ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Health»
  • Mental Health»
  • Addiction»
  • Drug Addiction

Dealing With Addictions

Updated on August 14, 2017

Addictions

The traditional image of an addicted person is a skid-row drunk or “dope fiend” who must have their periodic “fix” in order to fend off withdrawal. But in recent years, we have learned addictions afflict people from all walks of life.

Joe had a great job as manager of a shopping center, pulling down almost $200,000 a year. The center was sold to a large corporation, which fired Joe and installed its own management team. Even though Joe had been in the top 1% of American wage earners and had a daughter about to start college, he didn't have a dime of savings when his job ran out. In fact, he and his wife were thousands of dollars in debt. For years, they had spent their income like it was water.They are addicted to excessive spending.

Kathy was raised in a dysfunctional family with little affection, attention, or affirmation. She feels unlovable, and her life is empty. She comforts herself with ice cream, chocolates, and other sweets. She now tips the scales at more than 300 pounds. Kathy has a food addiction.

Norman is a church elder and pillar of his community. His wife discovered a huge stash of pornography while cleaning his den office. Norman is addicted to pornography.

What is Addiction?

Addiction is a compulsive or physical dependence upon a substance or person. It provides a temporary sense of well-being. But the destructive effects can include damage to relationships, feelings of shame, and failure. Addiction can have long lasting effects. The substance, person, or behavior upon which a person may form an excessive dependency, is called an addictive agent. The list of addictive agents includes, but is not limited to:

  • Drugs and Alcoholism

  • Food (compulsive overeating, bulimia)

  • Sex

  • Work and Success

  • Control

  • Money (overspending, hoarding, gambling)

  • Approval (the need to please people)

  • Rescuing Behavior

  • Physical Illness (hypochondria)

  • Exercise, Diet, and Physical Conditioning

  • Perfectionism

  • Cleanliness and Avoidance of Contamination

  • Obsession with Being Organized and Structured

  • Materialism (obsession with acquiring things)

  • Preoccupation with Entertainment (video, computers, movies, music)

  • Obsession with Physical Beauty (cosmetics, sun tanning, clothes, style, cosmetic surgery)

  • Religiosity or Religious Legalism.

Most of us can find our own addictions in this list.

Addiction cycles

Stage 1 in the addiction cycle is emotional emptiness. In this cycle, one factor leads to another, driving the addicted person deeper into addiction and robbing them of any control they may have over their life and behavior. Another name for this first stage in the addictive cycle is love hunger, a gnawing emptiness and craving for love, affirmation, and a sense of value.

Stage 2 is low self-esteem, a sensation of emotional pain, and is a direct result of stage I. When we feel pain, we reach for an anesthetic. So it's only natural when people feel emotional pain of low self-esteem, they will try to dull it with, chemical substances, comfort foods, a boost of exhilaration from heavy exercise, work addiction, or anything to feel temporarily “okay.”

Stage 3 flows directly from stage 2, the addictive agent. It can be drugs, food, sex, rage, spending, and even religion. They are all anesthetics for low self-esteem. Addictive agents always bring more harm to the addicted than good.

Stage 4 involves consequences. The consequences of alcohol addiction may include broken relationships, lost jobs, deadly traffic accidents, and even liver disease.

The consequences of food addiction may include obesity and heart disease. The consequences of money addiction may include loss of credit and bankruptcy. It's at this stage, when consequences seem unbearable, healing can begin. Because addicted individuals have “hit bottom” so to speak, and they are willing to do anything to be healed. Many have to experience the cycle numerous times, before a true “bottom” is hit.

After experiencing consequences of addiction, individuals move on to:

Stage 5 involves guilt and shame. Thoughts like “I don't deserve to be happy or healthy. Many researchers agree,most addictions are shame-based and will eventually fester into:

Stage 6 which is self-hatred. Self hatred drives an addicted individual person to even deeper levels of emptiness and love hunger. Essentially, they have returned to stage 1, ready to start at the beginning again. Unfortunately, self-destructive addictions frequently become worse.

Recovery from Addiction

Once the cyclical nature of addiction is understood, it becomes clear recovery can only occur by finding a way to interrupt the cycle. Self esteem must be restored so the addictive agent, is no longer needed. By halting use of addictive agents the consequences will no longer exist, ending guilt and shame. The process of self hatred is reversed.

However, addiction can never be cured by simply removing the addictive agent. Addictions are symptoms of much deeper problems. To be truly healed one must:

  • Work through painful memories of dysfunctional family of origin.

  • Repair present relationships (in some cases, this means reconciling relationships. But in abusive relationships, boundaries might need to be redrawn).

  • Choose a, supportive recovery family where re-parenting can be encouraged.

To recover from these addictions, strength is needed. With severe physical addictions, such as use of alcohol or drugs, and food addiction, bodies are at war wit itself. Body chemistry has been altered, and not for the better.

Starting a Recovery Group

Obsessions and compulsions are more powerful than human will. A 12 step recovery group might be the answer.This is a fellowship who have come together to find healing from their addictions. Recovery groups come in all shapes and sizes, and exist for a wide variety of purposes. Some recovery groups average two or three people per meeting. Some average over 100. Some are for men, others for women. Some focus on single issues, such as alcoholism, codependency, or compulsive overeating. Some groups are made up of people with various problems into a single fellowship. Whatever form it takes, all groups should provide eight things:

1. Mutual Support.

2. Opportunity to listen to others and learn from their experience.

3. Opportunity to confront those in denial or otherwise hurting their own recovery.

4. Opportunity to learn about addiction and its causes.

5. Opportunity to gain insight into one's own issues and motivations.

6. Opportunity to work through one's own resistances and penetrate one's own denial.

7. Opportunity to express and ventilate emotion.

8. Opportunity to become involved in helping others.

The basis of a recovery group is the support we gain in relationships. It's not surprising then, the process of healing should occur within a network of relationships. Recovery is a group experience, it can't take place in isolation.

A recovery group is a fellowship of healing, not a treatment center. An alcoholic, for example, doesn't go to there to get sober. They must first go to a treatment center for medically supervised detoxification. It's then an alcoholic is welcome to join a recovery program in order to maintain their sobriety.

Learn the traditions that have kept recovery groups functioning more than half a century. If you are not familiar with recovery issues, find some members who are.

Group focus

Is the group concerned with recovery from addictive behavior such as substance abuse, overeating, overworking, or an adult/child issue such as abuse, neglect, or incest? If so, it's a recovery group. If the group is intended as a mutual support system issues such as divorce, chronic illness, or parenting? Then it is a support group.

Group size, structure, and membership.

In a smaller group such as 20, everyone has a chance to share.Some groups are structured and include lectures, workbooks, or scheduled themes for discussion. Some groups have an open membership, where it's free to come and go. However, groups demanding an especially high degree of trust and confidentiality such as incest or rape are best held in closed groups.

Ground rules. In order to have a safe place in which members can discuss their issues openly and honestly, the boundaries of the group need to be settled in advance. Ground rules governing participation should be clearly understood and referenced often by group leaders.

Atmosphere of acceptance. The key to an effective recovery group is acceptance. No one is judged for what they share or believe in the group.There is no condemnation.

Every effective recovery group has accountability and even confrontation. Especially when a member is in denial. But this accountability is surrounded by total support and caring. This means there is a bond of empathy and unconditional love. Members are accepted regardless of shortcomings, however they must not self-destruct in the process.

For example, if there is an abusive person in the group who tries to control the meeting, and in the process harms the recovery process of others, they must be confronted and re-indoctrinated with the rules.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)