Addicts are really good at one thing…”the game of denial”. I blinded myself for many years.
Am I an addict? Addiction is a symptom. What other symptoms do I have going on that may reveal to me what my addiction was really about.
In a crowded room full of people would I be attracted to the sickest person in the room? Have my relationships been riddled with abuse and betrayal? Do I have a problems communicating on a respectful level when I am upset? Do I fear my feelings because they make me intensely miserable? Do I have a hard time sharing my fears and opening up to people? Do I have a hard time sharing my most intimate feelings, hopes, and dreams? Do I have ANXIETY, ANGER, DEPRESSION, LOW SELF ESTEEM? What about mental health problems such as depression, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), PANIC ATTACKS, self harm, suicidal thoughts. Or learning and earning difficulties, lower educational attainment, difficulties in communicating behavioral problems including anti-social behavior, criminal behavior?
Still after I answered yes to many of these questions I had no idea I was an abused child. It took me ten years in recovery, eight years in AA working the steps over and over. A year of trauma in recovery therapy, 7 years of intense meditation and deep prayer. Until finally I was able to look at my father in a way other than the magic picture I had painted in my mind for so long.
I had to be the one who was bad and wrong, I thought! My father was an angel he couldn’t have been the one to brutally beat and possibly molest me as a baby. At best he threw me to the wolves to be sexually ram-sacked at a young and tender age. He could not have taken a beautiful young innocent toe-headed baby girl and bashed her, crashed her, and dashed her hopes and dreams into oblivion by teaching her that she was basically a third rate human being who had no right to live and deserved to be brutalized and beaten. He taught me that every aspect of me was dirt. My body, mind, soul, and spirit. And to this day that sick bastard doesn’t think he did anything wrong. He has never said, “I am sorry, I was wrong” about anything.
So I am processing my core issue, the true reason for my drinking and drugging.
Mean-while I hope to enlighten the minds of my fellows. If I don’t have a disease…you may not have a disease either. Why claim the disease concept for myself anyway? Well for me it was a kind of justification for my behavior. The disease concept lets me off the hook I am no longer responsible for my actions. I have an addiction cancer, not my fault! But now I know different. But initially, it’s still not my fault. I was coping the only way I knew how. But now I know better ways to cope. And I have way less stressful situations to “cope with”. The good news is that the trauma and child abuse theory for addiction means I have a real chance at a cure IF I do the work. Please, not “cured” to drink and drug again. Cured to not want to drink and drug again.
Addiction is no mystery to me at ten plus years sober. Start with a miserable, insecure, low self esteem, fearful individual who finds a solution to his fear in drugs. He feels better for a time…but then he gets a tolerance to his drug. It no longer has the same effects. The addict is desperately seeking peace of mind in the only way that has worked for him in the past. But his solution fails, AKKKKK!! The addict is driven by a powerful obsession to re-capture the good feelings which alcohol and drugs once provided. He searches like a starving animal seeking food. (hence the obsession) Take away any mans sustenance, starve him, and watch him act just like a sick heroin addict to the point of murder and theft. It’s a viable human basic need full throttle. Addiction falls into the bucket labelled “emotional survival”. The real question is…why is the addict so f**ing miserable to being with? Oh but AA teaches that the “why” isn’t important. Right. The hell it isn’t. Each person when choosing to answer this question in a painfully honest and unbiased way leaving the “pack mentality” behind (protect family at all costs even unto deep denial) will find that the core of his motive for addiction is rooted in his formative years. One step further we find that we had no idea what child abuse really looks and feels like. We ask “why was my self-worth so jaded?” “What made a little innocent child hate himself?” “Who taught me that I was not as good as other people?” False pride screams at the top of it’s lungs; “ADDICTION IS A DISEASE! ADDICTION IS GENETIC! I HAD A WONDERFUL CHILDHOOD! My parents were awesome care-takers. They nurtured and encouraged me. They fed and clothed me. They taught me that I was good and could achieve anything. They rewarded me and never sent me violent or demeaning messages. (Right, that’s why you methodically and habitually tried to off yourself.) Keep telling yourself that my fellow dysfunctional victim, keep listening to the false pride which says there is no such thing as a victim. There is no such thing as emotional trauma. I AM FINE DAMN IT! Just diseased, ya a disease that has nothing to do with the circumstances of my life so I don’t have to work on or address wrongs done TO me. MY POINT? How in the name of all that is holy are so many recovering addicts convinced that their addiction has nothing to do with their emotional condition and their childhood.
The right therapy can heal a heart. It’s our heart that has been abused. It’s our minds that are in need of some lessons in child development and some step eleven meditation and long term sobriety WILL bring back the memories that our heart desperately needs to express if we allow it. Don’t let the intellect to minimize, invalidate, & destroy the hearts voice.
Every addict is fearful and emotionally repressed. But don’t expect him to see or admit it until he has been through a year or so of good therapy.