moment at hand is usually the most powerful response.
- Have fun!
- If I forget all of this, remembering is the next part of my journey
“As I looked at that list, I realized how much of this has become who I am. I don’t need this piece of paper as much as I used to, because much of what I’ve learned has become fundamentally integrated into my approach to the world.”
“It made me happy to realize that I’ve really grown and changed in some very potent ways.”
“I’m proud of myself, because it wasn’t an easy road, and it could have gone many different ways.”
Some good links about sexual addiction:
3. Sexual Addiction–Breaking It Down offers Christ-centered support for men and women seeking recovery from lust and compulsive sexual behaviors.
4. The five common traits of sex addicts: unloved–untouchable–dissatisfied–self-deception– and secretive from Barb Rogers’s Sex Addiction: Explanation or Excuse? 5 Common Traits
6. From The New York Times: When Your Partner is a Sex Addict