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Admitting An Addiction Is Never Easy

Updated on October 15, 2012

What is Addiction?

When we use the word addiction most people associate it with the overuse of substances such as alcohol, drugs, or food. These are material things that we ingest to get a particular state of satisfaction. Behavioral addictions can include shopping, sex, or gambling.

When a person moves from a habit to a compulsion to an addiction it is usually a gradual process that ultimately consumes them, their time, and their entire life, with negative effects that impact both themselves and the people they associate with.

Included in this process is a distortion of thinking with self talk that can run in the line of, "I am in control of this (substance) use"; or, "I can stop anytime"; or, "It's not that bad...". Denial is part of the process as well, and no matter how many ways or who tells them that they have a problem, the addict is always right and the adviser always wrong. They cannot see the problem, for they have no problem,(more distorted thinking here), and they will continue to follow this path if they do not have a break in the irrational thinking and denial.

In the eighties I attended a church in Warren, Michigan whose primary minister was a recovering alcoholic. Periodically, he would tell his parishioners, “Either you are in recovery, or you’re in denial-there’s nothing in between.” My husband and I would sit in the pew and nudge each other giggling.

“We sure aren’t in recovery, so I guess we’re in denial,” I would whisper to him brazenly.

It was an inside joke that would haunt us years later when I had to come to terms with my husband’s gambling addiction; his inability to stop despite how it was affecting our finances and marriage; and my co-dependency through it all.

What is Co-dependency

Not surprising, my first career choice was that of ‘teacher’, which I did not pursue opting instead for that of ‘nurse’. Both of these professions have a high percentage of co-dependent personality types. You know the type: people who would rather fix somebody else’s world-or at least point out what they are doing wrong or how they could do it better, rather than focus on their own lives.

Focusing outward is a key component of the co-dependent. It is far too painful, emotionally, to examine what is going on in one’s own life. If we were to do that, well…who knows how our lives would turn upside down and there will be none of that happening, if we can help it. And, we practice this resistance through careful management of other people’s lives.

It’s all about control, you see. Control over an environment that we currently live in, which we did not have any control over growing up. The chaos of a dysfunctional home, no matter how much love there was within it, leaves a brand on the hearts of children who are raised in it.

Co-Dependency: The root of the problem

Because there is a lack of dependability in the core of the household that all is well, which children need in order to foster healthy habits for future relationships, there is a shift to depend only on oneself, (the loner), or to make oneself invaluable to the family through care giving, (the co-dependent).

It is no easy task to come to terms with a pattern of living that brings heart ache and the very thing we co-dependents have tried so hard to avoid: more dysfunction. No matter if there is a childhood wound that takes on the form of a blatant addiction, like alcohol, which was my mother’s drug of choice, or the insidious infection of a warped perspective of life, such as the disease of co-dependency, neither is healthy and both have their roots in a place of insecurity and a loss of trust.

Moving from dysfunction to healthy living is a life long process.
Moving from dysfunction to healthy living is a life long process. | Source

Removing Denial and Moving to Recovery

I will be forever grateful for the social worker of long ago who first introduced me to the term, ‘co-dependent’ and opened my eyes to how my decisions were affecting my life in a very detrimental way. It was in 1987 and I had never heard of the term before. I was startled when, after several conversations with her she asked me who the alcoholic was in my life. I denied any, not recognizing my mother's overuse of alcohol, the mood altering 'drink before visiting', then the drink before dinner...and a problem.

My next awakening was shortly after this when I went to see my parish priest about a problem I was anguishing over. This was a man whom I trusted and almost verbatim, he asked the very same question the social work had. I knew it was not coincidence and we had a long talk about alcoholism in the family...the family 'secret'. He pointed me to John Bradshaw, author of The Homecoming and many other books about family dynamics within an alcoholic family.

It became a lifelong process of recovery from the effects of co-dependency. I have learned many things; I have freed myself from many patterns of behavior that have been chains around my heart; and I have learned to stay open to the possibilities that are before me…never to say ‘I know’ with conviction; never to say, “that could never happen to me”.

