- Mental Health
Admitting An Addiction Is Never Easy
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.
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 bedtime...as 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”.
Books that help in recovery
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?
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!