Addicts are Restless, Discontented, ‘Befogged’ People
Written By: Mark Smith
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Addiction just might be the most important and destructive social issue of our generation. The cost of addictive behavior in the workplace and the family is incalculable. In my practice just this week I observed a great deal of heart breaking human wreckage caused by alcoholism, sexual addiction, relationship addiction, workaholism, and gambling. While alcohol and drugs get much of the focus when discussing addictions, there are many substances to which human beings find themselves addicted: food, spending, rescuing, work, busyness, TV, exercise, approval, religion, shame, money, power, possessions, sex, relationships, smoking and prescription drugs to name just a few.
Addictions are used to help numb our pain. They are used to escape, reduce stress, and help us cope. One of the main dangers of an addiction is that you usually are the last one around you to find out that you have it. In the 12 Step Programs they say that addictions are ‘cunning, baffling, and powerful’. You can be in your skin, daily abuse your favorite addictive substance for many years, and still be sincerely shocked and surprised to discover that it is in fact addictive to you.
What are you addicted to? Think about it. What do you turn to for comfort and numbing when you are in a lot of pain? What do you get high on? Is that substance causing a problem in your life of any kind? The main consequence of a food addiction is obviously packing on a lot of extra pounds. An addiction to cigarettes can shorted your life span by many years. A spending addiction can land you in bankruptcy court. A sexual addiction can severely damage or end your marriage. Any addiction can and will keep you disconnected from your self and from the people you love the most.
What are the addictions present in your family? Does your husband work way too much? Do you feel abandoned? Does your wife spend 20 plus hours a week exercising? Is your boyfriend spending more and more time and money playing Texas Hold’em or visiting the casino boats? Is he keeping things from you? How do the behaviors of your loved one impact you on a daily basis? Are you lonely, sad, worried, or angry? Are some of your boundaries being violated? Are you worried about the effect of your spouse’s addiction upon your children? Are you minimizing the seriousness of it? Remember, addictions are progressive; things are not going to get better on their own. They will, in fact, only get worse.
I tell my clients that therapy is about TRUTH. The more truth about themselves that I can instill into clients, the better off they will be. That is especially true about any addiction. Recovery starts the second an addict knows the truth about the addiction. Most often the truth dawns on an addict in the form of a negative consequence, wake up call, or a ‘hitting bottom’ experience. If a significant other is enabling a spouse’s addictive behavior, the chance that he or she will hit bottom and then get help is decreased. Is there any rescuing from consequences going on at your house?
If the answers to a lot of my questions are yes, then make a change and ask for help. If you have an addiction, the best thing that you can do is attend a 12 Step support group related to your particular addiction. A quick online search can probably hook you up with all the support that you’ll need. The next most helpful thing that you can do is call a qualified therapist. You will need all the insight, accountability and support that you can find if you are going to overcome any addiction. If your spouse or significant other has an addiction, then there are co-addicts groups for you. You, too, will need therapy ASAP.
Addicts are restless. Their lives are all about feeding their addiction. It is a full time job. Nothing is more important then them ingesting their favorite drug, no matter what that is. They have no peace.
Addicts are discontented. Their lives are a wreck. Many times they are looking for a geographic cure of some sort to improve a life ruined by their own addictive behavior.
I love this last word – befogged. I bet it is the first time that you have ever heard that work used. It was in the preface of the Alcoholics Anonymous ‘big book’ in a section written in 1939. Any addiction is a brain disease. It will absolutely cloud your brain. It will distort your reality. It will keep you from thinking clearly. It will take you away from yourself and the things that you really should be focusing on.
If an addiction is damaging your home and family, wake up and get the help that you need today. Tomorrow is too late.
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