Passion for Writing

No matter what our age or goal here on Hubpages we share a common thread-that of a love for writing. Some have more passion and perhaps have developed their craft more than others, but it is still a commonality. And, we each have an individual history that is part of our makeup-none of us so perfect that we haven’t some raw experience that we are healing-it is what life is made of.

I started this hub with the intention of jokingly referencing my addiction to Hubpages-the late night writing and disregard to the time or my need for sleep. It was all supposed to be tongue-in-cheek, except that it took on a life of its own, as it so often does.

Instead, I ended up having to face the realization that the signs of co-dependency are still alive at some level and recovery is an ongoing, vigilant routine. I truly am doing much better maintaining a healthy balance-except when it comes to my writing. For that time does not matter…my sleep goes unattended…and I would probably not eat when I am in a flurry of typing except I have my nephew whom I must attend to…oops, there it is again-the care taking...or is this just good old fashioned caring? There is a razor's fine line between the two and an honest inquiry when it arises is the medicinal treatment.

In the end, whether it is addiction, compulsion, zeal, or passion...we must individually take care to care for ourselves despite our love for writing...or anything and anyone else. If our mental or physical self suffers we cannot be as present for the ideas that flow from us to share with the rest of the world. And we, along with the rest of the world, deserve that.

Please take this Poll

Are you addicted to Hubpages?

See results

Are you addicted?

So, I offer this to others: are you addicted to Hubpages? Can you shut the computer down at a decent hour and go for a walk, play with your kids, have date night with your spouse, or visit with friends?

Do you find yourself telling your family, “in a moment”, or “don’t bother me right now” frequently? Or, do you feel irritability when you can’t get to the computer to check your comments, or leave one; or feel you are missing the action on the forums?

Do you go ‘without’ for long periods of time-without sleep, food, water, bathroom use? Have you actually forgotten what eating with the family is like?

If you have answered ‘yes’ to these questions, you may be in denial of your ‘Hubpages Addiction’. Never fear-you are in good company, so don’t feel like you have to isolate yourself. Remember: the first step in recovery is admitting you have a problem.

I’m not sure if there is a Hubber Anonymous group, but if there isn’t you can always form a group and get a following through the wonderful forum threads. However, don’t look to me to get one started…I don’t think I will be ready for ‘recovery’ any time soon. I’m enjoying myself and my new addiction way too much!


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    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Mark-nice to see you. :) Thanks! I really appreciate your feedback. Thanks for the votes.

    • the clean life profile image

      Mark Bruno 

      7 years ago from New Jersey Shore

      Denise- Well done my dear friend! I tend to forget all the other addictions there are in the world, because as you know I write about only one. You did a wonderful job on this hub !!

      Voted Up, Useful and Awesome!!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Mary-I agree that I am in good company, haha. Thanks for reading and your votes. For me, I'd rather be writing, and see it as one of the lesser evils, than immersed in other activities that are nonproductive.

      Hi Pamela-thanks for your feedback. As a fellow nurse, I know you are aware of the personality type of which I write...

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      This is a very well written article on addiction and co-dependence. I relate very well to your article. Voted up and awesome!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      7 years ago from New York

      This is a very insightful hub Denise. You have pulled yourself through many difficult situations but now seem to be in the same boat as many of us here at Hubville....hub addicts! I have a feeling this is going to be my addiction for quite some time.

      I enjoyed your hub and voted it up, useful, and interesting.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Sorry, CO...I realized this was getting sooo long and decided to post this for you to link into if interested:

      "I wonder-what does a spiritual person look like?"

      and My spiritual journey-four teachers I met along the way:

      There is also: Soul Work:JOY you can link to at the top of my profile and I have several others. It is a topic dear to my heart as you can tell. Enjoy your week.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi CO-Before I address the question of perfection, which would be an excellent hub subject btw, I'd like to respond to your comments.

