To find a cure to any disease, we first need to notice the symptoms. In the disease of cancer it is usually a lump, pain, tiredness and a lack of appetite amongst many other symptoms. Although addiction is described in some circles as a disease, I see it more like a conditioning/programming in the form of being compelled to do certain things that we know cause harm to self and others. On this basis we could see recovery as reconditioning the way we think and how we learn to make healthy choices. You're not a bad person or broken, you have all the skills to emerge from the dark side of addiction. You simply need to reassemble what you have and put it in a new order to be able to manage life in a way that serves you and others positively.
Addiction has its own internal complex symptoms and plays out differently in all of us when we engage with something obsessively and compulsively. That is to say, we are compelled towards an unhealthy relationship with; drink, drugs, work, food, sex, people, and most importantly an unhealthy relationship with ourselves. The unhealthy relationship with ourselves is fuelled by having obsessive and compulsive thoughts about acting out with the aforementioned.
The purpose of the obsessive thoughts is our attempt to protect ourselves from hyper sensitivities (created from trauma) that have followed us from childhood into adulthood. It's not what happened in childhood; it's how WE experienced it. This is why children with very similar childhoods emerge as totally different adults. Always remember that addiction isn't the problem; the problem is how we use the addiction to solve the problem. The problem is mostly our inability to manage and regulate our thoughts, actions and emotions. The foundation of addiction is low self worth, when we were abused, unloved, mistreated and neglected as children. We were unable to stop loving our caregivers so we stopped loving ourselves and there lies the root cause of low self worth.
If you can imagine our mind, body and soul like a house full of different rooms. At the top of the house (in our minds) there is a bathroom containing a bath. The space in the bath represents the void created by the pain and trauma we experienced. We desperately want to be free of the sensitivities and cleanse away our haunting memories. Our caregivers didn't teach us how to run a bath to the correct level with good clean water at the right temperature (LOVE). As a result, we obsessively and compulsively fill the bath with whatever is at hand; drink, drugs, sex, gambling, people, food or work. Not only is this water dirty and makes us more unclean; we are compelled to stay in the bath looking for a solution but instead create more pain and suffering. It's very uncomfortable as it's too hot or too cold (as we can't self regulate). As we fill it obsessively, it overflows and corrupts other rooms in the house and damages the contents, the wiring short circuits and causes fires; this fire spreads to our neighbouring households (family, friends, our children and work colleagues). Then you finally find the plug in all the murky water and the pipes are blocked with the sludge of addiction. When it drains, you and the bath are left dirtier than when you first got in with all the loss, guilt and shame, so the process starts again. Are you able to relate to this analogy?
The only way that I am aware to end this draining cycle is to learn to love and respect yourself on all levels. The opposite of low self worth is purpose and meaning. As you explore what makes you feel purposeful and gives you meaning and step into that role, the desire to act out will diminish to zero and you will be free from self sabotage. Recovery is NOT about making a huge step to stop acting out on things, it's a series of small steps based on self care, self love and self respect. These small steps consist of; getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising, therapy sessions, working on our relationships with self and others, meditating, and generally keeping life in balance. Being honest and facing shame and guilt rather than hiding from it also denies the addictive cycles a place to hide and corrode us from the inside out. Meeting, watching and processing our thoughts and feelings rather than ruminating, obsessing and creating chaos to act out on holds us in a healthy place. Sobriety is the by-product of these small steps and will happen naturally, it is not the scary white knuckle ride that we think what stopping addictive cycles will feel like.
The whole programme breaks down addiction into bite sized pieces so you can effectively observe where and how addiction plays out in you. Each module is discussed in detail and this allows us to do some 'emotional mining', looking deep into our life experience to find gems of solution, to better manage the pain and curve balls that life delivers. Addiction is an obsessive and compulsive energy force which left to its own devices will promise to cure but in actuality will systematically destroy its host. Addiction is dysfunction and the opposite of dysfunction is structure, this programme offers the structure to manage addiction to recycle the obsessive energy into a positive direction.
As we work through each stage of this recovery programme you'll be journaling your experience to attain a deep understanding and connection with your deepest sense of self. If you hit any walls between sessions send a message and your recovery coach will arrange a 10-15 minute check in to meet any unmanageable problems and overwhelm. You will also have books to read and suggestions to be able to do ongoing work on a daily basis to manage any cravings and engage with self support.
Addiction is a reaction to life so people with addiction are reactors. If you move the 'c' 3 letters to the left, the reactor becomes a creator. This programme is designed to enable anyone with addiction to create a healthy and sustainable way of living without having to turn to addiction as a vain attempt to make life manageable and bearable. I'm not a religious person but I do believe there is something God like out there, if this is the case I also believe that God being the great creator made us in his own image as great creators also! When we are doing anything creative I trust we are nearest to our godlike self.
One of the common themes that run through people with addiction is that feeling that they don't fit, aren't enough or less than. It's like a gaping hole that we fill with substances and behaviours, this is a temporary fix that drains away leaving a bigger void than what was there in the first place. The only way to fill this void and keep it filled is with self love, the love that we were deprived of as children. As you progress into this programme you will be offered all the tools you need to love, protect and respect yourself. I look forward to accompanying you on this journey of self love.