ADDICTIONS and FEELINGS:
Real addiction is not about the drug, but to the high. The real addiction is not physical, but emotional, the psychological dependency, the belief in the need and continued use in spite of harmful consequences. Anything that removes or alters unwanted feelings – anger, pain, fear, sadness, anxiety-can become an addiction.
The process of addiction is reinforced by the fact that the more we use-whatever vehicle we use to relieve the feeling-the less ability we have to deal with that feeling, so the more we need the addictive activity or substance. For example, some people hate anger. Whenever they have a conflict, they tend to eat. In fact, they watch "refrigerator" the way some people watch TV. They open the door, the light goes on and they watch things grow old and mold, They watch things disappear. While they are watching "refrigerator", the conflict is escalating while their ability to deal with the conflict is decreasing. This means they need to use food all the more to deal with their anger. Food has enabled them to deny and disconnect from any feeling of anger. At the same time, the unwillingness to fight, to deal with the conflict, escalates the conflict.
This unwillingness to deal with the conflict might even become the conflict. This “eating at someone” when we’re mad may be called passive aggressive. It’s a very common posture. We don’t get mad: we get even. We do this by withdrawing, by using our drug of choice , going away physically or emotionally. Leaving often causes the other person to become aggressive-aggressive, even out of control, raging, or bitchy.
The passive aggressive posture is a controlling posture. We shut down, go away and leave our anger with the other person to deal with, along with their own anger and their rage about our leaving. We keep our anger inside. Passive aggressive is like a big dog with its paws on your shoulders, licking your face and peeing on your leg at the same time. You don’t always know you’re getting it, but you are.
In families, there is no passive. Sometimes we think we had one parent who was a raging lunatic or angry, aggressive and hostile. The other parent might have looked gentle, quite and withdrawn, but in reality the gently quietness is often the passivity. In relationships and families there is not passive, there is only passive aggressive. The withdrawing, the quietness, is punishing to others.
Addiction is a process of decreasing choice, a compulsion is like an urge that limits choice. The repetitive acting out of compulsive behavior eliminates choice. Addicts seem to have choice; occasionally they can choose not to act out their addiction or to limit their use. Even periodic acting out without choice that results in harmful consequences is addiction. Sometimes we act out with food or alcohol for a period of time to cope with stress or crises. This may not be addiction, it may be a release or trade off or meeting needs and we don’t hold on to much denial about it. It may not be repetitive or cause major life problems.
Addictions are primarily about feelings, a need to alter, avoid, or distract us from our feelings. Some of the questions that are raised include:
. Why do we need to do this?
. Why do we need to medicate our pain to distract ourselves from our emotional reality?
. Why do we protect our addictions?
If these addictions are feeling diseases, then where do we learn about our feelings?
. What did we learn about our feelings?
. How did we learn to express them or repress them?
In childhood we find out whether or not our feelings are OK. Feelings are part of the flow of life. They are present, expressed, affirmed and then go away. We pass through them on our way to new feelings. Feelings that we don’t express, that don’t get affirmed, become repressed and acted out. Addiction is one of the more common ways that we act out the feelings we can’t express. With feelings, we either talk’em out, work’em out, or act’em out.
Addiction involves a set of compulsions, highs, habits, fantasies, rituals, settings and beliefs that become repetitive, designed to produce a desired goal. If we can’t do the addiction, we can do the ritual or we can seek the setting or fantasy.
Addiction is a complex disorder and treatment must address our emotional life, including trauma, not just modifying behaviour, however we have to modify the behaviour first (stop the medicating) before we can deal with the emotional problems.
If you or someone you love is in the grips of ANY Addiction call us today for assessment and recovery program tailored for your individual needs. PH 0432 944 027 (7days)