      In the 'yet to discover who we are' is this search from the egoic standpoint? The ego, 'I' am this or that? The labels that make up our society? If so...this continues to solidify the egoic belief that it is 'somebody' in 'control' of something.

      There is a different perspective and one that operates from a deep intelligence of the universal consciousness and soul. Operating from the 'presence' of awareness of all that is there is no rigid categories to react from.

      Staying in each 'just this moment' and being fully aware that you are not your body or human entity, it is merely a shell of the energy of life, one can absorb and respond to all that is there in the obvious field and in the unseen fields.

      It is a mindboggling concept that is beyond comprehension of the ordinary has to just 'be'. If one remains open minded there is an ease and flow to what arises in this field of life we are connecting with here on earth. If we 'close' our minds to all possibilities we become stiff, unresponsive in a natural way, reactive, and rigid. Our beliefs are now what becomes important and we defend them and defend against all who challenge them-including our own beloved Self.

      When we go in search of something more, and most people do not take this challenge or they start to and then it becomes too difficult so they abort the journey, there is an invitation to discover, not just who we are as ego entities, but to experience who we are.

      There is the difference: the mind (our ordinary human minds) likes to take control and intellectualize. Our souls invite us to relish what and who we are at a deeper level. In this experience there is the discovery of who we are...

      And, it is perfection.

      You may be interested in my blog: (profile page) aheartofawarrior or reading the hub: Silence, a meditation experience or my other spiritual hubs: What does a spiritual person look like; and,...

    • ConsciousObserver profile image


      8 years ago

      I liked your response, it made me think.

      You may very well be right. I have another view on it. I don't believe we forgot who we are, but we have yet to discover who we are. I believe finding ourselves and motivations is more complicated than our greatest inventions as a whole. It is more complex while being in a society of egos who desire you to be as them. Some may die before knowing little to nothing of who they truly are. Then again to know ourselves we have to interact, observe, and compare ourselves with others to gain insight into how outside observers see us. This is challenge to our egos to be controlled and influenced. I agree addiction is a search of happiness and purpose.

      I am thinking of writing a hub on perfection after I get my others edited heh.

      Can you further explain your thoughts of perfection? Thanks again for your insight, I really hope my response was relevant to your last. If it wasn't, cut me some slack because it's

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      What my experience has been is that all egoic activity that continues without presence of spirit solidifies the belief system of the ego. We as human beings must have ego to function in this world, and ego is a natural development of the human being. However, along with the movement of ego towards control, as it develops, there is a 'forgetting' of who we are at our core essence. This forgetting continues a separation of self and spirit which results in a sense of loss; a subtle awareness of something missing...The ego then proceeds to search 'out there' for what is missing within-the intimacy of self and soul. The addictions that people involve themselves with are the many ways we search for that missing piece. The external focus that we engage in so delightfully in many, many ways are the distractions from our core essence, which is perfection. There is a Hindu term for this 'play of life' called Leela.

      Perhaps I did not answer your question as a yes or no reply...however, this is not an easy question to merely make a simple response. It is multilayered. Great question, btw.

    • ConsciousObserver profile image


      8 years ago

      I agree with you, it takes honesty and critique to recognize and admit an addiction or bad habit. While critique to find truth, pride and a purpose/goal to change must be found. Do you think control of our focus and attention is the biggest obstacle to change?

      I have enjoyed as well, thank you.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      CO-it is truly an inside job. If it is one thing that I have come to understand in my personal, professional, and spiritual life, it is that the ego has rigid structures that we fall into (patterns) and no amount of work with therapy or externally will change that. It is through the Divine Grace of recognizing Truth.

      Now, I don't mean the bible thumping truth that is manmade, but the deeper, inner realization of the All Knowing Truth. That which cannot be completely described, but only experienced. When those beliefs are integrated the rigid structures begin to dissipate because there is nothing more for it to adhere to.

      It is mindboggling to understand from the egoic mind, but that is the norm for people to want to do-understand things from the level of operation that perpetuates the habit or pattern.

