- Mental Health
The Addictive Personality: Techniques to Conquer
The Addictive Personality
Someone with an addictive personality is a person that engages in a compulsive habit, activity or behavior excessively which increases exponentially over a relatively short period of time. This definition is of course my own I developed after working with addicts for many years but may not apply to all addicts. This article is crafted for the addict; someone dealing with the demons of addiction currently. This will hopefully help you understand the nature of this beast and some simple yet effective ways to conquer the destructive nature of an addiction.
First off I don’t subscribe to the notion that addiction is a disease for everyone. For some people, yes, but others, no. A person with an addictive personalityseeks out ways to feel normal, to feel accepted even though the behavior or activity ends up accomplishing the opposite. A person will engage in ludicrous behavior to obtain their desired goal whether it is to use drugs, alcohol, gambling, pornography, or shopping. The seeking behavior is as bad as the behavior itself.
An example would be a young married businessman who loves gambling and over time increases the amount of time, energy and money used for this activity. He’s won a few good hands of poker which brought in several thousands of dollars but was quickly reinvested in his new favorite pastime. Meanwhile, his wife has been noticing late notices in mail for utility and mortgage bills. When she confronts him, he reassures her everything is fine and he will make payments that week. As we continue I think we know how this story will probably end. The wife discovers his addiction, the debt he’s racked up and the house is now in foreclosure. Unless he gets help, this behavior will continue and progressively worsen. Now, we could just stop there, but let’s keep going to explore the personality of this young businessman. He decides to enroll in treatment and decides he needs to change. Months later he is healed from his gambling addiction but has found a new love, alcohol. Now our businessman has switched his addiction from gambling to quite possibly alcohol. This is the hallmark of a person with an addictive personality. They move from one activity to the next that gives them a thrill or excitement. This cycle continues over and over until finally the addict addresses this cycle with a professional therapist.
A person with an addictive personality probably falls into the category of disease. This is someone that constantly needs to engage in a compulsive behavior or activity to feel good. It’s generally a thrill to them or exciting and when that particular behavior loses excitement, then it’s on to the next thrill seeking behavior. Many addicts will complete some form of treatment to try and fix this disorder and find themselves addicted to something else. This happens many times to addicts that attend Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or other support groups. They find comfort in the meetings and become addicted to meetings. It’s a cycle that has to be recognized by both the afflicted and the therapist.
If you fall into this category, don’t worry, because there is help. I would strongly recommend seeking out treatment right away because if it hasn’t already the behaviors you’re engaging in will consume your life and your loved ones. Seek a professional and let him/her know your history because that’s important in determining whether or not you have this disorder. It’s tough to admit you need help and sometimes it can be financially burdensome but the alternative can be much more costly and deadly!
Also, I would encourage you to surround yourself with a group of positive people. People that care about your well being and can offer their support. This is one of the fastest ways to get back on track and stay on track because your support group should be holding you accountable. This can a sponsor, a pastor, a friend or family member that won’t enable your behaviors. It would be wise to meet with your support group one or two times per week in the beginning as you make your transition. Studies have shown the most successful people leaving an addiction behind are the ones that have a strong support network in place. Join a AA or Narcotics Anonymous, or Gamblers Anonymous. There are plenty of support groups for your specific pleasure.
Research shows that addiction can result from cognitive deficiencies. I believe this as well because I’ve seen change occur after a person’s cognitive processes have been challenged and they take on a different approach to life. Here is a link to a resource which is very popular and useful called Thinking for a Change. It addresses your cognitive approach to everyday situations and will probably help you learn a thing or two about your beliefs and values. If nothing else, it is interesting material to read. Try it out because if you want to change, truly change, then you’re going to have to commit to a new way of doing things.
Medicine and Spirituality
It may be necessary for medications to help you as well. Medicine has made some great advances over the past 20 years in treating addiction and you could benefit from this. Often times mental health issues accompany addictive behaviors and so once the mental health issue is under control, the addiction seems much easier to treat. Medication can be especially important for addicts that have a history of opioid and alcohol abuse.
I recommend seeking spiritual counsel because that’s really the best way to help addictive behaviors for the long term. Because every single person that has lived, lives now and will live in the future are sinful, it becomes easy to become caught in the snares of addiction and other negative behaviors. Humans are disconnected from God naturally because of our sin and we seek acceptance through money, power, wealth, drugs, alcohol, gambling…etc. There was one man that bridged the gap between humans and God, Jesus. He is God’s only son sent to earth to bear the world’s sins so that you and I can have relationship with God. All we have to do is realize God did this because he loves us and accept Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead to pay the price for our sins. If he hadn’t paid for our sins, it would fall on us to pay for them which would be eternal separation from God. Life changing transformation happens from the inside out and must be dealt with from depths of our hearts. That’s the only way we can truly change for good!