      Thank you for reading and your thought provoking comments. I enjoyed discussing this a bit with you. :)

    • ConsciousObserver profile image


      8 years ago

      I liked this one too! You have a great ability to analyze your thoughts, and write them clearly for others to understand.

      On addiction, I think the root is to analyze ourselves to learn why we are dependent. Also to learn why we value and desire our addictions, to find a replacement for them. It requires breaking thought patterns and behaviors which at times seems hopeless. But the more we empower ourselves from the inside, the less power or co-dependency outside addictions have over our lives. Thanks for another fun read.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Gary. I appreciate it.

    • qlcoach profile image

      Gary Eby 

      8 years ago from Cave Junction, Oregon

      Enjoyed this Hub. Thanks for your fan mail. Yes we can become addicted to people as well as things. The good news is that we can discover pathways to emotional recovery, which helps us find the balance between mind, body, and spirit. Peace and Light...Gary.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Simone, LOL well, there is actually so much more to co-dependency, but this is a little that was easy to write about.

      I agree. Whenever I tell myself I can't keep spending so much time here, my mind starts churning up more articles to write. In fact, forget the sugar plums, my 'dream dancers' are hubs! LOL

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      8 years ago from San Francisco

      Great Hub, Denise Handlon! I was not very familiar with the concept of co-dependency before, so this was a good refresher. And I don't think I'll be kicking my writing addiction anytime soon either :D

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      I agree daskittlez69-It seems that way at least. Thanks for reading and commenting. :)

    • daskittlez69 profile image


      8 years ago from midwest

      Great article! I think everyone is addicted to something or another.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Ann-thanks for reading and your votes! :)

      Danette-that was so sweet. Thanks for sharing that with me...although you have mentioned that a few other times, sister. :) Hugs to you.

      Hi Manthy-nice to meet you. Yes, I did get that fan mail, how kind of you. Left you a few comments on your hubs.

      Bud-LOL join the club! Thanks for your comments.

      b.malin-thank you for your feedback...appreciate it. And, I agree-writing here (or anywhere) is an addiction I can live with.

      Ruby-ah, is an insidious habit, isn't it?

      Hi JS- thankyou for your thoughtful feedback. I'm glad that you found something useful in it. :)

    • JSParker profile image


      8 years ago from Detroit, Michigan

      Well, this is fascinating. I voted awesome because it's beyond interesting. You state a couple of things I hadn't thought of: 1) although I'm not co-dependent, I think I chose the loner path (I'm sort of a social loner, but many times I have said to myself "stick to you own counsel!", and 2) HubPages can be addictive. I thought you were kidding, but I can see how it could happen.

      Very thought provoking. Good hub.! Best wishes!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      8 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Denise, I must admit, i am addicted to Hubpages. I must get my fill daily. I don't put it before my family, but when my Son calls, he usually asks if i'm writing. Hee I enjoyed your article. Thank you.


    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 

      8 years ago

      Yes, I think we (Me) are addicted to HP because I LOVE to write and it has proven to be such a Great outlet. I think it's a Healthy Addiction. As usual Denise, this was a Wonderful read and you bare all that you have been through as a "Teacher" for others to learn from. Voted up my Friend.

    • Bud Gallant profile image

      Bud Gallant 

      8 years ago from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

      Thank you for sharing your story. This is very well-written and insightful and I like how you used your own experiences. I also enjoyed your HubPages addict questions. :)

      I'm in denial, too, by the way.

    • manthy profile image


      8 years ago from Alabama,USA

      Voted up and awesome - I am now a follower & I left you some fan mail ;0)

      Happy Hubbing

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 

      8 years ago from Illinois

      Well, yes, I think I am becoming addicted to HP for all the reasons you mentioned, writing, feeling like I'm missing out on the forums, etc.

      It's a darn good thing you had that conversation with that social worker way back when because you have been able to pass along what you've learned about addictions, co-dependency and healthy behaviors to me and many others. Still learning from you and always will.

    • annmackiemiller profile image


      8 years ago from Bingley Yorkshire England

      brilliantly written Denise - voted up and stuff


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